Showing posts with label adult fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adult fiction. Show all posts

August 30, 2016

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

One of the most acclaimed novels of our time, Wally Lamb's I Know This Much Is True is a story of alienation and connection, devastation and renewal, at once joyous, heartbreaking, poignant, mystical, and powerfully, profoundly human.
Woah. This book is heavy. It touches on so many rough topics. Let’s take a quick look at some of those:
Mental Disorders
Mental and Physical Abuse

And that isn’t even all of them. This is one of the most complete novels that I have read in a long time, and it better be since it was almost 900 pages long. I won’t lie -- the length was intimidating. It made me put off reading this book for a few months, but once I actually opened it up to give it a shot, I was hooked.

We can start with Dominick, the main protagonist. The POV character of the book. Straight up, Dominick is an asshole. So many times throughout the duration of the book, I just wanted to smack him for how he talked to people and how he treated them or thought about them. But the more you read, the more his personality starts to make sense. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but he makes sense and you can begin to feel bad for him and relate to him at times. Dom didn’t have an easy life by any means. By the end you just want things to be okay for him.

Thomas was just a tragic character in this story. From the very first page until the very last. The whole time, I wanted to just grab Thomas and hug him and never let go. I wanted to protect him like Dominick tried to.  Getting the short end of the stick in every situation. Being Dom’s twin, he was always the black sheep brother. The one that everyone liked less, and then he had to have life deal him another blow with schizophrenia. Thomas’s life just wasn’t fair. From the way he was treated as a kid by his own family and the other kids to the way he was handled by the folks at Hatch, the end of Thomas’s story came as no surprise.

Ray could be considered one of the antagonists in the novel, aside from life itself. Ray was a piece of work, and chapters that included him in the early years were so painful to read at times, but the book wouldn’t have been complete without him. Seeing bits and pieces of his softer side really humanized him, but just like Dom, I couldn’t let go of all of the bad things he had done.

Dom and Thomas’s Mother was an interesting character because the only time we meet her is in flashbacks. Her role in the story contributed so much to how both Dominick and Thomas grew up. If you are into ‘Nature vs. Nurture’ there is an interesting argument to be had about this family. A set of twins that are completely different, yet they are raised by the same parents. The parents treat the boys different, but does turn them into who they became? I would like to hear other opinions on this topic.

Domenico, the grandfather. The mysterious man. We only hear about him until Dominick gets his memoir back in a weird twist of fate. I will admit, most of the chapters that included his memoir dragged on for me. I skipped half of one entirely because I was bored. Some of them were really intense and attention grabbing though. Reading through his writing, you can see where Dominick gets his temperament and part of his personality. Domenico was 1000x worse though. He also came from a different time and from a different situation. Just like Ray, some of his story was so hard to read. He was a terrible man, but he thought so highly of himself.

Shaeffer was. . . and interesting part of the story. I really liked her character but I also couldn’t exactly figure her out. I feel like there was a deeper side to her that we never really got to explore. I would have liked to know more about her, but this book was already super long.

Dr. Patel is a fantastic character in this story. Dominick needed her more than anything because she wouldn’t put up with his nonsense. She wouldn’t let him lie to himself anymore or hide from things he needed to face. I enjoyed her personality and almost wish there was a book series with her as the protagonist.

Dessa – This book wouldn’t have been anything without Dessa’s character. She isn’t actually present for most of the novel, but a lot of the book revolves around the relationship that Dominick and Dessa had. Her character forced his character to be deeper and more developed in a lot of ways.

Leo the classic jokester best friend with a soft side. He is an interesting guy and helped Dominick get through a lot of things in life whether it was from being a supportive friend or by being a jerk and it just happened to work out.

Ralph is like that background character that you see in movies that turns out to play a major role in the story. It seemed that Ralph was around for almost every major event that Dominick had to face. Towards the end you can figure out why that seems to be.

I think everyone needs to read this book to discover a little more about themselves. It will challenge you, it will make you cringe, laugh, cry, scream, and want to tear the book in half. But it will also keep you reading until the very end, and that is what is so beautiful about it. It is an extremely well written novel, and I feel like I am better for having read it.

5/5 Stars despite the length and a few slow parts.

Memorable Quotes: “I couldn’t do it. Poured that little cascade of capsules down the sink instead of down my throat. Turned the water on and washed away my big suicide.”

“Our being human made us tragic and comic both, she had said: the gods both laughed and wept.”

Click To Purchase!

April 28, 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
I know this is supposed to be a mystery or thriller novel, but sometimes those can be very fun to read. If you pick up this book expecting it to be fun and exciting while keeping you guessing and on the edge of your seat, well. . . choose a different book because this one is not that.

Girl on the Train can best be described in one word as: FRUSTRATING. The plot is frustrating, the characters are frustrating, everything about it is frustrating. Every single character in this novel is a whole different level of crazy and I found myself just wanting to shake them back to reality!

The twist was a…twist, but I figured it out before the reveal. That isn’t the worst thing because I didn’t guess it halfway through the book. It still kept me guessing a little, but it became more obvious before the actual reveal.

I think, overall, I can say that I enjoyed this book. . . I think. I am still undecided on it. I am glad I read it, but I don’t know that I would recommend it to my best friend to read… If you are intrigued by the plot, pick it up. But it can be passed over and you won’t be missing much.

3/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head”

“Maybe it was then. Maybe that was the moment when things started to go wrong, the moment when I imagined us no longer a couple, but a family; and after that, once I had that picture in my head. Just the two of us could never be enough.”

“I’ve always liked to drink. But I did become sadder, and the sadness gets boring after awhile, for the sad person and for everyone around them. And then I went from being a drinker to being a drunk, and there’s nothing more boring than that.”

“I don’t believe in soulmates, but there’s an understanding between us that I just haven’t felt before, or at least, not for a long time. It comes from shared experience, from knowing how it feels to be broken.”

“I want to drag knives over my skin, just so that I can feel something other than shame, but I’m not even brave enough to do that.”

 Click To Purchase!

April 2, 2016

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper

Right after high school, Joe Goffman left sleepy Bush Falls, Connecticut and never looked back. Then he wrote a novel savaging everything in town, a novel that became a national bestseller and a huge hit movie. Fifteen years later, Joe is struggling to avoid the sophomore slump with his next novel when he gets a call: his father's had a stroke, so it's back to Bush Falls for the town's most famous pariah. His brother avoids him, his former classmates beat him up, and the members of the book club just hurl their copies of Bush Falls at his house. But with the help of some old friends, Joe discovers that coming home isn't all bad--and that maybe the best things in life are second chances.
This book had the typical plot line of a person that hasn’t been to their hometown in awhile. They have to go back for a tragic reason, and they end up rediscovering themselves.

Now, just because this has been done quite a few times, it doesn’t mean that the book was boring. Quite the opposite, really. It took me a few chapters to really get into the book, but once I hit that point, I didn’t want to put it down.

It is hard to talk about the book without talking about everything that happened to Joe when he went back to his hometown.

Without revealing anything, I will say that the characters were all very interesting. They were all so DIFFERENT. Commonly, you will find some background characters blending in with each other. But each character in this one had their own personality, and it was a very character driven novel. As I said, the plot has been done many times before. The characters are what set this book apart from the others.

It also tackles many tough topics: homophobia, suicide, death, and many more.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “Everyone always wants to know how you can tell when it’s true love, and the answer is this: when the pain doesn’t fade and the scars don’t heal, and it’s too damned late.”

“When you’re eighteen, time isn’t nearly as crotchety and relentless as it becomes soon thereafter, and eight months is nothing less than a lifetime.”

“It’s almost like they knew it would never get any better for them than it was right there. And for me, it was the time I spent with you. And for the last seventeen years, that time was the ball in my trophy case that I could look at every day and find some measure of comfort, of happiness remembered.”

Click To Purchase!