Charlottellamae CBR5 Book Review #4 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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When I first saw a commercial for The Silver Linings Playbook, I must admit, I wasn’t impressed. From what I saw it looked like a very stereotypical romantic comedy. Boy is sad. Boy meets sad girl. They fall in love. Both are happy. The end. Then I saw that it was nominated for 8 oscars. So then I thought, “Well, obviously this movie must be more than I thought.” I figured I would buy the book and see what it was all about.
Pat Peoples has been in a mental rehabilitation hospital for what appears to be a few months when his mom comes to bring him home. Pat has developed the idea that his life is a movie and it can only end when he finds his silver lining. To achieve his silver lining he must become physically fit so his wife, Nikki will come back to him. They have been separated during Pat’s time in “the bad place” but he is sure that “apart time” will be over soon.
When Pat arrives home he is shocked to discover that during his time in the “bad place” his brother got married, his best friend was married and has a child, and his favorite football stadium has been torn down and a new one built. What’s worse is that no one will talk to him about Nikki. Then Pat meets Tiffany, a clinically depressed widow. She doesn’t speak very often, mostly just follows Pat on his 10 mile runs everyday. Eventually they strike up a friendship that could help Pat end “apart time.”
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is endearing. That is, you root for Pat even when he does something horrible. What I like about the novel is the character growth. Pat, his parents, Tiffany are all so different at the end of the novel. Not to say that any of them have changed so much it is unbelievable. There is no miracle cure for depression in any of these pages but the characters do mature in many ways.
What I didn’t like so much about the book is the way it’s written. The book is narrated by Pat because we are reading the journal he has written. It is written in a very childish manner, which is true to Pat’s character but for some reason it annoyed me. It honestly probably wouldn’t make sense written any other way but I just didn’t like it. Do not take that one little problem that I had and decide to not read the book though. It is a very funny, quirky novel and I am glad the movie got so many Oscar nominations because it helped me not judge a book by it’s adaptation to movie’s commercial.

Charlottellamae CBR5 Book Review #3 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is an exciting, gripping novel set in Stalinist Russia. The novel’s twist and turn will keep you guessing to the very last page.
Child 44 is the story of Leo Demidov, a MGB agent, whose job is to keep control and prevent disloyalty to Russia. Disloyalty runs the range from owning a book from “the west” to speaking to the wrong person at the wrong time. Leo is sent to on of his subordinates house to inform them that their son died in an accident. The subordinate, Fyodor, is telling people that his son was murdered. As Leo knows, this cannot be true because there is no crime in Russia. When everyone is equal how could there be crime? Leo then discovers another murder very similar to that of Fyodor’s son. Leo realizes that there is one man murdering children throughout Russia. But how is he going to stop a man, that according to the government, does not exist?
This book is a very stereotypical crime thriller except for one major thing, the setting. If this book was not set in 1950′s Stalinist Russia it wold be fine but entirely forgettable
However, with the added drama of continuously having to watch what you say has made all the difference. This was a time where if you said there was a crime you were being disloyal to the state and therefore you must be a spy. At best, you were sent to the gulags for hard labor. At worst, you were forced to confess that you were a spy and then executed without a trial. Then there was the added bonus that if you were a spy then your whole family probably was too, so they would be executed as well.
Child 44 is loosely based on the life of Andrei Chikatilo, also known as the Rostov Ripper. This book has everything you could ask for: intrigue, huge plot twists, politics, and of course, cannibalism. I thought this book was absolutely brilliant and definitely should be read by many. If only to get a glimpse of what life was like in Stalinist Russia.

CharlottEllamae #CBR5 Review #02 Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I’m not embarrassed to say that I LOVE True Blood. So much, I seriously considered buying an HBO package just so I could keep up with it ( I didn’t. I’m not THAT crazy.) and because I have so much love for True Blood I figured I would at least like the book, Dead Until Dark, that inspired the show.
 
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is set in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress at a local bar when a vampire walks in and sits down in her section. Vampires have recently “come out of the coffin” since a Japanese company created synthetic blood making it possible for vampires to live without feeding on humans. The vampire’s name is Bill Compton and he is a Civil War veteran. Sookie falls in love with Bill and try to help the people of Bon Temps to accept Bill. Soon, women from Bon Temps start turning up dead with fang marks all over them. Sookie needs to convince the town, and herself, that Bill is not the murderer.
 
I had high expectations when I bought this book. I was going by the long-held belief of mine that the book is always better than the movie/television show. Even if it wasn’t better it had to be at least good, right? No. It turns out that many of my favorite characters are not major players in the book. They may have been mentioned or even had one or two lines but nothing beyond that. 
 
However, enough with comparing it to the show. The book still doesn’t stand by itself. There was little to no character development. Sookie is just a scared waitress who falls in love with a vampire. She never progresses beyond that. With all of the things he goes though one would think she would gain some sort of inner strength. And Bill is a vampire who is kind of a dick. He tells Sookie he loves her but it never really seems true because he’s so moody. The author, Charlaine Harris, also treats us to riveting paragraphs about what each and every character is wearing. Every time someone puts on a new outfit we get told about it down to what hair clip gets put in their hair. It just sort of feels like someone told   Harris she had to write 220 pages and she is struggling to make it to that mark.
 
All in all, I would NOT recommend this book if you have watched True Blood. It really does not stand up to the show. However, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for an easy read. It’s not that the book isn’t interesting, it is. It’s not brilliantly written. A good beach read.

CharlottEllamae CBR5 review 1 The Last Testament: A Memoir By God (with David Javerbaum)

image I wanted to start my first Cannonball Read with something exciting. Something memorable. Something Controversial. Clearly there were no other options other than to go with the man himself, God.

Now, people love to remind everyone that God did not sit down and write the Bible. However, God DID write this one (with just a little help from David Javerbaum). This memoir is everything it promises to be and more.

The book is dedicated “to anyone who’s ever been told ‘Thou Shalt Not…’ and obeyed.”

God and his editor who have been together forever (meaning 25 years as God started out unrepresented) have decided it is time for God to dish on everything. Being that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, everything means EVERYTHING. Genesis, The Koran, Celebrities, great mysteries of the Earth. None of these things are off-limits to The Lord. The Almighty talks love, the 10 commandments and any other thing that may strike his fancy.

I have found throughout my reading career (1994-present) that it is extremely difficult to write a FUNNY novel. Google “funny books” and you’re likely to come up with 1 million hits for knock knock joke books. I have only stumbled across a few authors who manage to do it properly (shout-out to Christopher Moore) but David Javerbuam has certainly proved to be one of them. David Javerbaum is the former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Never has an author so eloquently and hilariously managed to infuriate 3 different religions with just one book.
If you’re very religious, too liberal, too conservative, or just easily infuriated, I would not recommend this book to you. However, if you understand and appreciate satire or you want to know what REALLY happened to Adam and Steve then this book is for you.
And let us not forget Againesis 19:4