Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Everything I Never Told You Bares All: A Book Review

I gave Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng four stars because it was really good. In fact, it was so good, it hurt. I don't know if I could read it again, though. I felt a lonely ache each time I read it, but I would encourage anyone to read this at least once. I didn't want to give it four stars. I wanted to give it less, because while I would devour the book in lengthy segments of time, it hurt to read it, so it took longer than usual to read. This is a testament to Ng's talent.

I loved the omniscient narrator who gave readers insight into each of the characters innermost thoughts without influencing in anyway. It hurt to read because all the characters were so silently raw and unwilling to speak when needed. There were several times that I wanted to shake any one of the characters, "Say something! Say what you mean!", but I had to remind myself they were not real. Ng made them real. She made the hurt real and while reading, I became almost like the youngest character, Hannah, joining the narrator in "watching" the family.

I would recommend the book for several reasons. For writers, this is a wonderful book for reading an exceptional omniscient narrator as well as how to build flesh and blood characters who will annoy, love, anger, feel sympathy for. As just a reader, it gives a wonderful sense of otherness. If anyone has never felt different or like an other, the novel does an amazing job of showing how a family of others still feel so alone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review of Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories by Wendy Kaufman

This is an odd book. At first there doesn't seem to be any link between the short stories, but then a common thread starts to show in seams of the pages. The narrators are all women who want to be brave even in the most seedy of situations. They all want to "fake it till the make it". While some of the stories are stronger than others they all have small slaps of reality that linger with you after you've put the book down. Definitely worth a read.

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