Sunday, October 23, 2016

And Three More

As promised, here are the other three books that I have recently read:

1) The Innocent Sleep by Karen Perry.  This is a debut novel and I will be anxious to read more by
Ms. Perry!  We read this for book group and it was a good read! Well-developed characters and good story!

The story was about Harry and Robin who lived in Tangiers.  They had a son, Dillon.  One night, Robin was gone and Harry left young sleeping Dillon alone in their place while he ran an errand.  While Harry was gone, an earthquake happened and Dillon's body was never found.  Five years later, Harry and Robin had relocated to Ireland and one day, Harry thought that he saw Dillon.  This is the premise of the book...was Dillon alive?  And as they sorted through Harry's assertion that he saw Dillon, many secrets were revealed.

Good mystery story! I passed it on to another reader with my recommendation!  I hope they like it as well as both I did and my book group did!

2) At Risk by Alice Hoffman.  this was another read for book group.  I had read this book years ago, when it first came out, so it was a pleasure to re-read it. I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman's works.

At Risk tells the story of eleven year old Amanda Farrell who was diagnosed with AIDS, contracted when she was younger from a blood transfusion.  The news of her diagnosis was, of course, devastating for her parents, and the story is much about their struggle to come to some kind of sense of it all.  What was so fascinating and brilliant about this book was how Hoffman made each character's life at risk in some way.  Amanda's parents turn to other people and her eight year old brother Charlie was left to deal with his best friend and schoolmates ostrasizing him.  Hoffman also dealt with the hysterics of the community upon learning of Amanda's diagnosis. (It is interesting to remember that this book was written in 1989, before Hippa, etc).

What is so remarkable (and sad) about the book, is that it is still so relevant, even some thirty years later.

3) Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.  Interestingly, I have bypassed this book for the last couple of years.  I don't know why, nor do I know why I decided to read it now, but I am glad that I did.  I
thought the book had some issues (or perhaps it was just me). I had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight.  It was enough work just keeping Boy, Snow and Bird straight!  And why didn't Boy like Snow?

The book began with Boy Novak, a young girl being raised by her single father in New York.  Her father was a rat-catcher and was quite abusive to her. Boy had finally had enough and boarded a bus, where she landed in Flax Hill, Massachusetts.  She met, then married Artura Whitman, who was a widower and had a daughter named Snow.  When Boy became pregnant and gave birth to Bird, she realized that Artura was a black man passing as white.

The back of the book states that the author  "brilliantly recasts the 'Snow White' fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity."  Yes, I guess I can see that.  It's an interesting way to think about the story.

There is an interesting twist at the end of the book that I found confusing, not really understanding how it played into the story. This might make a good read for book group!  Perhaps someone else could figure that out!

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