Review: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

The Abstinence Teacher has a chick lit feel to it and is a very easy  read. I tore through it in a couple of days. I really related to Ruth Ramsey and thought she was a very likable character.

I was intrigued by the play between left wing and right wing attitudes toward teaching children about sexuality and health. I wasn’t quite sure which stance was being taken. I was curious to see what the moral of the story was. I’ll let you read to find out rather than spoil the suspense.

I did wonder if it was fair to portray the right wing religious characters as, for the most part, being driven to religion by weakness or tragedy. There must be people who believe in an organized approach to religion simply because they believe it’s right? Not because they need a crutch? I think the approach taken by Tom Perrotta makes a complex topic much simpler than the reality.

I found the ending deeply unsatisfying. I actually started cursing after I finished the last page.

Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Effigy by Alissa York

I often read book reviews with the intent of adding to my request list at the local library. There are often 100 people or more ahead of me on these request lists, so it can take months before I actually get my hands on the book. As a result I often forget why I wanted to read a particular book. Effigy is just such a book.

Effigy is about a polygamous Mormon family in the 1850s. Not the type of book I’d usually read. Well, I figured there must be a reason I wanted to read the book back when I added it to my library requests, so I dove on in. The characters were interesting, complex and had depth. I wanted to know more about the characters as I progressed through the novel. I was intrigued by the women who accepted a polygamous lifestyle.

I did find most of the male characters a bit hard to take. But that may be my attitude towards polygamy and organized religion coloring my impression of the characters.

Overall, an interesting read. The plot had some interesting and unexpected twists. The story was character driven in a way that I particularly enjoy. My one complaint, without getting into details, is that I did find the ending somewhat frustrating.

Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 1:27 pm  Comments (2)  
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Review: Half Life

I recently devoured Half Life: A Novel by Shelley Jackson. I’ve been soooo slow at finishing everything lately. But I tore through Half Life in no time at all. I loved it!

The premise seems a bit gimmicky. Conjoined twins and the concept of self and autonomy. But it really works. The ties between Nora and Blanche are fascinating. The story really is about Nora and Blanche, but the other characters are odd and wacky in a manner that I find quite charming.

Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The boyfriend sweater disaster

That’s it. I give up. I’m done. I’m not spending another second knitting Blair’s sweater. Nope. Not another single second.

I finished the yoke of the sweater and had Blair try it on. And it was crooked. Again. Even though this time I used entirely different shoulder and neck shaping. So I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not my knitting. It’s Blair. His upper body is lopsided. Really. That must be the problem. Honestly. It couldn’t be anything else. Because I am a very careful knitter. Who counts stitches. And follows instructions.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So, what am I going to do with this lovely yarn? I think I’m going to make a throw for a chair in our sun room. After I frog it. Ouch.

Published in: on February 5, 2008 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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