Saturday, December 27, 2008

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

A while ago, softdrink posted a review for this book. As always, she brought in a whole new innovative approach to the review and I loved the sound of the book right away. I even mentioned that in her comments. Being the sweetheart that she is, she sent me her copy of the book!:) Thank you so much softdrink! I totally appreciate your kind gesture!

And of course, no review can even match hers. So head over to her blog immediately and check out her awesome review before coming back here to see my thoughts.

The book was just what I expected it to be – different, interesting and thought provoking. It is not a friendly cheerful book – not when the title “Thirteen Reasons Why” refers to the reasons why a school girl eventually commits suicide. A couple of weeks after Hannah Baker commits suicide Clay Jensen returns from school to find a package addressed to him by his front door. It is a shoe box with 7 cassette tapes. The box is sent by Hannah to the first person on her list – Justin Foley – Cassette 1 – Side A. And then is passed on in order to the 13 people who figure on the list. The Baker’s Dozen. Clay realizes that he’s received the box because he is on the list and he cannot figure out why!

With a map of the city and Hannah’s voice as his tour guide, Clay sets out for what would turn out to be one of the most memorable nights of his life – not necessarily in the good sense. And just like Clay, who just cannot get himself to put the tape down, you won’t be able to put the book down. I can assure you that much!

Jay Asher is a fantastic writer and it is tough to believe that this is his debut novel. Though it is a YA novel, I think it has something for people of all ages and I am sure it will also appeal to people of all ages. I got this book on Saturday and I was stuck to it throughout the weekend. I couldn’t put it down until I had turned the last page.

One thing I must mention here is that though the book revolves around one word – suicide, it is not a gloomy, morose book. Jay even manages to make you laugh sometimes.

And another thing that I have to definitely mention is the fact that the book is incredibly perceptive. Jay describes the sequence of events that eventually lead Hannah to do what she did. Some of the events are pretty minor – a rumor, a snicker, a joke, a pat. And some are a little more serious – back-biting, deceiving, taking advantage of, etc… but as you can nothing out of the ordinary - Nothing that doesn’t happen to every one of us. And yet, some of us let it affect it, some don’t. Some of the affected choose not to do anything about it, while there are some, like Hannah, who take extreme steps.

I think that this book is extremely important in that, it makes us realize that it is totally necessary to pay attention to small details and help kids when we can. Personally, this book affected me more than I would have liked it to. Those who know me personally know what I am talking about. It is hard not to think about how the world would be so much better if any single person who decides to take his/her life, leaves behind a note (or even a series of tapes) telling you why they eventually decided to do such a thing. Suicide is a very painful thing to go through – for everyone involved. It is an end without a closure – with so many unanswered questions and unsaid words. Nobody should have to go through it and this book gives us hope. It brings the message that if you are attentive, you can help more than you think you can!

Read this book! (I cannot give a stronger recommendation!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Review: I Choose to be Happy

Sometimes, when you least expect it, a book takes you by surprise and just squeezes your heart out. “I Choose to be Happy” is one such book.
Missy Jenkins is the survivor of a school shooting in 1997 in Paducah, Kentucky. The school – Heath High School. The Date – December 1, 1997. A seemingly normal (and slightly nerdy) boy, Michael Carneal walked into school one morning and randomly started shooting a prayer group. Three girls were killed on the spot and 5 were injured. Missy Jenkins was one of the 5 injured. The shooting left her paralyzed from chest down. She was 15 years old. The incident happened less than a month before her 16th birthday. Tragic, I know. Her birthday is today, December 24, 2008 and I thought that this would be the perfect day to post my review of this book. Happy Birthday, Missy!
What makes the book special is Missy’s attitude. Hours after the shooting, right after she got to know that she was going to be paralyzed chest down and was probably going to be wheel chair ridden for the rest of her life, Missy made the biggest decision of her life. A decision that made her the person she is today. A decision that we would all like to think was easy, but we know deep down that we wouldn’t have done it. She decided to forgive Michael and get on with her life. At the tender age of 15, a girl in the hospital reasoned that forgiving the guy who shot her and paralyzed her chest down would be the only way to get over the incident and get on with her life. Isn’t that amazing? That one line changed the way I looked at life. What is the point in harboring ill feelings towards anyone? It is so easy to take umbrage and feed the fire of hatred forever. What Missy did on December 1, 1997 is something that every one of us should take inspiration from. A line that we should think about when faced with adversity.
From that point, there was no looking back for Missy. The book describes her efforts to resume normalcy in life. Being paralyzed from chest down is not easy. Missy had to practically learn everything again from scratch – right from “how to sit down”. The difficulties she went through break your heart but at the same time, you can’t help but admire her perseverance, determination and best of all – her positive attitude. She was always thankful for having survived the incident and never once complained about being paraplegic for the rest of her life.
In addition to Missy’s own tremendous efforts, what really helped her get to where she is now are a loving family and a very supportive community. Her parents and siblings practically gave up their lives to be with Missy and never leave her alone even for a single waking moment. The Paducah community came together to help the Jenkins family, and all other families that were victims of this incident. Letters and cards from all over the world did make a difference to Missy. Her mom read out every card that came for her. The donations that came in went into a fund that helped Missy for all her therapy sessions. The book reaffirms our faith in humanity.
Missy’s story is one that is filled with hope, determination, love and any other positive attitude you can think of. There is nothing but a happy ending for such a story. Missy is still paralyzed from chest down today. But she has a life. She is married and has a very very cute son. She works as a school counselor. She hopes to help children like Michael at the time they need help and wait until they show up at school with a gun in hand.
I could go on and on about her and the book but I think the better alternative would be for you to get hold of your own copy. Missy Jenkins is a very admirable person and this is a book that every one of us has to read – without exception. This is a book you can turn to in hard times for inspiration. Seriously!
Visit Missy's website here.
Thanks to Langmarc Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Review: Jack with a Twist

Jack with a Twist is the second book by Brenda Janowitz. Her first book, Scot on the Rocks was published in 2007 and describes the misadventures of Brooke Miller, a Manhattan attorney, who attends her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.
In Jack with a Twist, we meet Brooke Miller again and this time, it is for her own wedding! Let me first tell you this. You don’t have to read Scot on the Rocks before you read Jack with a Twist. I had no idea about Scot on the Rocks when I read Jack with a Twist and it was a super read. There are references to the previous book in here at all!
Anyways, getting back to the book, Brooke is all caught up with planning her own wedding. Just when she finds the perfect gown that she loves (and it doesn’t make her look fat!), she also lands the biggest case of her life at work! How much better can things get? Perfect, right? Hmm… wrong! Unfortunately for Brooke, the opposing attorney is proving to be quite a handful. He doesn’t hesitate to pull all the dirty tricks in the law books and is hell bent on overloading her with work – so much so that she doesn’t even have time to finish planning her own wedding! But wait a minute, is there even going to be a wedding? Highly improbable considering that the attorney from hell is none other than Brooke’s fiancé and the love of her life – Jack!
Jack with a Twist is hilarious and a perfect light read. Brooke is a lovable character and of course, completely relatable to (I am sure you’re mom’s nagged you about buying dresses with sleeves that hide your fat arms, right??). I really enjoyed reading this book… and who wouldn’t? Didn’t you find the premise of this book interesting?? I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a light read.
I have to thank Brenda Janowitz and her publicist for sending me a review copy of this book!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Review: Professors' Wives' Club

I won a copy of this book at a giveaway in Dar’s blog and after some issues with the mail, it finally arrived last week. I couldn’t wait to start reading it. After reading so many rave reviews for it all over the blog-o-sphere, I was kinda sure I would surely like the book. And I did. Thank you so much Dar!

If you still don’t know what this book is about, here’s a short description. The book is about 4 ladies – wives of professors who live at the faculty housing at the fictional Manhattan U. The 4 women are very different. Mary is the author of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Hannah is a former model. Sophia gave up a successful career as an agent in LA to become a stay at home mom in New York. Ashleigh is a lawyer. They get to know each other and start bonding because of one reason – a little private garden near the faculty housing. The garden is the sanctuary for each one of them. It is the place where they go when they need to deal with their issues and boy do they have issues. One of them is dealing with an abusive, dominating husband.

Another just cheated on her husband with her professor and is swallowed by guilt. Yet another is a lesbian and cannot figure out the right away to inform her strict senator dad. And the fourth cannot figure out if she should have actually given up a career to stay at home and wait, was her husband cheating on her??
The four women decide to join forces when Dean Havemeyer suddenly decides to demolish the garden to build a parking garage instead. Coming together for a common cause, they eventually find strength to deal with the issues that they are each battling against.

It is hard to believe that this is Joanne Rendell’s first book. It is very well written. Each of the four women has her own faults but overall, they are all very likeable. There is a light element to the whole book but at the same time, Joanne doesn’t shy away from dealing with topics like physical abuse. She puts across the point that physical abuse is not something that is prevalent in only lower classes of society. Sometimes rich and educated me also tend to be physically abusive and it is something that shouldn’t be tolerated!
I loved this book. It was a page turner and I had a very tough time putting the book down until I had turned the very last page.

This would have been enough to make the book a roaring success. But Joanne doesn’t stop here. She brings in a tough of suspense and mystery to this as well… in the form of a literary character… can it get any better? I loved the references to Edgar Allen Poe and I shouldn’t be saying anything more than this, coz I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag.

You still haven’t read this book? I think you should get a copy of this right away and trust me, you won’t regret it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: Lady Susan

In an effort to complete the Classics Challenge, I read Lady Susan by Jane Austen as my fifth and final book. I must say that it has been quite an ordeal and I did manage to abandon a couple of books in the middle. I made the mistake of picking 5 heavy books for the challenge. I really should have had a few light ones in the middle. Anyways, shall follow my own piece of advice next year (Trish, hope you are planning to host the Challenge again. There’s no way I am reading Classics without a challenge!).
Lady Susan was one of Jane Austen’s first few novels (if you could even call that one).According to Wikipedia, the book was written sometime around 1794, but it was not published until 1871. The major part of this short novel is in letter format. The central character of the novel is Lady Susan. Lady Susan is far from being charming and nice like the central characters of other Austen novels. She is, in fact, selfish, flirtatious, imposing and rather manipulative. In less than a few months of her husband’s demise, she starts her quest for the next possible “victim”. Martial status doesn’t deter her in anyway.
I loved the letter-style of the book. We get to know of Lady Susan’s activities through her own letters to her friend (whose husband greatly disapproves of her friendship with Lady Susan) and the letter exchange between her brother-in-law’s wife and her mother. Lady Susan invites herself to her husband’s brother place in spite of being less than friendly with them in the past. His wife, Mrs. Vernon, writes to her mother about the atrocities of Lady Susan and her uncaring behavior towards her own daughter. The book gets eve more hilarious when Mrs. Vernon’s brother visits them while Lady Susan is in residence and lands up falling hopelessly in love with her.
Lady Susan is short and amusing. In spite of just being a collection of letters, Austen manages to convey the essence of the novel without actually making the letters sound too descriptive.
Do you know of any other book in epistolary form? (Well, the only one I have even come close to is Bridget Jones Diary (if you can consider diary entries as letters)). I would definitely like to read other books in this style. Let me know!
With Lady Susan, I have officially completed the Classics Challenge and all my challenges for this year. I can’t wait to start on books for next year’s challenges.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: Keeping Hannah Waiting

I loved the concept of this book enough to put down everything else I was reading and pick this up as soon as it came in the mail on Friday last week. Thank you Nanci Mora (from Hologram Publishing) for sending me a review copy of this book!

In this book, Kate's mom dies leaving behind a house full of books. Books that she has "rescued" over the years from various places. And better still, all kinds of books. User manuals, log books, novels, etc. Kate needs to sell the house and has no idea about what to do with all the books around the house. While poking around the attic one day, she comes across a log book with a hidden painting. After meeting with experts, she finds out that the painting was a never-publicized work of a renowned artist Marc Chagall. Even before she realizes it, she becomes a millionaire after selling the painting at an art auction.

With the newly obtained money, she decides to take a vacation in Europe. By chance she comes up on a photograph that will eventually lead her to the rightful owner of the painting and the story behind the lady in the painting.. Fascinating premise, right??

The book was well written and a light and easy read. It was fairly captivating and I didn't really put it down once I started reading it. Luckily, it didn't take me too long to get done with it or else I would have done nothing else the whole weekend!

There are a couple of things that I could complain about though. First, the cover art. I am a sucker for interesting looking covers. This cover of this book, though interesting, wasn't really what I would have expected for the book. The art in the cover is supposed to be "The Lady with the Flowers" or the painting that Kate discovers in the book. Sadly, the cover lacks all the magic that the painting is supposed to have. Considering that the painting is the central theme of this book, I would have preferred to see a better representation in the cover. For example, the painting's background is the parlor in Hannah's house. Secondly, Hannah eyes are supposed to be open! All through the  book you read about the captivating blue eyes and the cover doesn't do any justice to the description. In fact, I think that the cover was a distraction.

Anyways, the second thing that I wasn't particularly thrilled about was the fact that Hannah's story reminded me a great deal of the movie - Titanic. Take a look at this:
Rich girl meets poor boy while traveling. Poor boy is an artist. Rich girl is already engaged to boring rich boy. Later, poor boy takes rich girl from stuffy rich people's party to a high energy poor people's folk dance party. Rich girl even manages to show off some of her trained dancing in the party. Finally, poor artist boy paints rich girl in the nude. You tell me.. don't you see the similarities??

In spite of these 2 shortcomings, I would still like to recommend the book. The book gives us a peep into the lives of eastern European Jewish life before the advent of Hitler. From Hannah's story we can see how the rich and influential Jews hardly expected what eventually happened to them. In spite of dealing with a subject like the holocaust, Dave Clarke manages to keep the mood of the book light and makes it an enjoyable read.

Here's another interesting tidbit that I got to know. Dave Clarke is the child of two holocaust survivors.. and the proceeds from the sale of every book will be donated to the Survivor Mitzvah Project to support aging Holocaust survivors in need around the world. Now, that gives you an incentive to buy this book, right?

I definitely enjoyed the read. It was well written and easy to read.. and definitely entertaining.

Let me know your thoughts!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Review: Perfect on Paper

The (mis) adventures of Waverly Bryson..

Thanks to Tracee Gleichner @ Pump up your book promotion for sending me this book.

I have to start by mentioning this - The best part of the whole experience was the letter I received along with the book. Unlike the usual letter from the publisher, this book included a nice letter from Maria's dad thanking me for agreeing to review his lil' girl's book! Isn't that adorable??

First, Here's a little description of the book:

Anything can look perfect…on paper
When her fiancé calls off their wedding at the last minute, Waverly Bryson wonders if her life will ever turn out the way she thought it would…or should. Her high-powered job in sports PR? Not so perfect. Her relationship with her dad? Far from it. Her perfect marriage? Enough said.
Perfect on Paper is a humorous tale of Waverly's efforts to cobble the pieces of a broken yesterday into a brand new tomorrow. What does the future have in store for her? Will she finally find what she's looking for?
Her dates? Cringe-inducing at times, definitely entertaining 
Her friends? Often amused, definitely supportive
Her new crush? Possibly intrigued, definitely a catch
The results? Hardly perfect, definitely just right

My thoughts:

As promised, the book turned out to be light, comical and entertaining.

 I liked the simple yet interesting cover of the book. There was something appealing about the simple design.

 I liked the goofy protagonist.Waverly is so adorable. I enjoyed her clumsy acts, her nonsensical observations, her insecurities, etc. She chokes on milky way bars before cute guys, she gets way too drunk, she falls at baseball games (with food and drinks in her hand, of course!), she breaks her ankle before new year's parties.. she's hilarious!

 I loved the quirky "Honey" notes idea. It was innovative and I think that gave the book a whole new dimension.

"Perfect on Paper" is a perfect light read. When all that you want is to settle down with a light book, be sure to have Perfect on Paper within reaching distance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: In the Time of the Butterflies

I saw this book on my friend's bookshelf and immediately had to pick it up. Some books just do that to me. I don't know if it was the cover or the description of the book that made me do it. Whatever it was, I am glad I picked this book up.

Julia Alvarez fictionalizes the lives of four sisters in the Dominican Republic under the dictator Trujillo.They were involved in the resistance against him. I was horrified to hear that US, after leaving the Dominican Republic in the 1920s, gave Trujillo the right to rule knowing that he was a repeated rapist! The Mirabal Sisters slowly come to know of the atrocities committed by him as they are growing up and eventually end up in the secret movement against him. In the end, three of the four sisters - Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa were beaten to death after their car was ambushed by Trujillo's men. Dede alone survived. Known as "the butterflies", the sisters became beloved national heroines.

Julia Alvarez attempts to re-create the lives of the four sisters through this book. She read about the sisters and even managed to meet with Dede. But she decided to give the sisters a life of her own and made this book a fiction.  I loved the way the book was written. Each chapter is narrated by a different sister. Dede's has a present and a past version. Maria Teresa's section are just pages from her diary. Through these bits and pieces, we get to know the four sisters. Each one of them so unique- and yet, somehow, all so similar.

From their accounts, it becomes obvious who would enter the movement first - Minerva; the girl with the courage to slap Trujillo when he makes a move on her at a party. When you can go that far, joining the resistance movement against him cannot be much farther, can it? Slowly, Patria, Maria Teresa and Minerva are neck deep in the resistance movement. The religious Patria seems to be the least likely to involve herself in this but she finds her own way of joining in the movement. Dede however doesnt involve herself too much because of her husband Jaime and his political views. By the time she decides to get involved with her sisters, it is a little too late.

The book is definitely not perfect. Alvarez has faced many criticisms for attempting to humanize the idols. She has even been accused of being an "outsider" with no knowledge of the actual happenings. In addition, when I tried to google this book, i read some more about Trujillo's atrocities against Afro-Dominicans. alvarez doesn't mention anything about that in the book.

Despite all that, I loved the book. I am glad she made that effort to bring to light the story of 'the butterflies'. The world definitely deserves to know more about them!

This was a perfect time for me to read this book. November 25 is observed as "The International Day Against Violence Towards Women". It was on this day in 1960 that the Mirabal sisters were killed.

I highly recommend this book.. It was a very interesting read!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Second Glance

Friends have been recommending Jodi Picoult books to me for quite a while now and I have no idea why it took me so long to actually sit down with one. One of my colleagues at work (and another book lover, of course) gave me her copy of “Second Glance” to read.

My first Picoult book and I had no idea what to expect. To keep the suspense going, I didn’t even read the back flap of the book for a sneak peek into what the book was about. I am glad I did that and if you haven’t read “Second Glance” as yet, then, that is exactly what you ought to do as well!

It has been a while since I read a book as addictive and compelling as this one. Honestly. I started it and couldn’t function normally until I turned the very last page of the book. How she managed to give a twist to the story in practically every page totally amazes me! To say anything about the plot of the book would be like giving away a bit of it that you would discover as you breeze through the pages and I don’t want to do that. Let’s just say that it is a very spooky book. Much to the amusement of those around me, I am still very scared of the dark. I have a very vivid imagination and dark places are a perfect trigger for the cells that would love to work overtime anyways!

“Second Glance” practically kept my jumpy all through. Picoult talks about spirits and ghosts in a way that make them seem as normal as a Starbucks coffee on the way to work! But I loved it. It would take me a long while to actually become brave enough to venture into my yard in the dark or even look at the frosty mirror when I am done with my shower but I think it was worth it.

So, have you read this one? What are your views?
Have you reviewed it as well? Leave me a comment with your review and I’ll link it to mine.
Not read it as yet? Go and grab your copy now!:)

Btw, what is your favorite Picoult book? I am surely going to pick up another one by her and I would love to hear your recommendation!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Forever Lily

A lady in the US accompanies her friend to China when she (the friend) goes there to pick up a baby that she has decided to adopt. In China, the friend suddenly decides to back out of this plan because she doesn’t feel the way she expected to feel towards the baby. Meanwhile, a strange thing happens. The lady (our protagonist) starts experiencing a strange set of dreams. What is fascinating is that her dreams are continuous. The story pauses when she wakes up and resumes when she goes back to sleep. So, effectively, she is almost leading two lives – one during the day as a lady accompanying her friend to China to help her adopt a baby there. The other life is her dream-life whenever she dozes. In this, she’s a Chinese woman in Imperial China. The king is attracted to her and decides to make her the mother of the heir to his throne. She however has a child with someone else and is forced to give the baby girl away before the king finds out that she has not been loyal to him.
 Our protagonist suddenly realizes that the dream is nothing but her own story in a different lifetime and that she is actually getting a chance to make up for having had to give away a daughter in her previous life. She is aided in her realization by a psychic who is in America but can “sense” that the baby is hers and that she has to take it. To strengthen the aid, random people pop out of the blue and tell her how she and the baby were meant to be together. Eventually, the friend hands over the baby to our protagonist and they both return to the US to live their happy lives.

I must say that this is a pretty interesting tale and I definitely enjoyed reading it. Here’s the part that I found hard to accept – this is not a fiction. This is a memoir! Yes! Beth Russell, who accompanied her friend Alex to China, brought back her baby Lily after realizing that she was meant to have this baby as a result of the happenings in her previous birth. Am I the only one having a tough time dealing with this? I have never felt the urge to discuss anything personal about the author in relation with the book until this. But when the book happens to be a memoir, I am not left with any option. I read the entire book in disbelief. Was she serious? Did she actually have one long story broken up into dreams for every night? It almost felt like episodes of a TV show that airs every time she falls asleep (or sometimes, even just closes her eyes to meditate). The whole thing seemed too story like for me to accept it as a true life story.

At the risk of offending the author and anyone who happens to accept this memoir for what it is, I HAVE to say that I had too many issues with the story line. I can understand Alex’s nervousness when she is handed the baby in China. You can plan to adopt a baby and think about it for years, and do all the paper work, etc – but somehow, nothing is as real as actually carrying the baby in your own arms! I would be scared.

Somehow, I felt that Beth made no attempt to assuage her fears about adopting the baby and rather promptly announced that if Alex didn’t need the baby, she would take it! And then she proceeds to bond with the baby. When Alex has doubts about giving it away, Beth allows her to bond with the baby but makes no effort to hide the fact that she is upset that Alex might change her mind! To top that, the whole dream sequence feels like something straight out of a Bollywood movie. For the uninitiated, “Bollywood” refers to the thriving film industry of India “Bollywood” actually just stands for “Hollywood of Bombay”. Many bollywood movies, much to our amusement, deal with re-births and fantasy tales not too different from what I described above as Beth’s memoir. After having mocked such insane story lines throughout my life, I find it very hard to be able to accept something like this as a memoir. I cannot be more honest here. This is just my view! To me, it felt like the dreams were Beth’s way of convincing herself and Alex that she was actually meant to be with Lily.

Well, here’s the deal. Beth is a good writer. I liked her style of writing and enjoyed the book. If it were a fiction novel, I would have even praised it and recommended it to everyone who is actually reading this post. But unfortunately, the only issue that I have with this book is a big one. It is a memoir and I cannot understand how it can be one!

One thing I must mention though is the fact that I absolutely loved the cover of this book - the white motifs on those tiny blue shoes in the palms of an adult - fascinating picture and very very appealing. Someone please tell me that it is not actually a memoir and I will feel so much better!

If you have read this book and completely disagree with me, I would love to hear your views. Agree with me? Please tell me that I am not the only one to feel this way!Haven’t read this book? What do you think? Would you want to give this a shot? What are your reactions to this review? 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Off The Menu

The first thing that I liked about the book when i received it was the cover. I loved the heart shaped chocolates. They added such a feminine touch to the cover and i instantly knew this was one book I could like.  

I am going to be doing this review a little differently. I thought I'd share a little something from the author herself about the book. In the following passages, Christine talks about her book, how the plot came about and what her inspirations for her main characters were. 

"OFF THE MENU's the story of three, twenty-nine year-old Asian-American women who have become the embodiment of everyone's expectations of them--their parents, each other, society as a whole and themselves. They're living lives that everyone anticipated from them, but each harbor a desire that clashes with what they've become. They don't tell each other their hidden ambitions, partly because they think the others will disapprove, but mostly because they can't handle the idea that they might fail in their endeavors publicly. In the end, they do share a bit more of themselves, of course, and they come to realize that whether or not they strive for their dreams (I won't tell if you they or not!), they've got each other's support through thick and thin.

Each of the characters share a bit of my personality and struggles. Or those of my friends or acquaintances or family members or anyone else I might have met. At the time that I was thinking about the plot, I was dreaming of becoming a writer, and I couldn't tell anyone about it because it seemed so ridiculous. I was a lawyer at a prestigious international firm, making more money than I should have, working more hours than were reasonable. It was a good life, at least from an outsider's (read: my parents) perspective. A lot of my girlfriends were in the same boat, whether they were doctors or professors or fellow lawyers, and we spent so much time daydreaming of what we wanted to be when we grew up. But we were in our late twenties. Or thirties. Or forties. I started to think that this idea--of balancing the real world with our secret dream ones--was a very accessible and shared characteristic. So I started there. The rest of the story was my own projection of what could happen. What would it be like if Whitney Lee went for a music career? How would that look? How would she go about doing it? How would her friends and family react?

Inspirations for the characters? Me, of course! Ha! Seriously, some of the characters are very loose amalgamations of me. A lot of the characters are compilations of a bunch of people I know. Friends and family. Some are influenced by TV characters or movie characters or in part inspired by characters in books I've read. Some are pure figments of my imagination. I'm enormously chatty (can you tell?) and love to be around people. I'm usually the one laughing too loudly or making a jackass out of myself. But I also listen incredibly closely. I watch and observe, and when I'm around other people, the little things they do--mannerisms or tics or the way they tilt their head--I suck all of that up. Eventually, it may end up as a characteristic of one of my characters."

I am sure you see what an interesting person Christine is! Well, her book is pretty interesting too. It is a light and entertaining read. The characters are distinct and strong and by the time you put the book down, you actually start missing them! I enjoyed reading the book and I am sure you will too!:)

Do drop by again tomorrow afternoon to read my interview with her for her book tour by TLC! I had so much fun interacting with her and I hope you will enjoy reading the interview:)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Native Life

I got “One Native Life” when I wasn’t even expecting it. I didn’t even remember requesting for it. But the cover somehow looked appealing enough and I thought I’d just open the book and read a couple of pages that night before going to sleep. Two hours later, I was still awake, reading the book, loving it and totally unable to put it down!

Richard Wagamese is a native Indian living in Canada – he is an Ojibway from the Wabasseemoong First Nation in Ontario. This book “One Native Life” comprises of autobiographical snippets from his life. Wagamese is 53 years old now and this book is his way of reminiscing about his life. His life has been a struggle – a struggle to give himself an identity and find out more about himself and in the process, his people – the native Ojibway people. Abused and abandoned as a kid, Wagamese spent his adolescence moving from home to home amidst non-native people. At one point, he leaves his foster home and takes to the streets. He does odd jobs, drives aimlessly around the country, and survives. He later reconnects with his family, with his own people, goes on to become a successful journalist, and in the process finds himself.

The book is divided into 4 parts to demarcate the four stages in his life. Each part consists of many chapters is an incident – a snippet – written in short story format. These stories were originally published in the newspaper columns he wrote as “One Native Life”.  And somehow, the chapters flow together, the parts flow together and we have the well written story of one man’s life.

Here is the description of his book in his own words (from his blog):
My collected memoir, One Native Life, is exactly what it says. It's a series of pieces originally written for newspaper and radio that look back at the road I travelled in 52 years of life as a native person in Canada. you'll meet Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash and a lot of other people who touched my life in good, healing ways. It's about the fact that we are, in truth, all neighbours and we need to learn to talk to each other more and share the stories of our time here. The reaction to the newspaper columns has been tremendous so I'm sure you'll enjoy the book.

I loved the Wagamese’s style of writing and I loved the content of his book even more! As Wagamese looks back on his life, what is amazing is not how much he has learnt/ done. What is amazing is the way he has learnt it and his teachers. Wagamese shows us the importance of simple living and the importance of bonding with nature. There is so much to learn from everything around us – even animals (“animal-people”, as the Ojibway referred to them). We drift from day to day without really observing things and people around us. Wagamese’s book showed me the importance of relishing every living moment. There’s a message from every “seemingly-mundane” incident -  so much to observe and so much to learn.

I know for a fact that I am not doing justice to this review. I totally enjoyed the book and I wish you would pick it up sometime and enjoy it as much as I did as well. I had never heard of Wagamese until I found this book in my mail box and now I suddenly want to read every book of his ( I think, he’s written 4 novels and a memoir in addition to  “One Native Life”).

To know more about Wagamese, you can visit his website –

I found a link to my favorite chapter in the whole book – one about making bannock. Something about this chapter totally appealed to me. I think it was the sense of belonging that he got when he baked bannock for the first time after getting the recipe from his mom. The sense that he was actually someone in this world – someone who belonged to a community, had something more than just a body and a name. Here is a link to this article. I am sure that’ll give a taste of the book:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lipstick Jihad

I had been meaning to read Lipstick Jihad for at least a year and then I finally got an opportunity to pick it up. How can you resist reading a book with such a fancy name? I read it last month during the week that blogger made my blog mysteriously disappear.

The book says that it is about growing Iranian in America and American in Iran. Azadeh Moaveni is a second generation Iranian in America. She was born and raised here but her parents were from Iran. This book is her memoir. It is about feeling alien in both America as well as in Iran. Somehow not fitting well in both places but yet fitting right in! It was something that I was totally interested in reading about.

With an influx of immigrants into America it is always interesting to observe the characteristics of those that moved here from another country and their children through various stages in life. Jhumpa Lahiri talks about this in her book “The Namesake”. If you haven’t read it, it is one book you should definitely read. She talks about a young couple moving to the US from India and then she goes to show their children dealing with the issues of being a second generation Indian in the US. I can imagine how tough it would be to be at cultural crossroads. I guess that was what made me pick up Lipstick Jihad – a first hand narration of the life of a second generation Iranian. Azadeh grew up in America not really knowing too much about Iran. She had been there once as a child and didn’t have too many memories of the place. To her, she was “Persian” and the Iran that her parents talked about was a mystical land of carpets and rugs. She has always been different from the other kids around her and somehow felt that in Iran she would fit right in.

She gets an opportunity to go to Iran. Because she has an Iranian passport, she is allowed to enter the country as a reporter (a privilege that other Americans don’t get). But when she gets to Iran, she realizes that she is even more of a misfit here than she was in America. She can’t speak Farsi too well and she can’t relate to the lives of women under the Islamic regimen. She observes their behavior as an outsider, not being able to relate to their feelings and their need for freedom.

The book is all about coming to terms with her identity.

In concept, it is a great book. I was really interested in finding out everything about her life in the US as well as in Iran. But, somehow, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted to. It wasn’t gripping enough for me. I found myself putting the book down pretty easily. I had to make myself pick it up to finish it just because I wanted to find out more. I guess my expectations for the book were too high and somehow it didn’t meet them. I didn’t feel a part of the book. To me it was a bunch of incidences that I liked reading about. When I put the down, I didn’t really miss it. And I guess that is why I have taken so long to write this review. I feel bad when I want to like a book and land up not liking it as much as I wanted to.

But after having said that, I really think that if you are interested in the concept of this book you should read it. There is a lot to learn about life in contemporary Iran - The true state of affairs after the Islamic revolution. I really hope you like it better than I do.

If you have already read this book, I would love to hear your comments. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Hiding Place

I first saw the review for this book in Bethany's blog. Thanks for writing about it and making me want to read it Bethany. It was a fabulous book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The Hiding Place is a memoir of Corrie ten Boom. For the first 50 years of her life, Corrie had a very normal life. She was a spinster and lived with her aged father and another spinster sister (Betsie) in a fascinatingly rundown house in Haarlem in Holland called the Beje. I absolutely loved the quirky house. I could never do adequate justice to the description. Alongside is a recent picture of the Beje (Which is now a museum). It is hard to imagine that a house so small had so much happening inside it!

The picture alongside is a picture of Corrie's parents. Corrie's mom died when she was 63 but not before teaching Corrie and Betsie the importance of being generous and nice to people. Even when she was bedridden with no ability to talk, she remembered the birthdays of the destitute and made Corrie write little notes wishing them. Corrie's father has a watch repair business and was loved by everyone in Haarlem. He was a very simple man and loved his job. He sometimes even forgot to take money for the repairs he did and never thought of anyone as competition. It is tough to find such simplicity these days. Everyone seems to be driven by the need for money. It is sad how our society has become such a money-centric society!

Anyways, during World War II, when the Jews were trying to escape from the Nazis, Corrie helped them hide. She even had a secret room built in the Beje and hid Jews there with an elaborate warning system. The picture alongside is an image of Corrie's room along with the secretroom (Seen beyond the wall). The Beje is now a museum.
Unfortunately, they were discovered and Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Concentration Camp.

Nothing but pure unadulterated faith kept them going. They survived hardships and worked hard but never lost faith. They smuggled in a little bible with them and read it everyday to other women in the camp. Little messages from the Bible were taken and practiced. It really was fascinating to see the power of faith. Faith gave them a reason to survive and go on living even under the darkest circumstances.Even though Corrie was in charge of the Beje operations, Betsie suddenly seemed to be the stronger one when they were in the camp. Through all hardships, she somehow managed to keep her faith intact and her optimism and her faith were infectious. She harbored no bitter thoughts towards anyone and even felt sorry for her prosecutors. To be like Betsie is so tough. Unfortunately, Betsie did not survive the camp. She died a few months before Corrie was released.

But Corrie went on to honor Betsie's dream. She spent the rest of her life helping those affected by the Holocaust and by talking about what she and Betsie had learnt in Camp. She travelled widely and spread her message throughout the world! She died when she was 91 years old.

I think this book is a must read for everyone. It is very inspiring. I know there are loads of people who think that once they are 50, their life is done. Corrie's life actually started when she was 50! This was an absolutely fascinating book. I want to watch the movie that was based on this book as well.. I wonder if they actually shot it at the beje.. anybody knows anything about that? Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?

If you haven't read this one as yet, go and grab a copy and read it right now!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

After Dark

I know I have a bunch of pending reviews and I wanted to finish those before reviewing books I read now…but I just finished After Dark by Haruki Murakami and I just HAD to write about it immediately.

This is my second Murakami book. I read Norwegian Wood earlier this year and I found that it was very dark and very intense… but, nevertheless, I liked it! I saw “After Dark” on the library shelf when I was browsing and decided to pick it up.

After Dark is a novel that is based on the happenings in one night. Different people; Different places; but somehow, they are all connected.

Mari Asai is spending the night away from home just to “get away from it all”. She has a voluminous book in hand and she plans to sit in a restaurant all night just reading. Well, that doesn’t happen. Her night is eventful. She meets one of her sister’s friends, helps a Chinese prostitute who has been beaten up by one of her customers, feeds kittens a tuna sandwich in the park, meets a girl who’s been hiding for three years running away from a cruel past, and most importantly comes to terms with who she is and the relationship she shares with her sister. Too much for one night, you might say… and I agree but when you read the book, you’ll realize that a night is actually long and there’s so much that you can do when the world is asleep.

In another part of the city, Mari’s sister, Eri Asai is asleep. But her sleep doesn’t seem natural. She’s breathing but there’s something unreal about her when she’s sleep. [This was, frankly, the part of the book that I never got. Maybe I should read it again to understand what is actually happening to Eri. If any of you have read this book, I would love to have a discussion with you about Eri on this particular night].

As another parallel story, we see a strange workaholic. He works late, has a family that he is not too fond of. She tries to avoid them as much as he can. He doesn’t want to get home until they are all asleep and doesn’t get up until after they leave so he won’t have to meet them. He’s the one who beats up the Chinese prostitute.

As I mentioned earlier, there were parts of the book that I didn’t really understand. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to keep reading. I loved parts of it and I totally loved the way the book was written. I totally admired the way Murakami dealt with complex emotional issues. The conversations were very concise but very powerful and a lot of what is being said in the book stays with you. Murakami tries to sneak in the fact that sometimes, life’s biggest problems are usually not that big. They have a simple solution and all that you have to do is pause, get away from it and think about it from an external perspective. That kinda resonated with me.

Anyways, I enjoyed reading After Dark. It wasn’t too long or too intense. But it was powerful and interesting and different. You should give it a shot sometime too!

Other Reviews of this book -
3M  - I particularly liked the way she concisely, yet perfectly described the story of the sisters : "One of them can’t sleep and the other one won’t wake up".. 

Have you already read this one? Just leave me a comment with a link to your review and I’ll link it to this post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Choice

There are times when you want to just curl up on the couch with a bag of potato chips and a nice book - Something that is gripping and yet doesn’t require you to think too much. I usually go for a chick-lit or a nice romance book for such times. And I just found the perfect author for days like that. After watching “The Notebook”, I have always wanted to read the book and see if I would like it as much as I liked the movie. I didn’t get to read the notebook, but I did get to read “The Choice” by the same author – Nicholas Sparks. I won this book in a giveaway… Thank you Anna! It was a very enjoyable book!
I don’t want to say too much about the story of The Choice. If you haven’t read it, you should and you’ll know what I am talking about. I loved discovering the twists in the tale as I read through it and I loved the suspense of not knowing what happens next and I want it to be the same way for you.
A few of us were having a discussion a couple of weeks ago. There are times when you finish a beautifully written heavy novel and then you are just not in the mood for another heavy book. Even if you do actually get to picking up one, you’ll realize that you don’t enjoy it as much as you would have if you hadn’t read it immediately after an intense read. The Choice is perfect for times like that; for times when you want to just unwind. When you want to smile and cry as you read without actually feeling the pain… I love that kind of a book. I am such a romantic at heart and books like this will always hold a nice place in my heart.
So if you are looking for a light read, and you haven't read "The Choice" already, grab a copy! You won't regret it!:)

Monique and the Mango Rains

... Two Years with a Midwife in Mali.

Monique and the Mango Rains is a beautiful book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I read the review for this book in Natasha’s blog and I knew immediately that I wanted to read this book. It was an amazing book.

Kris Holloway went to Mali for a year as part of the Peace Corps program. She stayed in a village and Monique, the midwife in the village was her host. This book is all about the year that Kris spent in Mali – the things she sees there, the things she does, the people she meets, the friendships she makes, etc. Through Kris’s eyes, we see the reality. We see Mali for what it is. Through a simple description of one year in Mali, Kris brings out a lot about the life of people there – their culture, their habits, their life, their eating habits, etc. When you finish the book, you almost feel like you’ve been in Mali yourself!

Monique was a very inspiring person and I am glad that Kris decided to share her story with the world. At the age of 24, Monique was the only midwife/clinician for the village of Nampossela. She had an active interest in the health of the community and went out of her way to help those in need. She battled childhood malnutrition, found a way to get contraceptive for mothers, fought against female circumcision, etc and managed to keep her cheerful face and friendly demeanor through all difficulty. Monique the midwife, however, had another life. She had an unhappy marriage and two children. Her salary for being the midwife went directly to her father in law and she only received a small portion that was insufficient to make ends meet.

You don’t have to be a book lover to like this book. It is definitely not a tough read… but it is definitely fascinating and very inspiring. And it definitely makes us more aware of the world around us. Sometimes, it is so easy to take the comforts that we have for granted. So it is good to read books like this once in a while and realize that we are indeed very lucky in the world and most of our cribs and complaints are so insignificant.

I think the best learning experience would be to visit places like this and see all this for ourselves. But then again, not everyone gets to go to Nampossela and stay there for a year and interact with the local community. I guess that is where books like this become so important. They give us the knowledge without actually having to go through the experience.

Well, bottom line – you should read this book. It is an amazing book; Educational and at the same time interesting to read!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Red Azalea

I had reviewed “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” last month. I really enjoyed the book but it raised a lot of questions in me that I wanted answered. One such question was about re-education (the concept of sending children from the cities to villages to be re-educated in the ways of the peasants). I was searching for books which dealt with this and I excited when I came upon something that might be the answer. It was a memoir. A book by Anchee Min about her life in China and how was sent to a farm for re-education and how she managed to get away from it. I got the book and immediately sat down to read it.

Plot Summary
The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, Anchee talks about her childhood. She’s an outstanding student and a hard working daughter, practically being a mother to her younger siblings from the tender age of 5! She whole heartedly believes in Mao’s communism and knows the Little Red Book of Mao’s sayings inside out and even wins prizes for being able to quote from the book. Later in the book, she and a friend test themselves on their knowledge of the book. She gives a quote and her friend gives the page number and the paragraph number. Wow! She even testifies against her favorite teacher because she is asked to by the Party people.

In the second part, she goes to a farm outside of Shanghai. There, amidst other teenagers, she first begins to doubt the ideals that she had believed all along in life. She sees how individualism is punished and she is not sure she likes it. Anchee, throughout the book, NEVER rejects Mao’s teachings or even criticizes them. She only explains how she realizes that life is not as simple as Mao’s teachings. There is so much more to it. She sees a friend go mad and finally commit suicide after being “discovered” while in a relationship with a guy. Her own frustration in being unable to befriend a guy and have a relationship pushes her to experiment with lesbianism with another friend in the farm.

In the third part, she is selected to train for the part of “Red Azalea” in a movie. In this part, she witnesses abuse of power and gets involved in a complex relationship which I am not sure I can call love. These incidences further increase her disillusionment with Mao’s system. By the end of the third part, Mao dies and his wife Jiang Qing is arrested.
Eventually, Anchee moves to the US.

My Thoughts
Well, I liked reading the book for the things that I learnt about life under Mao. I had read Wild Swans by Jung Chang about 3 years ago and after a long time I am re-visiting China. It is scary to see how individualism was condemned so much. I can’t imagine not having my individuality. I can’t imagine a life where what I say/think/do is not something I want to say/think/do but only what I have to say/think/do! How miserable is that!!

Having said that, I have to say that I didn’t like the way the book was written. It was just a narration and did not evoke any feelings in me automatically. Every time I paused to think about it and put myself in her shoes, I could feel resentment rising in me. But nothing while reading the book. I was detached throughout the book. I finished it because I wanted to finish it and not because I couldn’t put the book down! I think this is going back to my review of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. I think it is a talent that a few people have to convert incidences into gripping stories. Just narration of an incident is not enough. Writing a good novel requires so much more than that and I found that lacking in Anchee’s description of her life in China. It was just that – a description. Nothing more! At least that is how I felt about it.
But then again, this was a best seller and did win an award. so obviously a lot of people didn't really agree with me!

There was one thing that I found interesting in the book though. Anchee had not spelt out the names of the characters in the book. She actually referred to them by the translation of their names in English. Her own name meant “Jade of Peace” and it was fun to see how her little brother was named “Space Conqueror” because her father was such an astronomy lover. That was definitely interesting.

I am sure whether I want to call this a great book. It is a memoir so everything said in the book is true and that’s enough reason to read it – to learn more about life in China in the 70s. But I did not find this book very gripping and interesting… so, I am not sure if I should recommend it to everyone. So I leave the choice to you. If you want to read this book, just go ahead and do it.
I tried finding reviews for this, but it looks like this isn’t very popular on the blog-o-sphere. I didn’t really find any review for this. If you have read and reviewed this book and I missed finding your review, just post a comment with a link to your review and I’ll add it to this post!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Half of a Yellow Sun

I can now understand why the art of story telling was big in ancient cultures and how story telling was an art. It is so obvious that not everyone is good at it. A lot of people can narrate incidences, but only a few have the ability to take a incident and then weave a story around it and narrate it in a way that would actually make you feel a part of it. I think people like that write wonderful books – deep books that immediately go on your “best books of the year” list. Chimamanda Adichie is surely one such person. She has a talent for taking incidents and then weaving such powerful tales around it. I read Purple Hibiscus for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge earlier this year and I loved it. I definitely wanted to read “Half of a Yellow Sun” and I was not disappointed. It is a fascinating book at many levels. There is a political situation to grasp and understand and then there’s the complexity of human interaction. The book is a perfect blend of these two.

Half of a Yellow Sun is a story about a war - The Nigeria-Biafra war that happened in the early 70s; A war that is being largely forgotten around the world and is going down in history as yet another one of those unrests in Africa. But in this book, Adichie has successfully revisited the war. She goes into the political details and the personal torments that were experienced during the war making it a event to register in memory. And yet, it is not a documentary. She makes sure we understand the cause and effect of the war and she makes sure we remember it for what it was – not as “just another African war”. But then again, it is not all about the war. It is a story full of human emotions – love, friendship, betrayal, anger, lust, envy, pride, etc. It is a powerful tale in which the lives of the protagonists are completely intertwined with the political happenings around them. Some are in a position to dictate the happenings and others just get “dictated”. For some it is a “riches to rags” story, for some it is a discovery of the self, for some it is about losing the identity that they’ve always been familiar with. It would have been an amazing book with just the stories of the people and their interactions but adding the war element to it, takes it to a completely different level.

In brief, the story deals with the lives of Olanna, her “revolutionary” lover, Odenigbo (A university professor with radical political ideas), their house boy Ugwu (a poor boy who comes to Odenigbo from a village and slowly becomes a part of the family), Olanna’s twin sister Kainene (who is nothing like Olanna. They are not identical twins and couldn’t have been more different in character), Kainene’s boyfriend Richard (who is actually white but becomes so much a part of what is happening in Nigeria/Biafra that it is hard to picture him white after a while). Then, there are the other characters that come and go and yet manage to leave an impact.

The book has a lot of characters and a lot of parallel stories and fascinatingly, Adichie manages to keep them unique while seamlessly blending them. I am wonderstruck at her ability to take complicated lives of at least 5 people, add to an already complicated tale of the war and come up with a story that is simple, powerful, entertaining and addictive. I couldn’t put the book down from the minute I started it. I had to get back to it and see what happened next. I smiled when the characters laughed and I felt the pain when they cried. I now feel like I just spent the last two days of my life in Nigeria during the war. I feel as though I know the characters personally. I actually miss the book now that I am done with it. Very few books can actually do that to you; which is why I have to reinforce my point that Adichie is a master story teller.

I totally loved reading this book. I am sure you’ll like it too!:) Give it a shot! Here are some more rave reviews for this awesome book if you still aren’t convinced to pick it up:

If you've read this book and reviewed it, please do leave a link to your review in the comment section and I'll add it to this wonderful list of reviews!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Devil Came on Horseback

The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur
Brian Steidle
With Gretchen Steidle Wallace

Natasha has been hosting the Reading and Blogging for Darfur event at her blog this whole month. I wanted to actively read and watch a lot of videos this month but unfortunately couldn’t do as much as I wanted. Luckily, one of the books I had ordered got to me before the end of the month. So I sat down to read “The Devil Came on Horseback”. I had read Natasha’s review of this book over at her blog and that was one of the reasons I definitely wanted to read this one. And I am glad I did. Once again, thank you Natasha!
What is the best way to know more about everything happening in Darfur, you might wonder. Well, how about a book written by someone who was there, someone who interacted with both sides of the fight, someone who took pictures of everything happening there, someone who made notes of every incident he witnessed, etc etc?? You basically get what I am trying to say, right? There couldn’t be a better way to get to know about the happenings in Darfur than to read “The Devil Came on Horseback”.
Brain Steidle is a former United States Marine. He goes to Sudan for a year as an unarmed military observer for the African Union. His job was to go with his team and record the incidents he witnessed all over Sudan. After spending a relatively quiet few months in the Nuba Mountains, he requests a move to Darfur. His frustration at not being able to do anything to help better the situation in Darfur is obvious through the book. The helplessness he feels when he looks into the eyes of the poor villagers who think that he might just be able to help them is so palpable. But given his situation, Brian does the best he can in his own way. He records every incident, every conversation, every scene in the form of reports, photographs, letters to his sister Gretchen, audio notes, etc. And then, he wrote a book to convey the message to everyone else in the world. I think what he’s done is so commendable.
If you are expecting a dry, boring, documentary reporting mass killing, rape and other atrocities, you are soo wrong. The book is actually well written and very interesting. It is quite a page turner. Personally, I felt the first part of the book, before he goes to Darfur seemed kinda slow. But the minute he landed in Darfur, I couldn’t put the book down. I just had to read and read and read and grasp every word he had to say. Some of the things that he had to say, I already knew… Many other things shocked me. The images in the book were heart-wrenching and I would be lying if I said that the book hasn’t affected me.
The one thing that troubled me was his faith in the American Government. Throughout the book he keeps mentioning things to the effect that if the information actually got to the US government then they would immediately do something to better the situation in Darfur. Did he actually think the folks sitting here have no idea of what is happening in Darfur? Well, it is not just the US government. It is governments all over the world. Somehow, everyone has decided to ignore the happenings in Darfur. Atrocities committed against the tribes in Darfur are so inhuman and should never be permitted. It is disgusting how things like this are going on for years and years and no one seems to be doing anything about it!
It is hard to imagine that this book is actually a memoir- that events described here are not figments of imagination from a psychotically deranged brain. They are actual events appening in a different part of the world. People are starving, getting killed mercilessly, getting raped, being turned out of their homes right as I type this review. It is really hard to imagine that everything said in the book is true.
Brain’s job is to act as an unbiased recorder of the incidents he witnesses. But throughout the book, it is obvious that he has taken a side. I do not know if that is good or bad. I have no idea if the actual scenario is that clear cut. Is there actually a “good vs bad” situation in Darfur? I think that’s just not possible. I might be just naïve here. I have no idea about what I am talking. Is it THAT obvious that there is one side is right and one side is wrong? If the situation was that obvious, won’t something be done about it already?
On the whole, I would totally recommend this book to everyone. In fact, not just to people interested in knowing about what is happening in Darfur but to EVERYONE. I think it is important to be aware of things that are happening all around us.I know this has been made into a movie as well. So if are you not really a book person (Wait, then what are you doing in my blog??) then you should get yourself a copy of the dvd to watch!
Well, please feel free to leave your comments here. I would love to hear what you think about this. If you have also read this book, do send me a link to review and I’ll add it to this post.