Monday, April 25, 2011

The Summer Without MenThe Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very much enjoyed reading this book. The author Siri Hustvedt has a remarkably gift for storytelling and for writing. Her characters really come alive.

"The Summer Without Men" is the story about what Mia Fredrickson goes through when her husband of thirty years decides, seemingly out of the blue, that he wants to "pause" their marriage. The story follows Mia through a mental breakdown that temporarily lands her in a mental hospital, after which she returns to her childhood home in Minnesota for the summer. There she regularly visits with her mother, and is hired to teach poetry to a group of prepubescent girls. In the midst of struggling with her own issues, Mia begins communication with an unknown person calling himself Mr. Nobody. She becomes immersed in the drama of her students, as well as in life inside the "home" where her mother and the group of ladies dubbed "the swans" reside. She befriends Abigail, an old woman who introduces her to the secret amusements (scenes embroidered and hidden within other things). Mia also finds herself friends with her young neighbor and her two children.

Overall, "The Summer Without Men" seems to tackle many issues in a comical manner which include but are not limited to: marital issues, growing older, childhood issues (such as bullying and imaginary friends), and the pain of loss.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Remember MeRemember Me by Christopher Pike

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As three books in one (including REMEMBER ME, THE RETURN, and THE LAST STORY) I almost feel as if this one deserves three different reviews.

I very much enjoyed REMEMBER ME. I have never read anything quite like it it before. Although it was written for teenagers and young adults, I feel that is expresses some very adult concepts and life views. It definitely made me think.

The second story, THE RETURN, was also good. However, although it also included an interesting concept it wasn't as well written as the first one. It seemed to have a much slower pace.

The final story, THE LAST STORY, was a terrific end to the trilogy. I found it to be better written than the THE RETURN yet still not as good as REMEMBER ME. Although this one's pace was also a bit slow it made up for it with the ending.

Overall, I say that Christopher Pike is a very talented author and I look forward to reading some more of his work.