Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

If you're looking for a feel-good book, this is NOT the book to read.

After reading it, hubby asked how it was and the only word I can come up with was "DISTURBING".

I didn't know what to expect from the book except that it has a weird format, sort of a diary type, and that it was about coming of age. I had trouble adjusting to the format at first cause I felt there was no continuity, like bits and pieces of information being put together. Eventually, I got the hang of it.

If you've read The Catcher in the Rye, you can sense its influence. I'm not really sure if it was really inspired by it but the book was mentioned a number of times in the story. It somehow has the same tone - monotonic yet dark. It was about the confusion of teenagers; although, not as extreme as The Catcher in the Rye. I sincerely hope this is not what most of the adoloscents are going through now.

Fortunately, the book ends with a resolution. I was thankful for that, otherwise, I think it would have left me more than disturbed after.

Teenage years are often one of the most turbulent times. It's a time when we felt dazed and confused - rebellion, trying and experimenting with things, among others. It's essential for parents to be able to guide their children at this stage and be able to communicate with them.

The book was also a glimpse of how a loner thinks. That's why he was called a wallflower because he didn't truly participate in the events in his life. He was just a bystander.

The one thing that I can relate to in the book, though was how it is to be shy and quiet... Nah, just kidding LOL! I can relate to how the main character always observe things and go overboard with the analysis after. It felt like I was reading about myself then. That made me feel normal.

I'm rating this book 4.5 out of 5. If you can handle this, do read this book.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Finally, I finished reading the series. I attempted to read the series two years ago but I wasn't able to read it through and through. All thanks to maternity leaves and breastfeeding, I have ample time to read books.

The series was meant for children. It's easy to read and the story is light. Unlike with Harry Potter (sorry for comparing),  the tone of the story didn't mature every after book. The theme usually starts with a quest then fighting monsters along the way, on to fulfilling the prophecies for each quest.

The characters were easy to remember, maybe because Greek mythology is familiar to us. I haven't checked, though, if it followed the actual myths.

In fairness, the last book "The Last Olympian" was just based on the battle between Kronos' army and the demigods. It was full of action and drama but still retained its light tone. The deaths and losses were masked or weren't given emphasis. I guess, the author had it in mind the audience the book was intended for.

This series is fit for first-time novel readers. Story-wise, I'm giving it a 3 out of 5. Sorry but I have Harry Potter in comparison to this book.

P.S. Thanks, Sir Ronald, for loaning me your Percy Jackson series.

The Girl Who Kicked Ass

A book review of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, better known as the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

The book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was recommended by a couple friend, D and Kobe. It came up while we were discussing about migration. My curiosity was piqued when Kobe said despite Sweden being one of the most, if not the most livable country, in the world, they still have some social issues like trafficking and migration problems.

The first book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was about a powerful family in Sweden but had a dark past. It was full of suspense and had lots of twists that I found it hard to put the book down. I love the way how Larsson unraveled each secret and introduced another complication to the story. I thought the ending was predictable but turned out to be a surprise, after all.

The other installments, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest were only related to the first book through its characters but has a different storyline of its own. These were about how Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist came across trafficking and underground prostitution being run in Sweden and how Lisbeth Salander, his former research assistant was involved.

Disclaimer: I haven't really read any suspense thrillers so I have no point of comparison.

Women's rights has always been a topic close to my heart. I guess this what makes the trilogy appealing to me. Be warned, that when reading these, the scenes are graphic and violent. It stirs a lot of emotions of torture and suffering.

As for the characters of the book, I found Lisbeth to be too much of  a superwoman. She somehow bordered on being a superhero, despite her built. I dubbed her "the girl who kicked ass" because that was what she did the whole time. On the other hand, Blomkvist's character was too much of a womanizer which was a suprise since the theme was prostitution. But I guess, I'm a conservative and traditionalist when it comes to relationships and had a hard time accepting these views.

All in all, the trilogy was a good read. I'd give it a 4 out of 5.