Right now I’ve just finished Kathy Reichs’ Death Du Jour (review coming soon) and have started her next novel Deadly Decisions. Her books are seriously gripping! No wonder they adapted them for a T.V. show (Fox’s Bones) !
It’s 1964 and 14 year-old Lily Owens lives in South Carolina. Lily’s mother was killed when Lily was four years old and the only memory she has left of her is a blur from that day. Raised by a bitter father, and a sassy maid named Rosaleen, Lily’s mother becomes idealized in her mind. Her world shatters when she finds out her mother was only human after all. When Rosaleen offends some notorious racists in town, her arrest acts as a catalyst for Lily’s desire to run and hide. Lily performs a jail break, and she and Rosaleen head off on a journey of escape and self-discovery. They end up in a town called Tiburon, staying with three eccentric black beekeeping sisters. There Lily learns about her mother, herself, the Black Madonna, female kinship, and, of course–bees. This is a powerful story of love and loss, of friendship and family, and of female power and divinity.
I LOVED this book. I absolutely could not put it down. The descriptions were so vivid and realistic, I could see everything unfolding clearly in my mind’s eye. Each character was incredibly crafted–August and Lily are my favourites. In Lily’s narration it was plain that she was a teenager. The writing was so realistic–each belief and fear were so true to her age. The narrow scope of youth was so plain.
I LOVED IT. I laughed, I cried, I never wanted to put it away. The way that the characters grow throughout the novel–especially Lily–was so moving. You don’t just watch them grow, you grow right along with them.
I absolutely recommend this book to everyone! More realistically, I recommend this book to fiction lovers, especially women’s fiction lovers. The Secret Life of Bees is along the same lines as The Help. If you enjoyed that, you’ll likely enjoy this too.
Have you read any good books lately? Let me know! I am looking to add to my to-read list!
This is what my list looks like right now:
Saving CeCe Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Winter Garden Kristin Hannah
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Let me know what you think!
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jonas lives in a world where there is order and purpose to everything. In his community, everyone and everything has a place and a function. Everything is structured for maximum efficiency. There is no war, no fear, no pain, no loss. There are no choices or real emotions. Not only so, but due to each person’s skills and aptitude, they are assigned a job in the community. There are those who teach, who look after babies until they are given to a family, those who give birth to children, those who govern, labourers, technicians, caregivers, etc. On the day the children are assigned their jobs, Jonas is given a special job. He is to become the one who bears the memories of the community. The history, the pain, the pleasure… everything. Once he knows the truth, it changes everything.
Apparently this is a book that many people read in junior high. I had never heard of it until recently when I found it in my goodreads recommendations. It sounded interesting, so I decided to pick it up. I’m really glad I did! Although it is a children/teen book, it lends itself well to readers of any age. It is a dystopian sort of novel, but not in the same way as, say, The Hunger Games or Divergent. It’s not an action novel, but more of a philosophical novel, provoking deep and interesting reflections on life, choice, and love. Original, well written, and well paced, I thoroughly enjoyed The Giver.
I highly recommend this novel!
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction
The year is 1962 and the place is Jackson, Mississippi.
When Skeeter returns home after graduating from Ole Miss, she believes her life will be different. She has a degree now, and thinks getting a serious writing job will be easy. However, she is a young woman and lacks a little something called experience. And experience is something that is hard to get in a town like Jackson. Not only so, but her mother won’t be happy until Skeeter has a ring on her finger. While fending off her mother, Skeeter writes the newsletter for the Junior League, and gets a job writing a house keeping column in the Jackson Journal. Knowing nothing about house keeping herself, Skeeter asks her friend Elizabeth if she can talk to her maid, Aibileen. Normally she would have turned to her own maid, Constantine, but she seems to have disappeared while Skeeter was away and no one will tell her what happened.
Aibileen is a strong and wise black maid in her fifties. Since her son died a year ago, bitterness has crept into her heart and clouded the way she views things. She is raising her seventeenth white child while her own son is dead in the ground. Although she loves the little child, Mae Mobley, she is no longer able to be naive to the ways of the world. Although the children love her when they are young, they all grow up to be like their parents–in their ignorance, mistreating black people. This time, Aibileen hopes, she can instill proper values in this little girl–show her that she is loved, and that the colour of your skin doesn’t matter.
Minny is Aibileen’s best friend. She is short and stout, and very sassy. Although her mama told her to hold her tongue and not sass the white ladies, Minny has never been able to grasp this and has lost many a job because of it. Out of a job again, Minny finds her self working for someone new to town who does not know about her reputation. This woman is different from the rest–in more ways than one.
These three women are brought together by a secret project that puts them all in jeopardy. Things need to change, and these women won’t stand for it anymore. As they get to know one another, Skeeter learns how naive she has been, and the maids begin to allow themselves to hope. Together these women push boundaries and don’t let imaginary lines in the sand stop their friendship.
I have four words for you: this book is amazing.
I loved it!
I didn’t really getting into the craze two years ago when the movie came out. I remember how everyone was obsessing over it. They would tell me how they saw the movie multiple times, and I would see countless people floating around with copies of the book in their hands. I was interested, but I am often turned off when everyone makes a hug fuss over something. When the movie came out on DVD I rented it and watched it. It was pretty enjoyable, but I wasn’t about to go crazy over it.
Last week I was trying to decide what to read and I thought, hey, maybe I will finally give The Help a try. I borrowed the ebook from the library and just devoured it. It was so good! I often found myself staying up into the wee hours reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.
It’s really interesting as well how the author herself is from Jackson, Mississippi. She is something of a Skeeter character, and grew up in a home there with a black maid raising her. At the time, she didn’t notice the divisions or the differences in treatment. However, looking back, she could see the truth. She drew on her experience and research to create The Help as sort of her apology and her thank-you.
I highly recommend this book.
I am currently reading The Secret Life of Bees! Expect a review in about a week.
Coming soon: reviews of The Help and The Giver