Monday, February 20, 2012

More Book Reviews

So I have been a little slack on these book review posts as I intended to write them more often, but you know... things get in the way. And when you don't sleep well for weeks it makes your brain mush and unconducive to writing. However, I think I am finally back on track (knock on wood).

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

When I grabbed this book off the clearance shelf I thought the title sounded familiar, but once I read the description I realized this was nothing I had heard of before. I was intrigued. Very intrigued. When I started reading I realized that what I had expected was way off. I thought I was going to be reading a book set in the 17 or 1800's. I mean between the description, the picture on the front of the book, and my set internal expectations I couldn't imagine these events occuring in modern times.

After talking with others about this book it appears that I may be one of the few who hadn't already known of this book so for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story it revolves around Offred who is a Handmaid. A Handmaid's purpose is to get pregnant by a Commander for his family since there has been an overall decline in births. Offred once had a family of her own, but it is now her duty to be a Handmaid. Times are different than they once were and everyone has a role to play to help the greater good which could mean that you were taken away from your family. It's messed up, but in a very thought provoking way. Read it. It's very much worth it. Oh, and there's a movie based on it as well.  Grade: A

On Agate Hill by Lee Smith

If you read my last book review you would have noticed that I recently read another Lee Smith book. However, On Agate Hill is completely different than The Last GirlsOn Agate Hill is set in the late 1800's after the Civil War. It revolves around ophaned Molly Petree and her journey through life in the southern United States.

The story is told mostly through journal entrees and letters from a variety of characters while always keeping Molly at the center of the story. Well written, enjoyable story. Sometimes I felt the author played it a little safe as I didn't feel as uncomfortable as I thought I might and yet this was sort of refreshing. Does that make sense?  Also she introduces Molly via a modern day character who grated on my nerves a bit, but she's barely in the story so I was willing to overlook it. Grade: A-

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

This book was lent to me reluntantly as the lender thought it might be hard for a mommy to read, but the content appealed to me so I took the risk. The book follows two stories set in France: one in current times and the other in 1942.

In 1942 the story follows a young girl named Sarah who was rounded up with other Jewish families by the French police. She locks her brother in a cupboard for protection, and promises to return for him. Sixty years later Sarah's story intertwines with Julia, a journalist investigating the event from 1942. An incredibly sad and moving story, and a reminder of the atrocious events that have occured in the past. Besides being well written this book will inform you of an event that most probably have little (if any) knowledge about. A movie was also made for this book. Grade: A

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