Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scarlett reviews the Cider House Rules

The Cider House RulesThe Cider House Rules by John Irving
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Cider House Rules by John Irving provides insight into the painful, politically charged, topic of abortion. Homer, an abandoned orphan, is the champion of life and finds the idea of abortion repugnant. Wilbur, the surgeon Homer considers father and mentor, feels passionately that a woman must have the right to choose. Each man sways us.

The emotional devastation wrought by the abandonment of unwanted children is sensitively told. We imagine the orphans waiting for adoptive parents, listening for the sound of cars in the lane…hoping, crying when other children are adopted. We feel Wilbur’s pain as he remembers patients dying in anguish from sepsis after tortuous attempted abortions from unskilled charlatans.

Irving crafts a human story, beautifully told, of ordinary people confronted by difficult decisions. He presents the perspectives of women caught in situations beyond their control, making it difficult for the reader to remain neutral on the subject. We are drawn in, slipping on the razor’s edge of the moral question of abortion as Candy, Grace, Lorna and Rose Rose tell their tales. We consider our view on abortion as we examine their predicaments. Is abortion, regardless of any circumstance, murder? Is it cruel to create unwanted orphans that are likely to be neglected and abused rather than to abort a fetus? Should a woman have sovereignty over her body? Irving seems to be asking us to consider these questions, and more.

When faced with unwanted pregnancy, a woman chooses her rules according to her moral or religious code. The reader may not condone abortion but, after reading this book, must acknowledge that the decision to abort is not always an act of irresponsibly selfish women choosing a frivolous method of birth control.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Scarlett's review of Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alias Grace
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, is an enigmatic, complex character-driven tale that synthesizes obsession, empathy, symbolism and repressed sexuality. The silent narrative of self and not-self screams to the reader as Grace creates her reality and claims a history that is not her own. Grace applies the abstract, crystalline logic of lunacy to distance herself from attack. Through her eyes we see that victims deserve their fate and are responsible for their suffering. It is just desserts. She toys with her accusers, amused when Simon flounders, thrashing like a fish…stranded on the mysterious shores of dreams. Simon is mesmerized. Grace is forbidden fruit, taunting him that she knows his fantasies. Restraint whispers “it cannot be” as Simon joins Grace in a dance he thinks is familiar, and one he believes he can lead. As Simon’s life parallels Grace’s the reader wonders what is true as he plays sham to her charlatan.

I own a copy of this book and found it fascinating. I rate this tale a brilliant 5/5 stars!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Road Rash is a quick, fun read for adults.

Road RashRoad Rash by Bonnie Bernard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Road Rash! I rate it as 5/5 stars, and recommend it as a quick, fun read for adults. Kudos to Bonnie Bernard for writing this little treasure and being among the handful of authors whose work makes me laugh aloud.

Road Rash is a wonderful, original, off-the-wall sort of book that kicks the mainstream fiction genre right in the face…then dumps a big ole bowl of coleslaw on top of it. The closest I can come to describing Bonnie Bernard’s quirky story is to say it is sort of like a comical hybridization of The Big Lebowski and the The Five People You Meet in Heaven…with an absurd twist. The irreverence of the story works so well, partly because Wayne —who thinks he must have gotten in at the wrong gate because he’s Hell-bound for sure— has a prickly conscience that keeps poking at him. Don’t think the Harley dude’s gone soft, though. Even good guys get fed up sometime…and he is glad to have taken his last bite of that damned coleslaw his passive-aggressive wife, Tammy, slopped on his plate, year after year, every time he disappointed her.

There are so many funny concepts and lines in this story. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading. I probably shouldn’t have read it in bed, though. My husband did not appreciate my giggles, or having me read the funny parts of the book aloud to him at 1:00am…If he doesn’t watch it he’s going to get a big ole bowl of slaw for his 3-squares the next few days. I’ll write Tammy (care of Bonnie Bernard) and get her special recipe. That will fix him!

Disclaimer: I requested this book and was provided it as a gift in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Scarlett's review of Thimble Kisses

Thimble KissesThimble Kisses by Crystal Clifton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thimble Kisses by Crystal Clifton is a sweet reminder of the importance of family traditions. As little Andy strives to find his mother a special Christmas gift he helps the reader understand that love is the most precious of treasures. I thoroughly enjoyed the message and illustrations in this story. I recommend it for children aged 3-5 years. Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This review reflects my true opinion of this book.

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