Monthly Archives: December 2011

Review: Look Again

*LookAgain* by Lisa Scottoline

Fiction. Published 2009.

Read: December 2011, 377 pages

★★★★☆

Book Blurb:

When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look at it again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves. Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground with this thriller that’s both heart-stopping and heart-breaking, and sure to have new fans and book clubs buzzing.

Impressions:

Wow! I’m really impressed with the flow and thrilling turns of this book. It is fun to guess what’s going to happen next and I couldn’t put it down- finishing it in a day. I would recommend this book to most readers who enjoy a little mystery.

Thoughts:

Ellen is a reporter who recently adopted a sick child after meeting him in the hospital. When she receives a flyer in the mail of a missing child who looks just like her son, it sends her on a wild hunt in pursuit of the truth. Suddenly people involved in her adoption case start turning up dead and everything seems out of place. Dead ends eventually turn into leads and she finds the answers, but it’s not exactly what Ellen was hoping for.

When coincidences start turning into deaths, Ellen suddenly puts the nightmare together, but of course it is a little too late. Twists to this adventure are in every chapter. My one complaint is that there is less depth in the characters and less true meaning that I found in this story. The author points to the moral of the story being– who does your child belong to: the parent or himself. It’s obvious not every parent would have gone to these lengths to find out the truth, but it’s unrealistic to think there couldn’t have been more insight and meaning along with the adventure. Also, it was hard to truly like Ellen. I found her crush on her boss cliche and I hated that she would leave all the parenting up to Connie, the babysitter. But, overall, I really did like the plot- it kept me guessing and wondering. I think it’s a very pure and exciting form of love to adopt a child. What a blessing.

Quotes:

Will sniffled. ‘You hurt Oreo Figaro, Mommy…You throwed him….It wasn’t nice.’ -p292

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Review: The Catcher in the Rye

*The Catcher in the Rye* by J.D. Salinger

Fiction. Published 1945.

Read: December 2011, 277 pages

★★★☆☆

Book Blurb:

Superficially the story of a young man’s expulsion from yet another school, this book is in fact a perceptive study of one individual’s understanding of his human condition. Holden Caulfield is a teenager growing up in New York during the 1950s. In an attempt to deal with being expelled for bad performance, he leaves school a few days prior to the end of term, and goes to New York to ‘take a vacation’ before returning to his parents’ inevitable wrath. Told as a monologue, the book describes Holden’s thoughts and activities over these few days, during which he describes a developing nervous breakdown, symptomised by his bouts of unexplained sadness, impulsive spending and generally odd, erratic behavior, prior to his eventual nervous collapse.

However, during his psychological battle, life continues on around Holden as it always had, with the majority of people ignoring the ‘madman stuff’ that is happening to him – until it begins to encroach on their well defined social codes. Progressively through the novel we are challenged to think about society’s attitude to the human condition – does society have an ‘ostrich in the sand’ mentality, a deliberate ignorance of the emptiness that can characterize human existence? And if so, when Caulfield begins to probe and investigate his own sense of emptiness and isolation, before finally declaring that he world is full of ‘phonies’ with each one out for their own phony gain, is Holden actually the one who is going insane, or is it society which has lost its mind for failing to see the hopelessness of their own lives?

Impressions:

This book is initially hard to get interested in being as the narrator is very negative and uses language from the 1950s. Once I actually got an idea of his language and character it became easier to read. I think if the reader is able to identity his issues with extreme sadness and coming of age, a compassion and interest will grow in the reader completing this story.

Thoughts:

Holden Caulfield tells his story about leaving Pencey and traveling home after he is expelled. One recurring theme is that he identifies others as phonies. It is his catch-all for describing the superficiality, hypocrisy, and shallowness that he encounters. His perception of others provides a means to withdrawal and feeds his sadness. Phoniness is his cynical observation of everything that’s wrong with the world. Holden is terrified by the unpredictable challenges of the world—he hates conflict, he is confused by Allie’s death, and he fears interaction with other people. Holden cuts himself off from the world but it in turn causes him to be unbearably lonely.

I found the most interesting point to be about Holden’s resistance to growing up.  He wants things to stay the same, be simple and concrete. He shares his confusion, misguidances, and fears.  Instead of admitting that adulthood mystifies him, he invents a fantasy that adults are all phonies and childhood is a world of innocence, curiosity, and honesty. Holden wants to be the catcher in the rye-his interpretation of saving children from adulthood/death/falling over the edge of a cliff. Holden has a close relationship with his little sister Phoebe and it is a major step for him to accept that kids will grow up and adults must let them. Other important themes include suicide, death, social class, lying, intimacy, and loneliness.

Quotes:

Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. -p158

It was really nice sightseeing, if you know what I mean. In a way, it was sort of depressing, too, because you kept wondering what the hell would happen to all of them. -p160

I mean did you ever get scared that everything was going to get lousy unless you did something? -p169

I think one of these days you’re going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you’ve got to start going there. But immediately. You can’t afford to lose a minute. -p245

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Card: Charm Christmas

Card Making:

My favorite cards of the year- Christmas Charms! These hand made Christmas cards are six by six adorned with lace and snowflakes. Who wouldn’t appreciate the season receiving a card filled with reindeer and love. The interior reads ‘seasons greetings and blessings for peace’. Handmade envelopes were added as well using double sided paper. I love these wonderful Christmas cards and hope you will too. Merry Christmas!

How it turned out:

 

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