Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

One thing I hate is being misled. I dislike picking up a book that promises to be thrilling and suspenseful and finding it to be dull without a single moment of suspense. I felt misled with this book since the back cover (at least on the edition I read) made it sound like the novel focused on the mystery behind a drowned body. However, barely even a third of the book focused on that part of the story and the rest was somewhat boring in my eyes.

This novel takes place in 1906 when times were tough, especially for a girl on a farm with no mother. Mattie Gokey is the oldest daughter of four and is forced to act as mother to the family, as well as son to her father who needs help on the farm. Mattie's dreams, though, lie in school and books, so being forced to work on the farm is the last thing she wants to do. She finds herself stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place when she gets into college with a full scholarship, but no way of going since her father won't fund the trip and needs her on the farm. Try as she might, she sees no way of making her dream for college come true and then a local boy (Royal) asks her to marry him and she realizes her life is destined to be on a farm. Mattie's life on the farm is the past while the drowned woman is the present and Mattie is working at a hotel when this happens (You don't find out why she's at the hotel until the last half of the book). The woman (Grace Brown) had given Mattie a set of letters to burn, but Mattie never had a chance and then the woman's dead body appeared. Curious, Mattie reads the letters and the mystery behind Grace and her companion swells.

To begin with, this book is depressing. It's probably the time period and how limiting the options were for people (not just women) and how sad it was to see people's dreams go up in smoke (not just Mattie's dreams either). But, like they say, those were the times. It wouldn't be realistic if it were rainbows and unicorns. As I read about Mattie, though, I couldn't help but be conflicted about how I felt for her. Part of me felt she was selfish to want to go to New York since her family needed her so badly but then there was the argument of why shouldn't she pursue her dreams. I honestly didn't know what stance to take on the character, especially since the former opinion fit with the times of the book while the latter opinion is much more modern. However, the book constantly focused on this struggle to make her dream come true and the repeated disappointment that it became tiresome. I honestly struggled to read the the first half of the book because it was so slow. To me the most interesting parts focused on Grace Brown's story and I think it could have been a much more captivating book if it had been about her. The author gave a note about the true story of Grace Brown which the book touches on. If she had continued the story from where Mattie left out, exploring further the letters, told Grace's story, it would have, in my eyes, been a more interesting novel, but that's not what this novel focused on and I should focus my judgment on what it was, not what it should be. To me, what it was was depressing and frustrating and sad.

Despite how the back of the book presents this novel as a murder mystery, this is really just a coming of age story for young Mattie Gokey as she faces the tug of war between her dreams and life's reality. If the novel had been presented that way I probably would have a more favorable review because I would have expected that more so than a murder mystery. When I'm misled, I have a hard time liking a book, especially when I'm already ambivalent about historical fiction and so much of this novel was about life back then. I know others who have enjoyed this novel but I'm just not one of them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Freddie Mercury

Me encanta la musica de Queen, la banda de rock que "rockio" en la decada de los años 70 y 80 (entre otras). Y sin duda alguna me gusta la musica de Freddie Mercury, el lider de tal banda.
No hace mucho tiempo que conosi y escuche la musica de Queen. Cuando estava en mi noveno grado en la preparatoria, una compañera de clase de fotografia tenia musica de Queen en su entonces iPod shuffle primera generacion. Le pedi permiso para escucharla, la cansion que no conosia en ese entoces ahora es una de mis canciones favoritas en mi repertorio musical. La famosa cancion Bohemian Rhapsody!
Bueno en este libro escrito por el autor y amigo Peter Freestone del desaparecido Freddie Mercury, cuenta la vida sobre su amigo. Tras trabajar con Freddie por doce años.
El relata como estuvo relacionando con Freddie, como lo conosio, cuando trabajaron juntos y tal mas.
Regresando un poco mas a mi opinion de Freddie, me encanta su musica, su letra, era un fasinante entretenidor cuando se subia en los esenarios. Uno de mis shows favoritos fue en el año 85, en el evento Live Aid. Eso fue mas que un show de entretenimiento, fue algo extraordinario.
En la vida personal de Freddie Mercury no puedo commentar nada, ya que la respeto y no soy nadie para opinar. La vida personal de cada quien es, algo muy privado. Pero como lider de la banda de rock Queen, creo que ahora es una leyenda. Tenia su propia personalidad cuando cantaba.
Desafortunadamente fallecio hace ya casi dos decadas, pero aun sigue en los iPods de los que aun escuchamos su musica.
Les recomiendo este libro. Se presenta desde una perpectiva de un amigo, assistente personal, confidente etc. El autor al igual nos presenta con algunas fotos de Freddie, en sus dias ordinarios sin presentacion con la banda. Recornando a Freddie Mercury.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Just Listen By Sarah Dessen

This a self-explanatory novel with personalities, and characters that get to be part of you as you read, and get into the novel. I was anxious about finishing the novel in order to find out about Owen. This is Anabel's boyfriend. This novel was exciting , and stressful, but in the end, it turned out happy. I recommend the novel very much.
The author is very good as she presents her characters in the novel. The plot thickens, but she unravels the story as we speak.
At this moment Sarah Dessen is one of the favorite authors for Young Adult. She has a captive audience with teens. Dessen is able to reach teens in her novels. The novel "Just Listen" should be required reading for teens. It has a message for teenagers that is clear.
In the novel, you feel grief, fear, and love. This novel captures many teens. Sophie meets Owen Armstrong, who is obsessed with music, and always tells the truth.
The novel is good, but at the same time one has a message to digest from the novel.
LRD 11/5/10

Twisted By: Laurie Hase Andersen

This is a novel about a teen called Tyler, and how at the beginning of the novel he was considered a nerd until he was arrested, and picked up by a police car. Tyler sprayed painted the walls in the high school worth thousands of dollars. Tyler also was appointed a Probation Officer. By the way, Tyler's probation is to work with the janitors at school. Tyler likes Bethany very much . They are two different personalities who, mange to be together although they are different.
What do you think of Bethany's behavior at the big teen party? This teen party was held in a home , where their wasn't any adult supervision. All the teens at the party drank as much as they wanted.
I liked the novel very much. It taught me a lesson. Besides too much drinking pictures were taken of attendees in awkward poses. Bethany is Tyler's Father's boss daughter.

LRD II/5/10