Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday is Book Review Day

I have decided that around here, Wednesdays will be book review day. Today I will review the novels I finished for the January contest, but hopefully in the future I can offer more productive or practical books. But then again, maybe not.

First, I finished The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall. I read this YA fiction novel to see if it would interest my kids as a read-aloud book for homeschool. The main characters are a family of young girls who have very different yet creative personalities. I enjoyed the writing and most of the time I was anxious to know what would happen next. The family is without a mother, she died of cancer, and the father is vaguely present due to his interest in botany. The family is vacationing on the property of a wealth woman and her young son, in a cottage rented out seasonally. The mother is unpleasant but her son makes friends with the girls. My biggest problem with the girls is that they were always breaking rules or being completely disrespectful. The author portrays these issues as good, but to me the representations were frustrating and not fun to read. Am I too old for this book? Maybe. But I sure won't be reading it to my children. I am going to keep looking and hopefully find some better role models who don't get into so much trouble due to their disobedience or disrespect.

Second, I finished The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler. My husband raised his eyebrows at me when I mentioned I was reading this because he knows (we Netflixed the movie but didn't watch it) that there is a lesbian storyline. Ok, yes, there is. It's a book, not a movie. But I did feel like I should being using my mind filter a little better. Anyway, there was nothing graphic, so there. Overall, the characters are interesting, but the Austen imitations were a bit much for me. I definitely felt as though some of the storylines and personalities were copied from Austen books. I am sure this was the authors intent, however, I didn't enjoy it. I can't put my finger on exactly why this took away from the novel, maybe because it was done in wisps, and I think if that is part of the purpose of the novel it should be done with great big thumbprints. The storyline was good, I really wanted a happy ending for most of the characters.

Is this a good book review? No, I don't think so. But I will research what makes a good book review and do a better one next Wednesday.

As a postscript, I blew the Blogging Month contest because I missed a couple days. Seriously I could not think of anything worth writing about. This blog has so little personality and focus, it can be overwhelming. I'm sticking to it though! I will persevere and make this place more appealing.

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