Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published by: Simon Pulse (2005)
Tally Youngblood wants to be pretty. But it’s because she’s about to turn sixteen and everyone in her world turns pretty at the same age. After performing a trick in New Pretty Town, she meets Shay, the girl who could care less about turning pretty. When Shay invites Tally to run away with her to The Smoke, the Special Circumstances are involved and Tally learns that turning pretty, changes you forever.
Never hearing that much buzz about this series until I met a YA lover (check out her blog here) who went on and on about Scott Westerfeld and Suzanne Collins (reading that trilogy next), I decided to pick this book up. Additionally, a fellow book club member recently read the trilogy and raved about the world. When I saw the premise, I immediately thought of The Giver by Lois Lowry because they all turn pretty at the same age just like everyone receives a bike at the same age and is also assigned their occupation at thirteen for the rest of their lives.
This story was an interesting look at the way this society functions solely based on beauty and how this is a reflection of our society today. Although not as extreme where pretty and “ugly” people living in separate towns but man, too close for comfort.
The writing works for a young adult novel and much better written than any Stephanie Meyer novel (but that’s just me).
A solid read from beginning to end; once you start, you cannot put the book down. With a first line like, “The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit,” how can you not get into this story?
Looking forward to the next in the series, Pretties!
Posted in Book Reviews
Tagged beauty, dystopia, extras, new pretty town, plastic surgery, pretties, pretty, scott westerfeld, society, uglies, ugly, uglyville, ya, young adult fiction, youngblood
Author: Rebecca Walker
Published by: Riverhead Books (2001)
Rebecca is the product of a biracial and bicoastal home. In her memoir, she recounts her sexual experiences, her identity crisis (is she white, Jewish, or black?), and everything in between.
What is missing in her memoir are the spaces in between – there weren’t enough instances where the reader (well, this reader anyway) was too involved in her story. There was an emotional distance prevalent in the tale. The writing wasn’t particularly salient, novel, or fresh. There were run on sentences that drove me crazy or places that were incomplete.
As a person of color myself, I was able to relate to her identity crisis (am I American or Dominican, or both?) but I wanted more. She was the daughter of a famous and well-renowned African-American author; why didn’t we hear more about that? I comprehended this book was about her and not her mother but Alice Walker was her mother, after all. She also recounted many friends from the different coasts she lived from year to year – which I could not keep track of for the life of me.
This book was lacking insight; I kept thinking, “Okay, so what?” Almost like an essay with a good thesis statement and not enough examples to prove her point. A decent portrait of her childhood but not enough to keep this reader vastly interested in her story.
Posted in Book Reviews
Tagged african american, alice walker, american, and jewish, biracial, black, book, childhood, dominican, memoir, memoirs, person of color, rebecca walker, white, Writing
Author: Mary Gaitskill
Published by: Vintage (1989)
I very rarely read short story collections in succession as I did this one. There was a common thread in her stories – a certain uncomfortable quality that made the ready queasy or “dirty” after reading them. The characters weren’t likable, there wasn’t even one protagonist that one sided with – they were all different aspects of deviance. Continue reading
Posted in Book Reviews
Tagged bad behavior, characters, collection, creative, creativity, fiction, human interaction, interview, mary gaitskill, people, raw, reader, readers, s/m, vintage, Writing
November is halfway over and I’m not even halfway done with my NaNo book this month.
There’s a part of me that’s completely un-enrolled in my story and writing. I’ve been so busy with life! Socializing, planning parties, potlucks, movies, reading, and everything else in between. How can I juggle all this and writing?
I know writing and having a social life is possible; writers do this all the time! This all sounds the same, doesn’t it? Like I’ve been here before, talking about the same thing but it’s a different day. I’m aware of that. Writing down this awareness makes me want to step up my game and finish this novel. I may not complete the thing but the effort is there, no?
For my fellow NaNo’s, work it! Eleven more days! Woohoo!
Edited by: Karl Weber
Published by: Participant Media (2010)
As a companion to the documentary, Waiting for Superman, this book discusses public education from the filmmakers’ perspective, policy makers, officials, administrators, and teachers as well as parents view of the state of education now and what should be fixed in the system. There were suggestions that would never work in public education while other structures have worked in some communities (and states) but would never work in others. The end of the book has resources for an average citizen to become involved in the community.
As a non-teacher, I was able to read this objectively. However, the first half which focused on non-educators’ approach to rehabilitating the educational system was absolutely absurd. I found it hard to take the filmmakers seriously. As for the rest of the book’s contributors, some chapters were insightful while others were extremely hard to get through. If anything, I was inspired to actively pursue working as a workshop instructor or in higher education but in public education. As for the book, interesting read but definitely not something I would have picked up on my own. Thank goodness for book club!