Genre: Courtroom Drama
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Pub. Date: September 9, 2014
I read this book years ago. Recently while surfing channels I noticed that it was turned into a movie. Instead of watching the movie, I re-read the novel because remembered liking it. I had previously read McEwan’s “Atonement.” I found in both novels that his writing skills are first-rate. As in “Atonement,” a single event sets off a chain reaction of consequences. In “Children,” a female judge must make a life or death decision regarding a 17-year-old boy. The teen has leukemia and desperately needs a blood transfusion. He and his family happen to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religion that forbids blood transfusions. What makes this courtroom drama different from others is that the writer is not playing on the readers’ emotions. This book will not have you on the edge of your seat. ” It is not primarily about religious beliefs and saving a life. It is more about the judge and making difficult decisions in British High Family Court. You will read about other brutal cases that she has proceeded over. She does this daily, all while trying to keep her marriage together. You can’t help but admire her legal skills. “This has been no easy matter to resolve. I have given due weight to A’s age, to the respect due to faith, and to the dignity of the individual embedded in the right to refuse treatment …” Her decision and its consequences throw her into confusion and self-doubt. Even though the author is writing about a female protagonist, don’t expect this to be a women’s fiction novel. This is a short (224 pages), concise, strong novel, where a judge’s ruling decision affects her life in ways she never intended or imagined. Okay, there is a hint of a soap in the tale still, it remains a literary read that will make you think about the judge even after you have finished the novel.
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Genre: Gothic horror
Publisher: Archibald Constable and Company
Pub. Date: May 26, 1897
Martie’s 2020 Halloween Read
“Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!” Those words, which were written in the 19th century, were the beginning of the vampire craze that is still going on today. There have been earlier stories on vampires but it was Stoker, who made the vampire, Count Dracula, a household name. Surprisingly, the novel is not a pure horror book, especially when compared to present day horror novels. It flows much slower and probes deeply into human identity and sanity. I am sure I do not need to tell you the basics of the story that has been recreated in theaters, television, and films. I can share that none of them get the tale correct. Even the 1991 movie, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (I watched it the moment I finished the book) misses the major themes of the novel. The plot is too complicated for film reproduction. It is a true mixed genre novel including, folklore, Victorian culture, religion, eroticism, colonialism, war, mystery (almost reads like a detective murder mystery), and of course gothic horror. There is no narrator. Almost the entire story is written in the daily journals of the main characters. This can make the novel trying to read. But, stick with it because it is so darn good.
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Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.—Anne Lamott
I have just been released from the hospital so I am afraid that I haven’t been able to read any of your lovely reviews. My latest attention-seeking shenanigans (if you remember I had broken my shoulder a couple of months ago) was having a minor heart attack, meaning I won’t be online for a bit longer. I’m fine no worries. Looking forward to reading reviews again soon.
Genre: Murder Mystery/Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Atria Books
Pub. Date: 2016
Due to a recent injury, this mini-review is being written via voice to text. Please forgive errors and a review that is not up to par.
I enjoyed this character-driven murder mystery. I thought the storyline reads more literary than the genre, something that isn’t too easy to pull off when writing a psychological thriller. Jewell nails adolescent anguish. The novel revolves around a few dysfunctional/offbeat families with young teenage kids. Their homes share a common garden park, which is the communal backyard. There is a “gang” of young teens who hang out in the yard. Think the movie “Mean Girls” mixed with “The Breakfast Club.”
The mystery part of the story is that the reader learns that years before a teenage girl died in that park. No one knows if her death was an accident or a murder. In the present, during the boozy annual summer party thrown by the adults, something bad happens to another girl. The author gives us many characters with persuasive motivations. It could’ve gone in many directions. Unfortunately, I can’t say I like the one Jewell picked.
I could not figure out exactly what happened. Maybe this was the author’s intention. Or maybe it’s simply that I am having trouble concentrating lately. Either way, I probably did not mind as much as other readers might, because it wasn’t the mystery that caught my interest. It was the families’ dynamics written with very good character development. There isn’t much suspense in “Girls.” What you get is an insight into what makes the author’s characters tick. That was good enough for me.
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This klutzy blogger broke her shoulder went to the hospital but because of the coronavirus they just took x-rays and sent me home. This happened last Thursday. I am waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon to set it on Tuesday. It hurts like a you know what so please forgive me that I am not reading your reviews. Take care all.