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The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Posted by BookGirl on March 5, 2014 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Random off topic bit of the day:    I am craving something sweet.  I want a Kit Kat.  Covered in cookies and cream chocolate.   This isn't a new theme for me, but rather something I've been dreaming about for quite some time.  Someday I will do it!  I'm not good at crafty things though, so that'll be awhile.  On the crafty note, I'm way behind the duct tape craze, but it's finally starting to catch on for me!   I figured out (ALL by MYSELF, thank you very much)  how to do various duct tape crafts.   I feel so smart and crafty! 

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery

Valancy lives in a life of boredom.  Day in and day out, she's in the same ugly room that she's not allowed to decorate.  She has to live with her mother and her aunt, who control her every move.  Her only consolation is the books of John Foster and her daydreams of a blue castle, where someone loves her and she's allowed to make her own choices.   She's 29 and has never had a friend, or a romance.   Her family clan controls her- and makes her miserable.  One day, she goes to a heart specialist to find a shocking diagnosis-she has only a year to live before her heart fails. 

She keeps the diagnosis a secret from her family, who would turn it into a soap opera, and finally begins living how she wants to live, not as her commanding family tells her to.   She moves out, and begins working as a nurse to a socially shunned but still decent father and daughter.   Valancy discovers a world she never knew existed- a world of love, humor and adventure.

This book is written by L. M. Montgomery, the woman who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series and the Emily of New Moon series.   I believe this is her first and only adult novel- adult in the sense that it is strictly for adults.   At this time in her life, L. M. Montgomery was in mental pain,  (Google it- all I've been able to dig up is that she was hurting,) and that pain bleeds through to Valancy's pain- giving the reader raw emotion.    I counted two d-mns, which are rare in her work.  Valancy's rebellling against her family's rules at times seem a bit excessive- until you realise that a low necked dress means a dress that isn't a turtleneck, and driving around in a car at 10 isn't bad. 

All in all, this was a pretty good book.  It still has the dreamlike spirit of Anne of Green Gables- but this book gives a frank picture of human suffering, something only to be found in the strictly adult novels of L. M. Montgomery.   It will leave the reader cheering for Valancy as she throws off her family's extremely excessive rules- and adapts sensible rules.   Mark out the d-mns in your book, and this book will be a favorite on your bookshelf for years- just as the other classics of L. M. Montgomery.

Ranger's Apprentice

Posted by BookGirl on January 21, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

    Random off topic bit of the day:  I played volleyball today and my arms are SO SORE.   Who came up with that game, anyway?   "Hmm, let's launch a ball 50 feet in the air and make people hit it with their arms."   It's fun though.    I'm terrible at it, and my arms HURT!!   Fortunatly, I'm getting better.

The Ranger's Apprentice Book 1-The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Will lives in a castle.  He was an orphan, left at the doorstep by a Unnamed Person, (who you learn about in the story but it's not a major part of it.)  and brought up in the castle.  There's a tradition for the orphans of the castle:   On a certain year, the craftmasters line up in the courtyard and choose the orphans to work under them.   Will wants to be chosen for Battleschool, but his wiry, short frame makes him unlikely to be chosen.  His frenemy, Horace, will almost certainly be chosen.  The orphans line up.  Will is going to have his career decided.  No one chooses him.   Not a single one.  Until a Ranger, Holt, steps up, making Will his new apprentice.   Will doesn't welcome this at first-the Rangers are a secretive lot, and sinister rumors spread about them.   The Rangers turn out to be simply a group of protectors who are better at concealing themselves than a group of invisible ninjas-and they are awesome!.   Meanwhile, Horace is having more than a little trouble at Battleschool with a group of bullies.  After that problem is finished, Will must face the Kutara at the Ruins of Gorlan.

I really enjoyed this book.   I liked how the story switched back and forth from Horace and Will.   The only problem I had with this book is the cursing.   There is one or two. h-words and 2 or 3 d---mns.   The profanity didn't even flow with the book.   It feels like the author always wanted to get into the Authors Who Have Books With Profanity In Them convention, but never could, so he added the cussing.   Another thing is that (spoiler alert!)  when Horace finally defends himself against the bullies, an adult encourages him to beat them up, and he beats them up until he feels that he is justified.   They needed the punishment, but revenge isn't the answer.

Profanity aside, this was a very enjoyable book.  I will definitly be reading the second one.  Actually, I know I will read the second one, as it is lying right beside me.   If you'll excuse me........

Huckleberry Finn

Posted by BookGirl on January 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Random off topic bit of the day:   Today is MLK Jr.'s birthday!    YAY!!!  If he wasn't assasinated, he would be 85 today.  I went and marched in a parade in his honor with some friends.    I held some signs drawing parallels with human abortion (Roe v. Wade) and slavery. (Dred Scott)    It was pretty fun.    Once, the people in front of us threw some candy.   Bad idea.  The crowd ROARED and around 75 kids, if not more, rushed forward  (around 10 feet) to wrestle for the candy.  Then the police started yelling because the people in front were just supposed to pass out candy, not throw it.   It was kind of a funny situation to watch.  Ok, on to the review:

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

     This book is a classic.  Everyone says so.  It's the epitome of human literature, the cream of the crop.   Have those people actually read the book?     

Huck Finn's father was a drunk.   After "the widow" took him away from his father and let him live with her, his dad kidnapped him back.   Huck didn't like this, so he set off down the river, leaving clues that made him look like he was dead.   He met up with a runaway slave named Jim, and they have all kinds of adventures together, including meeting up with a "king"  and a "duke,"   and, when Tom Sawyer comes, rescuing Jim.

There is a HUMONGOUS amount of bad material in this book.    Every single time that a slave or black person is referred to (and they are quite a lot), they are called a N-word.  Religious people are all hipocrites and haters.   The contempt the writer has for Christianity and black people is blatantly obvious.  The "king", who is really a con artist, does a show where he performs naked.  Cursing, alcohol, and killing are praised as good.   All throughout the book, Huck has a dilemma.   He thinks that, since Jim is a runaway slave, if he doesn't return him to his owner, Huck will go to hell.   This effectually communicates to the reader that God is pro-slavery.   Huck eventually decides to side with Jim, and not be saved.  Slavery goes completely against the Christian faith.   Black people are protrayed as stupid, weak-minded, and gullible.     Mark Twain has utter contempt for Christianity, black people, and women.  He is willing to bend reality to make his biases come true in the book.

Huckleberry Finn is absolutely not the book everyone thinks it is.  I thought it was great, until I recently reread it, and so published this review.    On MLK Jr. day, we should look back at this book and be glad that we are free of such blatant stereotypes and obvious hatred of the black people.