WELL. It’s that time again…yes, you know what I mean. Time for me to have a little rant with #minireviews (with their bite sized deliciousness) of various books I haven’t loved lately. I always feel rather grumpy when I dislike a book because I want to like all the books!
But I don’t. So here we go.
THE ALEX CROW by Andrew Smith
Thank you Hardie Grant Egmont AU! Published May, 2015.
Either I’m incredibly stupid, or this book is. And I’m pretty sure I’m awesome, sooo I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this book was weeeeird. I spent the entire time thinking, “WHAT AM I MISSING? WHAT IS THIS?” It felt like the most random combination of words in the English language, stuffed into a book, and sprinkled with sci-fi. But seriously, I have no idea what the actual heck this book is.
I originally wanted to read it because I thought it was about the Middle East. WRONG. Well, the main character, Ariel, is from the middle East and survived a massacre. But he’s been adopted into a family in America and (along with his adopted brother) goes to this really weird “camp” to get away from technology. They basically hike and chop wood and hate everything. And their hormonal little pitiful brains reside in the gutter and make me despair of humanity’s intelligence.
I don’t even know how to explain the weirdness of the writing. Some chapters were from the 1800s (?!) and some chapters were just a convoluted mess of the alphabet that had nothing to do with Ariel + boys + summer camp. My brain REJECTED. There were chapters from a “melting man” running around talking to polar bears while driving a U-Haul. And there was something about a crow. A talking crow? Is the crow an experiment? BECAUSE, HECK, LET’S ADD IN SOME SCI-FI ELEMENTS TOO.
Like this. And I have no idea what this means:
Here is Joseph Stalin telling the melting man what he had to do. Joseph Stalin’s voice came from the air vents on the dashboard of the melting man’s recycled U-Haul moving vane. Joseph Stalin also spoke to the melting man through the radio.
If you have a black and white brain, probably don’t read this. Maybe it’s just me, but this book made NO SENSE. My brain shut down after 30-pages and I swam through purple pineapple soup to finish.
LULLABY by Bernard Beckett
Thank you, Text Publishing AU! Published May, 2015.
I don’t…I can’t…
WHAT DID I EVEN JUST READ?!! This definitely goes down as one of the oddest books ever. I confess, the heinous cover completely turns me off. The book itself isn’t so bad, but the cover makes it look like a baby shampoo commercial, possibly from the 80s. Is it worth reading despite the horrendous cover? Yup. It is. It’s weird, but I have to admit I couldn’t put it down.
So the book opens up with Rene in hospital making some big unknown “decision” regarding his brain-dead identical twin brother. You don’t get to know what the accident was or what the decision is — you just know that Rene is only 18 and making a life-or-death-or-change choice for his brother. It’s very mysterious and entirely intriguing. Although the tension wasn’t exceptionally handled. It’s basically entirely TOLD instead of shown. About 90% of the book is Rene and a therapist talking. Which is…different? Unique? Yeah but…WHERE ARE THE ACTUAL SCENES WERE CHARACTERS DO THINGS?!! Call me a dilapidated pineapple frond (actually don’t, I might get offended) but I reeeeally like scenes were characters DO stuff. Not just reflect on it.
OTHER STUFF THAT DIDN’T SIT WELL WITH ME:
- It gets pretty psychological which goes — wheesht — over my head.
- The operation feels…unrealistic. Like it goes from being a contemporary and then the last 20 pages — BOOM IT’S SCI FI NOW.
- I don’t even think it said what Theo’s even accident was.
- The therapist was like the WORST therapist ever.
- I didn’t really feel sorry for Rene or Theo, which is a problem. (But I’m also a coldhearted Vulcan, so there’s that.)
But seriously, I couldn’t turn pages fast enough toward the end. I had this buuuuurning desire to KNOW THE ANSWERS. and then the last 10-pages are quite shocking and really well done. It’s a wildly open ending. I think this book is designed to make you think about what makes us ourselves and all sorts of other deep and philosophical questions.
Basically, it’s a psychological cacophony of questions and intrigue. While it dabbles in the sci-fi spectrum, it’s still pretty much a brotherly-relationship contemporary. It didn’t rock my world, but then capsicum doesn’t change my life and I still eat it. That totally makes sense. Don’t question it.
Oh, and a little perspective on this one? My friend Emily loved it. It’s one of those books you really need to read to properly understand the weirdness.