ebookclassics

May 2016 Mini-Reviews

May Mini-Reviews

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

THE STORY
After civilization has ended, a man and his son make a perilous journey south seeking safety from the dangers of the new world. In this new life, there is no food, shelter or human contact without the threat of violence and death. In this new life, there is absolutely nothing left at all.

THE GOOD
The Road shook me to the core. I cried and couldn’t sleep imagining this world becoming a reality because I truly believe it could come down to this nothingness. How much the book devastated me is a testament to the raw, gut-wrenching writing of the author.

THE BAD
The story is horrific in its detail of what animals humans can become in order to survive. I will never forget some of the images in the story.

CONCLUSION
The Road is a quiet, yet powerful story that I’m glad I read. While I don’t enjoy imagining the death of civilization, I believe we need cautionary tales like this to remind us of the fragility of humanity and how we need to hold onto it.

4.5/5 Stars

* * *

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

THE STORY
Taking place in the early twentieth century, a young girl is isolated from society by her overbearing father, the owner of a museum of curiosities on Coney Island. Her life becomes unexpectedly connected to a photographer from the Lower Eastside who is investigating the disappearance of a factory girl, a man she has loved since first laying eyes on him.

THE GOOD
Alice Hoffman weaves a fascinating tale of the working class poor of New York. Her characters range from immigrants to street kings, factory workers to freak show performers. All of them with stories of sadness and stories of hope.

THE BAD
I didn’t buy into the supposedly magical romance between the hero and heroine. They were obviously going to be together and it was the least interesting thing about the story. I actually thought many of the secondary characters and their stories were more compelling.

CONCLUSION
The mystery of the missing girl helped to propel the plot, but I didn’t find it very engaging. What I enjoyed the most about the book was the rich history of New York described by the author. Overall, the book was good, yet somehow not very satisfying.

3.5/5 Stars

* * *

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

THE STORY
In 1976, Dana is an African-American woman who is celebrating her birthday with her Caucasian husband, Kevin. Dana suddenly finds herself pulled back in time to a plantation in the early 1800s where she saves the life of a young boy, Rufus. When Dana realizes Rufus is a distant ancestor, she decides she needs to pretend to be a slave in order to keep an eye on the troublesome boy.

THE GOOD
I really liked that Kindred was unlike any slave story I have read previously and it had the unique perspective of an independent woman who had enjoyed rights and freedom, but now has them stripped away.

THE BAD
I frequently became frustrated with Dana and her naive belief that she could change Rufus no matter how many times he showed her his true colours. She gained the trust of many on the plantation, but didn’t listen to anyone about how stupid she was behaving.

CONCLUSION
I thought Kindred was a clever mash-up of slave story and time travel adventure. We never really learn the mechanism that sends Dana back and forth through time, but it’s beside the point. Through Dana’s eyes we get a modern view of the internalization and acceptance of slavery.

4/5 Stars

What books have devastated you? What are you reading? Share with me your thoughts.

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13 comments on “May 2016 Mini-Reviews

  1. jessicabookworm
    May 23, 2016

    I read The Road a few years ago, I can’t really say I ‘enjoyed’ it but I agree it is a very powerful book.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      It’s a tough book, but I’m glad I read it. Have you read anything else by Cormac McCarthy?

      Like

  2. TJ @ MyBookStrings
    May 23, 2016

    I have The Road waiting for me. I expect nothing less than a devastating reading experience from McCarthy. I’m not reading any particularly emotional books at the moment. I am searching for my next gut-wrencher… (The one book that I have never been able to shake off is Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking; I still sometimes dream of the images in that book, and that, sadly, was nonfiction….)

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      My husband always raves about The Rap of Nanking. I haven’t read it, but we watched a documentary about what happened and it was very upsetting.

      Like

  3. Cathy746books
    May 23, 2016

    I love The Road. I must read it aain sometime. I find Hoffman can be hit or miss for me.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      I agree about Alice Hoffman being hit or miss. I feel like absolutely loved some of her earlier books, but haven’t been too impressed over the last few years.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Naomi
    May 23, 2016

    The Road *was* devastating. I can’t even imagine having to live through all that hopelessness.
    I’ve had Kindred on my list for ages, but can never decide if I actually want to read it. It sounds like the time travel part of it works well enough though, by your review. Not too hokey?

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      I don’t feel as if the time travel was too hokey. I think the author did a good job and just blending it into the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Road and Kindred sound very powerful – I haven’t had the chance to read either, but I’m glad to read your review. Kindred would probably appeal to me more – I had no idea it had a time travel element! Great reviews!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      I didn’t know about the time travel either until I started reading the book. I think it was an interesting way to explore the themes of slavery.

      Like

  6. Brian Joseph
    May 24, 2016

    Great mini reviews.

    The Road is a book that should appeal to me. I have stayed away from it however for the reasons that you mentioned.

    In the past I would have read it but I find that as I get older certain books just disturb me too much and I think that this one might do so.

    Blood Meridian was also a great book by McCarthy. It contained a lot of graphic violence however.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      May 25, 2016

      I’ve heard Blood Meridian is violent and I’m interested in reading more of McCarthy’s writing, but after I’ve had some time to recover from The Road.

      Like

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2016 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

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