Monday, May 9, 2011

31: The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence, by Heather Gudenkauf, is every parent’s worst nightmare. Calli, rent mute by a traumatic event, goes missing in the middle of the night with her best friend, and her voice in the world, Petra. Calli leaves at the arm of her angry, drunk father, and Petra leaves because, the reader assumes, she is following Calli. However, this is not all true.

The storyline weaves through past and present and through flashbacks, and everyone has a voice in the book. I thought the different voices were interesting, and how each character was handling the tragedy, but the whole book just didn’t work for me.

I think this is too close to a nightmare of mine to really read the book and enjoy it. All I wanted to know was make sure that Calli and Petra were okay. I felt like there were parts of the story that should have been expounded on, and that parts were missing entirely (like the whole, “how did Petra get out of the house?”) thing.

I give this one a 6/10. I just did not love it, but again, maybe because it’s such a fear of mine.

30: My Fair Lazy

My Fair Lazy, One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover if Not Being A Dumb Ass is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto, by Jen Lancaster, is about her desire to make herself a better person through wine tastings, operas and other “cultural” activities.

Full Disclosure: I like Jen Lancaster. I think she’s funny, I read her blog and I follow her on twitter. I loved her first book and have laughed at each of her subsequent ones. However, I feel like her books are forgettable. I like them, but they don’t stay with me. And I’m okay with that. They entertain me, make me laugh and then? I put them away and dive into something else.

Anyway, I liked this one. It was cute, and made me think about things that I make fun of, mainly because I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. Heh. Maybe I should try once in a while!

In the spirit of Jen, I ordered a wine tasting date night for Jeff and I… I’ll keep you all posted as we try wine that costs more than $4.99 a bottle

I give this one a 7/10. Not her best, but enjoyable nonetheless.

29: Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers, retells the Biblical story of Hosea, a story I was totally unaware of.

Angel is a child prostitute, sold into slavery by her unknowing uncle to Duke, an awful, terrible man. She’s a young lady when we meet her, but her heart is hardened and she only views love in a very cynical way. Until Michael Hosea walks in and marries her – soiled dove and all – and makes her his wife. The new couple go through heartache, through troubles and through the normal, and not normal, new marriage bumps while Angel learns to love again and learns the power of God’s love.

I really did not realize this was a Biblical story. I liked it, I thought it was interesting, but I felt that it drug on and on after a while. However, I liked reading the Biblical story of Hosea in a way that I could relate to and understand. Maybe I’ll pick up some of her other books!

I give this book a 7/10. A little lengthy, but a great retelling of what is apparently a timeless story.

28: Stay With Me

Stay With Me, by Sandra Rodriquez Barron, tells the story of five children found abandoned in a boat in Puerto Rico after a hurricane. They are dressed well, and all have a starfish drawn on their hands. The story jumps forward thirty years to when the children are adults – and have decided that they are siblings. The five adults gather at the home of one of the sibling’s girlfriends off the coast of Maine, after discovering that David, the eldest, has brain cancer.

The five reconnect and have formed a family of sorts. Through a series of unfortunate and fortunate events, they discover the mystery behind their shared history and travel to Puerto Rico, to the Dominican Republic and back, all with their green starfish on their hands (now a permanent tattoo).

I didn’t expect to like this book this much. I expected it to be poorly written and it was not. I didn’t expect to cry so much and to finish and just sigh contentedly. I really enjoyed this book. I really felt for all the characters, and it brings the whole, “your family can be people you choose as much as those you are related to” into play. 

I give this book a solid 8/10. A wonderful story overall.

27: Pictures of You

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt plays the “what-if” game. What if you got in a car wreck and accidentally killed someone? What if you were leaving your husband? What if your child knew and saw all of this?

The story weaves through the aftermath of such a disaster, where the mother of a young child dies, but he sees it all, and then the woman who hit the car (accidentally) starts a relationship with the boy’s father and weaves her way into their life.

I don’t think this book had a climax. I have really liked Caroline Leavitt’s other books, but this one was lacking. I found the main characters annoying and while this event was certainly traumatic, I don’t think it would define and change your life forever. Maybe I’m wrong – I hope I never have to find out – but I don’t think it would. I had a really hard time finishing this book and believe I ended it with, “OHMYGOD JUST MOVE ON ALREADY” mentality and found that the ending was thrown together without much thought.

I give this one a 6/10. I expected more, and was disappointed.