Friday, April 4, 2014

March Book Reviews 15-18

Water Wars - Cameron Stacher
Product DetailsIn a time in the future the most precious thing on earth is water.  Countries have come apart and corporations now rule the world.  Fresh water has been dammed at the source and very few people have access to it.  Most people are forced to drink a desalinated water that it is rumored makes people sick.  Most of the food eaten is fake.  Vera and Will, teenage brother and sister live with their sick mother and their father who struggles to keep the family clothed, feed, and most importantly hydrated.  One day on the way to school Vera and Will meet a mysterious, rich stranger Kai who they realize has the ability to find water.  After Kai is kidnapped by pirates Vera and Will go after him, hoping they can save Kai and find enough fresh water for everyone.

It was a fast read, a little bit of romance, nothing dirty, a very current literally topic, but it just didn't really catch me.  For me this book was just OK.

Children of Paradise: A Novel - Fred D'Aguiar 
This novel follows Joyce and her daughter Trina and their lives in a commune in South America.  Their preacher is extremely charismatic and spends a lot of money paying off government officials so that his Eden will stay safe and unmolested by the authorities.  Joyce was an educated woman before joining the commune and is often asked to go to town to be the face who meets with these officials.  Back in the village though they live very simple lives.  Food is strictly regulated as is work and free time.  To the outside world the community may seem very calm but so much darkness is happening.  People are asked to report each other for violations.  Children are beaten for taking food when they are hungry.  Parents are asked not to show to much affection for their children.  The preacher teaches of the avoidance of sin but uses drugs, alcohol, and sex to excess.  When people don't comply to his plans they are punished.  Sometimes by being put into a cage with Adam the communes gorilla.

This actually leads to what I think is one of the most interesting parts of the story, the fact that Adam is actually the narrator of some of the chapters.  It has been a long time since I've read a book where an animal was narrating...this maybe Charlotte's Web, although the difference here is Adam isn't some type of humanized animal, he's just a gorilla trapped in the middle of this crazy commune giving you his thoughts on what he sees.  So I think I was half way through the book before I realized that not only did this story sound just like Jones Town, the community set up by Jim Jones in Guyana, but it actually was the story of Jones Town, at least the imagined story of two of the people living there.

The author is actually from Guyana and spent much of his life wondering about what happened in those last few weeks of Jones Town.  For me though when I realized this I got a pit in my stomach because I know what happened in Jones Town and it was not good.  D'Aquiar throw you for a loop though.  In the weeks leading up to the suicides Joyce becomes dissatisfied with the group and starts considering leaving with a river boat captain.

This story had me guessing until the very end.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure  - William Goldman

I adore this story.  I actually picked it out for my book group.  If you are a fan of the cult classic movie you will love it.  Reading it made me want to watch the movie again so much.  Goldman writes this story as if he is abridging a book which is weird and awesome all in one.  Definitely recommend it!  There is romance and sword fights.  Lots of villains are beat and even some turn out to be not so bad.  Seriously funny stuff here.

Clever Girl- Tessa Hadley
A story about a girl who just isn't that clever.  Stella is being raised by a single mother in the 1960's.  Stella is a little bit spoiled but otherwise ok.  Then one day she realizes her mother still enjoys the company of men and she isn't the only person in her mother's life.  When her mother gets remarried has another baby Stella spends a lot of time trying to separate herself from the family.  She gets into drugs, gets pregnant right after high school, gets job working, and then eventually moves to a collective group house where she gets pregnant again.  She is about to leave her lover for the brother of one of her other commune friends when a stalker obsessed with one of the girl's in the house kills her lover.  Eventually Stella goes back to school, has some success, and marries an older lover who was married when she first met him.  Stella is seriously unbearable.  You think a clever girl would not get herself into so many spots.  You also think I'd have felt bad for Stella at least once, but nope I never did.  Even when the seriously nice father of her second child is killed you just don't feel bad for her because she is such a JERK!  I swear if I wasn't trying to get my books read for the year I would have dropped this sucker.

A book I only got half way through and do not recommend to ANYONE!
After Auschwitz: A Love Story
I hated this book!  I pushed through about half way because I feel some stress to stay committed to these books since I have a book goal for the year but I just couldn't take it anymore.  I was hoping for a sweet story and what I  got was the story of a self serving womanizer who married a young survivor of Auschwitz.  After a multitude of affairs kicks her to the curb after twenty years of marriage and then when he is too old to take care of himself anymore moves back in with her.  Maybe there was something heart warming but I just wasn't willing to keep looking for it.

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