28 September 2010

Book Review No. 40

...3 down, 97 to go...


The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Original Publish Date: 1899
Summary:
**Warning--this Summary contains SPOILERS so don't read it if you don't wanna know how it ends!**
When the book opens, Edna Pontellier is an obedient wife and mother vacationing at Grand Isle with her family. While there, however, Edna becomes close to a young man named Robert Lebrun. Before they act on their mutual romantic interest in each other, Robert leaves for Mexico. Edna is lonely without his companionship, but shortly after her return to New Orleans (where she usually lives with her family), she picks up the male equivalent of a mistress. Although she does not love Alcee Arobin, he awakens various sexual passions within her.
Concurrent to Edna's sexual awakening is her determination for independence. Instead of spending her days concerned with household matters, Edna pursues her interest in painting. Rather than depending financially on her husband, Edna moves into a house of her own. by the time Robert returns, professing his love for Edna and his desire to someday marry her, Edna can no longer handle societal strictures--particularly marriage. Without finishing the conversation about their future, Robert leaves Edna. Heartbroken, she returns to Grand Isle. Once there, she swims far out to sea and presumably drowns. (taken from http://www.shmoop.com/)
Why it was banned/challenged:
It was criticized for being immoral and scandalous.
My Critique:
I'm gonna go ahead and be honest--I'm slightly ashamed that I had never read this book before. I mean I'm from Louisiana AND I have a degree in Literature--how could I have escaped reading it until now?!?! At any rate, this book was chosen for us to read for this month's book club and it's handy that it also happens to be on the Banned Books List which I'm ready through. I'll also go ahead and be honest and just flat out say--I couldn't stand Edna Pontellier. She is perhaps one of the most selfish characters I've ever come across. Which is what our discussion at book club focused a lot on--Edna Pontellier...selfish or empowered? Cowardly or courageous? The summary above didn't even mention her children--the very children that I feel she resented--the very children she left behind in her selfish/cowardly act of suicide. Also this book was very slow moving and it has a TON of phrases in French so if you're going to read it I suggest you buy a copy that has footnotes because I missed out on some stuff by not understanding the French. While I didn't care for the book I can see why it is considered a classic.
So...was I profoundly affected by this book? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes.
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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Awakening, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas-------------uh, nevermind.

16 September 2010

Book Review No. 39

...2 down, 98 to go...



The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Original Publish Date: 1951

Summary:
The story of teenager Holden Caulfield's turbulent last few days before his Christmas vacation. During these days, Holden leaves Pencey Prep, a boy's school he's been kicked out of, and takes off for a few nights alone in New York City. (taken from http://www.bookrags.com/)

Why it was banned/challenged:
Frequently challenged because of language and sexual references.

My Critique:
Once again I find myself let down by one of the classics. I've read this before and the only thing I remembered about it was that I didn't like it. And upon re-reading it, I still don't like it. I don't understand why it is such a "classic." Foul language is scattered across the pages with no more consistency than dice rolled in a game of Yahtzee!. There is no rhyme or reason for them and because of them the sentences are very fragmented/choppy...so choppy, in fact, that oftentimes I'd have to re-read a sentence a few times before I even comprehended what it was saying because the real "meat" of it was interupted so frequently by that damn language. (haha...pun intended) And while I have no real moral objection to the language, nor do I find it particularly offensive, it's just so incredibly unnecessary. If I had to sum up this novel in one word it would be manic. The whole tone of the novel felt manic to me and Holden has some serious bi-polar issues to work out. Also, the book never comes to any sort of conclusion and I never saw a real point to his telling of the story--I never understood why were were hearing these stories from him. Just an all-around disappointment.

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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Catcher in the Rye, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas-------uh, nevermind.



15 September 2010

Book Review No. 38

...1 down, 99 to go...



As promised...here's my review of the first book from the ALA's Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books List.





The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Original publish date: 1925


Summary:
The novel follows the young Nick Carraway as he recounts a summer in the 1920s that he spent in New York. It centers on his relationship with his cousin, Daisy, her husband, Tom, and how he gets drawn into the middle of Daisy's affair with his neighbor, the mysteriously wealthy, unabashedly charming Mr. Jay Gatsby. (taken from TheCelebrityCafe.com)
Why it was banned/challenged:
Frequently challenged because of language and sexual references.
My Critique:
What a letdown! I'll be honest and say I knew nothing about this book before reading it. While I've been an avid reader all my life, my English classes were sorely lacking in terms of literature requirements so I was never required to read this and therefore knew nothing about it. I kinda liked it that way--that way I didn't go in to this with any preconceived notions about the book. The book was incredibly slow moving and, I gotta be honest, a complete disappointment. I have no idea why this book is revered as such a classic--it was so dull.
Anyway, that's my two cents...
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DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, The Great Gatsby, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas------uh, nevermind.

03 September 2010

Banned/Challenged Books

Hey folks! Well I've decided to take on a little project and read through the ALA's Top 100 Banned and/or Challenged Books list. That list can be found by clicking the title of this post. Any way, I've just begun and am now on Book #2. I'll post book reviews as I go along. Speaking of book reviews, I think I'm going to do away with the whole Kit Kat Bar rating system...let's be honest, Kit Kats aren't the cool kids anymore and the system has no merit whatsoever anyway.
Glad you're along for the ride.

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