Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Mary Pearson

Henry Holt & Co

272 pages

Jenna Fox is a teenage girl who has woken up after being in a coma for over a year.  She cannot even begin to wrap her head around what has happened.  All she knows is she is now in California with her mother and grandmother and she has no recollection of the past year, or her entire life for that matter.

I started this book not realizing there was a dystopian slant to it, but things were odd straight off the bat.  Jenna’s grandmother Lilly is acting completely bizarre, for one.  It’s almost as if she dislikes Jenna, and it was impossible to pinpoint why she was acting that way towards Jenna.  Then there’s the fact that there are locked doors . . . what are the adults in the family trying to hide?  Not to mention, why are they in California now and why is Jenna’s mother so against her going to school.

As you can see, there were clues straight from the get go that made it obvious to me that this book was much more than I expected it to be.  The second half of the book became extremely interesting as Jenna’s circumstances were unveiled, and the ethical aspect of that became one of the main themes of the book.  It was also very thought provoking for me and I was never able to completely decide my stance on the issue, even now that I have had a week to ruminate over it.

I found the ending to be . . . interesting.  I am not sure whether I can appreciate the epilogue.  I found it to be kind of unnecessary and I felt like it was just kind of tacked on there, but at the same time, I felt a weird sense of solace knowing how everything turned out. Obviously I am a bit conflicted, and I think it is due to the execution of the epilogue.  It just seemed to be poorly done, and I think Pearson could have added a lot to the story had the epilogue been more deftly written.

Overall, dystopian fiction has become a bit tedious for me recently so I was glad that this book was able to capture my interest.

Other Reviews:

Rhapsody in Books

Hey Lady, Watcha Readin’?

S Krishna’s Book Reviews

Maw Books Blog

Galleysmith

The Zen Leaf

Eclectic/Eccentric

Devourer of Books

I borrowed this book from my local library.

This book counts towards the YA-D2 challenge.

Book Review: The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist

Brady Udall

W W Norton & Co

602 pages

Golden Richards is a gruff, middle aged man.  Upon meeting him, you would expect that he is a pretty typical guy, so most people don’t guess that he is a polygamist with four wives and countless children.  He is married to Beverly, Nola, Rose of Sharon and Tricia and they have so many children that I literally couldn’t keep track of them.

Although Golden has a huge family, luckily Udall chooses to focus on only three family members as the main characters of the book.

Golden: It was difficult for me to decide how I felt about Golden.  His family was falling apart at the seams, yet Golden refused to take responsibility and instead fled by working a job site in Nevada.  He is gone almost constantly and instead of going back home and seeking solace from his wives and children, especially Tricia, who is yearning for love and affection, Golden begins to develop feelings for his bosses wife Huila.

Tricia: Tricia is wife number 4.  She has been married to Golden for a couple of years and bore one child with him, a son that was stillborn.  Tricia has been yearning for a connection with her husband but he refuses to let her in and a chasm forms between them.  Tricia feels lost in the family and eventually forges a friendship with a young local man.  Eventually she must decide whether she wants to stay with Golden and the family or escape to a different life.

Rusty: Rusty is the prepubescent son of Golden and Rose of Sharon.  He doesn’t really have a place in the family.  He is the black sheep and doesn’t have a bond with any of his brothers or sisters, who often tease him.  He attempts to reach out to his mother, but she is battling her own demons and is unable to offer Rusty what he is seeking.  In order to gain attention from his family members, Rusty acts out in ways that get more and more destructive as the book goes on.

One interesting side note: I imagined Rusty as the chubby kid with curly red hair from The Sandlot.

I am a bit obsessed with the polygamist lifestyle right now, due solely to TLC’s show Sister Wives.  For those of you who have not seen the show, it is a reality TV program following polygamist Kody Brown and his four wives and numerous kids.  Sound familiar?  I couldn’t help but imagine Golden and his four wives as Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christina and Robin from Sister Wives!

Sister Wives aside, The Lonely Polygamist was a very different type of book that held my attention *for the most part*.  My biggest caveat was the length of the book.  I don’t have a problem with reading a 600 page book, but this one lost it in the middle.  There were a good one or two hundred pages that started to lag and made the book really monotonous.  By the time the ending came around, I was getting really bored.  I was lucky in that the ending came around just in time and really saved the book for me.

Speaking of the ending, I thought it was phenomenal.  I don’t want to give anything away, obviously, but being that we read this book for my book club (we have yet to discuss it, so I can’t speak to how my fellow book club members feel about the book), I loved how much food for thought the ending brought on.  I think it will lead to a great discussion.  In fact, one of my coworkers is in my book club and when she finished the book last week, we couldn’t wait and had to discuss the book straight away.

This is the type of book that you need to go into expecting to devote quite a bit of time and attention to.  It’s definitely an interesting look into a different type of family dynamic.

Other Reviews:

Both Eyes Book Blog

My mom purchased this book for me–wasn’t that nice of her?!

Book club pick for October/November 2010.

The Sunday Salon 11/07/2010

So . . . this week has been abysmally slow, blogging wise.  You may have noticed I haven’t been around all that much.  Was I busy reading? Unfortunately, no.  My reading has been just as slow as my blogging.  I started my new job this week, but I only worked one night, so I can’t really use that as an excuse!  I just had a lot going on though, and in my down time I felt way too tired to even open my Google Reader.  I did play some catch up yesterday though, finally!

This week, I have been reading Burning Bright, by Tracy Chevalier.  I love Chevalier and the book is a fictionalized account of two children that live next door to William Blake, one of my favorite poets.  Unfortunately, I am not finding this book as charismatic as Chevalier’s others–it’s just not holding my attention as well as I would have hoped.  Unfortunately, little reading will be done today, as I will be out of town for a work related event.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday!

Book Review: Great Expectations

Great Expectations: Twenty Four True Stories About Childbirth

Edited by Dede Crane and Lisa Moore

House of Anansi Press

400 pages

Great Expectations is, just as the title implies, twenty four true stories about childbirth.  The majority of the stories were told from the point of view from the actual woman giving birth.  Every single woman opened up and each story was no holds barred–the way that each woman was willing to completely open up and write a story that was so intrinsic to their own being and their own families was so powerful.  Along with it, there were a handful of fathers that shared their stories as well.  I appreciated the male perspective being highlighted as well, and I thought the father’s each had a very touching story to tell, despite the fact that they did not physically endure childbirth.

I picked up this book after reading this review by The Captive Reader. My thinking was that my husband and I will likely have children fairly soon, so why not pick up this book? It did end being fairly educational for me.  I am glad I chose to read it now, as opposed to when I am actually pregnant.  Reading this book in your third trimester may be a mistake, as many of the stories are very descriptive when it comes to the amount of pain each woman endured while giving birth.  I definitely feel like it could be a bit overwhelming for someone trying to decipher their own birth plan.

This book has a very specific scope obviously, so I am not sure how many people this book would actually appeal to.  I think it is a great eye opener for women in my position that plan on having children in the near future.

Other Reviews:

The Captive Reader

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review: Wintergirls

Wintergirls

Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak

288 pages

Lia is in trouble.  She has serious body issues that are dragging her down fast.  She has been institutionalized for anorexia but her demons won’t let go, and every time she looks in the mirror, she sees the same thing–a fat girl.

Her family is doing everything they can to help her, but Lia cannot overcome her disease.  The tragedy grows even more as Lia’s former friend Cassie is found dead in a seedy motel room.  Cassie was bulimic, and she and Lia were like partners in crime, always egging each other on when it came to their eating disorders.

Cassie’s death is a wake up call to Lia and, more importantly, to Lia’s family.  They are overwhelmed with grief at the state Lia is in and the fact that no matter what they do, they cannot get through to Lia.  Lia has isolated herself from everyone she was once close to, and with Cassie’s death she is plagued by an even deeper void.

Anderson has been kind of hit and miss for me thus far.  I loved Fever 1793 abd thought it was an exemplary work of YA historical fiction.  Then I read Speak.  I didn’t dislike it–I think that my issue was just that I wasn’t wowed.  I expected so much after reading all types of glowing reviews for it and then it was just a “meh” read.  I think that it tackled a very important issue and I really respect how powerful it is, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I had a hard time connecting with the book personally.

All that aside, this isn’t a review of Speak.  When it comes to Wintergirls, I felt like the writing style was eerily similar to that of Speak.  This time, I had no issued with connectivity. Lia felt so real to me and was able to sympathize with her situation.  It has been eight years since I graduated high school, but I feel like Anderson really captures the emotion and upheaval that most teenage girls constantly face. I think that is ultimately what makes an extraordinary YA author–someone who, as an adult, is still able to channel the thoughts and reactions of a teenager.

Wintergirls is a great example of meaningful YA fiction.  Whether you are already a fan of Anderson or you have yet to read any of her books, I urge you to pick it up.

Other Reviews:

Book Nut

Hey Lady! Watcha Readin?

Presenting Lenore

Beth Fish Reads

Maw Books Blog

Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Devourer of Books

I borrowed this book from my local library.