Monday, 29 February 2016

Book Review | The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the premise of this story, this is not a book about a superhuman teen sweeping in to save the world, this is about the kid in the background (Mikey). This is about the kid that no one notices. I drew comparisons between Buffy and The Scooby Gang - who wouldn't, what with all the talk of the Chosen One and being helpless to save the world again.

Each chapter begins with what is happening to the Chosen Ones, or as Ness calls them, the Indie Kids. Reading this in print format, these short asides would've made more sense. As I listened to this, I couldn't distinguish them from Mikey and his story and for the first few chapters I was wondering what the hell was going on. Luckily I'm not a complete idgit and I figured out what was happening.

I did like Ness' thoughts on mental illness, (Mikey suffers from OCD), and I can't remember where in the book this sentence is, but I just really like thought behind it. There are so many people struggling with mental illness and for the most part, are treated differently because of it. And you can bet that if they had cancer there would be sympathy and understanding instead of people laughing behind your back because you're a weirdo freak. Ness has created wonderfully diverse characters for his book and I enjoy that. I like his writing style and I don't feel like he's written them by numbers or to fill a criteria.

"It's when your emotions become too big. Medications won't get rid of it but it lets you manage it. If you had cancer, diabetes you wouldn't consider taking medication a failing."

Overall, this was a middle of the road read, I didn't love it, but I enjoyed it enough to keep listening. I can't quite put my finger on why it didn't wow me, maybe because the book centers on the everyday, the boring things that we all do, they aren't doing the exciting save the world, end the apocalypse things or maybe The Scooby Gang still has my heart.

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Until next time, happy reading :)


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Book Reviews | Reading Roundup

I am thoroughly behind on my reviewing  - pretty much on all the platforms I post reviews.  As always life gets in the way, so I thought I would share some quick reviews of some of the books I've read over the last couple months.

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of the books that we we're looking into for book club, and I have to say I enjoyed it much more than Ape House by Sara Gruen, (another we had purchased last year). For me there was plenty to discuss, not just about the book and it's characters but also the ethics surrounding animal testing etc. I struggled at times with descriptions and this is another book that has made me think more about how we treat animals, each other and our world in general.

I enjoyed the unconventional narration of the story, one thing I would've like to have see was more than one narrator - possibly from Lowell's perspective. Because it is all from Rosemary's perspective I feel like there were times when it would've benefited from someone else viewpoint. I think Rosemary starting in the middle was essential. I agree, knowing certain elements before that would've changed my feelings about the story. Overall, on the surface this was an easy, fast paced read. But ultimately one which made me think about a subject matter that is not entirely comfortable to discuss.

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were parts of this I thoroughly enjoyed, it's interesting to read about the creative process. There were many times when I had 'Yes!' moments, but I didn't agree with everything Gilbert said - for the most part about education, or higher learning to be specific and her creative experiences was/is quite spiritual, (it's her experience so she can interpret it that way), but I don't really agree with it, or at least to that degree.

I thought this was narrated well, (by the author) and it's something I would happily listen to again, it was a quick, captivating read. I'd recommend this, not just to 'creative' people, it's a self help book, without being preachy which is a plus.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
 This is an uncomfortable read, but compelling read, made all the scarier because it is real. The idea of being locked in a a tiny room for seven years is abhorrent and to know that there are people in the world like this is generally not something I like to think about.

Donoghue's decision to have 5 year old Jack be our narrator is an interesting one, (at least to me). I haven't read any interviews with the author so I don't know why she chose to do so. Possibly to make reading and writing it a little easier, (Is that even possible?) But to have Ma experiencing things in the background while Jack is counting his teeth, or how many 'squeaks' in one way makes it easier to read - I say this lightly, as an adult - I know that Ma is going through something truly horrific, but by not focusing on it makes it less real. Does that make sense? Hopefully.

Despite the hard subject matter I found it easy to listen to. Our protagonist is 5, so of course the audio narration reflects this. I though the audio was well done. 

Three books I recently read, have you read any of these?  What did you think?  

Until next time, happy reading :)


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