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Posts Tagged ‘unusual narration’

Our aspirations are wrapped up in books, our inclinations are hidden in looks –Belle and Sebastian

“That day Henry made a choice…that some men are just too interesting to die” –Seth Grahame-Smith

“So keeping the box closed just keeps you in the dark, not the universe.” –John Green

This weekend was a big reading weekend for me. I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter  by Seth Grahame-Smith and I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I wasn’t sure which of these books to review (they were both very good) so I figured that I would do a quick review of both of them.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Author: Seth Grahame-Smith. Publication year: 2010

The “quirk-book” trend of taking classic works of fiction and revamping them with zombies or sea monsters was a trend that I jumped head first into. The fact is that these books whether they be re-worked classics or re-worked histories of famous people, the history is still there. The entire plot of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters was still there and a few details were added to make the story have otherworldly elements. The entire history of Abraham Lincoln’s life is in AL:VH. That’s what makes these books so good and so appealing. You get the history and you get the classic literature, but it is more accessible to today’s generation because they do want to read about zombies and monsters and vampires.

I enjoyed AL:VH very very much. I love all things Abe Lincoln. I am so excited for the movie to come out in a few weeks. The book took a turn for me during the Civil War parts, but the ending was just so spectacular and so historically relevant and so, just, well…gnarly that I ended up giving Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 5 out of 5 stars! I highly recommend it!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Authors: John Greene & David Levithan. Publication Year: 2010.

What was great about this book is the fact that it was so obviously written by two different authors. The story is that of two high school aged youth boys in Illinois both named Will Grayson. The story is told in two points of view with each chapter being voiced by the two Will Grayson’s (eg. Chapter one is Will Grayson 1 and chapter 2 is Will Grayson 2 and chapter 3 is Will Grayson 1 again, etc. etc.). The voices are obviously different and the fact that each author wrote the POV of one Will Grayson worked PERFECTLY. I had no idea that this was the style that the two authors were doing so halfway through chapter 2 I realized that Will Grayson 1 wasn’t actually suffering from a bi-polar disorder, but rather it was the other Will Grayson narrating.

The trend of dystopian fiction and vampire fiction in YA literature as of late has been exhausted, in my humble opinion, so it was very refreshing to read a story about “normal” high school students dealing with “normal” high school problems. I also enjoyed this book because it really is a very good LGBT choice. One of the Will Grayson’s is gay and the other Will Grayson’s best friend is gay. A few of the supporting characters are also gay and several characters belong to a gay/straight alliance at school. A major event in the book revolves around a very gay character writing, directing, producing and staring in a musical designed to bring an understanding and a tolerance to gay students. The book is at the same time heartwarming and heart breaking. I loved it. It had humor, love, and honesty. The ending took a weird turn for me so I couldn’t give it the full 5 stars that it could have earned. However, I do recommend it for anyone who may be gay or questioning, especially high school students. This is not a YA book that I would recommend to my middle school students (the language and some of the situations were a little advanced). This is a book that could be beneficial to bullies who may be harassing gay students. This is even a good book for adult parents of gay teenagers and it’s just a good book for anyone looking for a good read. It was a quick read (I read it in a day). 4 out of 5 stars!

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“The world is always changing brightness and hotness and soundness, I never know how it’s going to be the next minute.”

Welcome to the month of memoirs! Before I get to the two memoirs that I have read for this month, I want to talk about a book I read back in March called Room by Emma Donoghue. As soon as I read about this book on IndieBound I knew I had to read it, and quickly! That was back in December and I remember really really wanting to read it at several different times. Over Christmas break at the Target at my parents house I had picked it up, read the synopsis, placed it in my buggy, and then I put it back on the shelf. Why? I am a teacher and I am poor and I had just spent a good chunk of my savings on Christmas presents and I could not justify spending over $25 on a book. I silently wished that my local library would get a copy soon! And lo and behold they did. Flash forward to March: I dowloaded a sample onto my Nook and I wasn’t sure what I thought of it. It is told entirely through the point-of-view of a five-year-old boy who has been locked inside of a one-room shed for his ENTIRE life. I didn’t think I could read an entire book written in that manner. However, one Saturday morning I was perusing the new book section of my local library when I spotted it! I quickly grabbed it, along with Unberable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi which is my first memoir for April! I ran home and read Unberable Lightness first. Then when I started Room, I could not put it down! I had to keep reading. I had to know what was going to become of Jack and Ma. Were they going to make it out ever? How did they get to be in that room in the first place? Who is Old Nick? Does Ma know him before? If they do get out, what is life on the outside going to be like for both parties!?

Fear not, the five-year-old narrator thing actually works for this book! You get the fear and the incomprehension from Jack and you also feel the frustration that Ma deals with. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone who has not read it, even though you all know that when you read these posts I expect that you have read it. The book is that good! It’s so unexpected that I don’t want anyone who may stumble upon this post that may not have read it yet to have the surprise ruined for them. My only advice to you is to read it as soon as possible, you won’t be disappointed! A very quick and enjoyable read!

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