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.