Tuesday, November 15, 2011

# 52 Looking For Alaska by John Green

Now that is a manic pixie dream girl. Miles Halter is leaving his suburban Florida high school to go to boarding school in Alabama. Why? He says it is to seek "the Great Perhaps", Francois Rabelais' last words (whom I do NOT know). Miles is a little odd. He loves reading biographies and memorizes famous people's last words. He was friendless in his old school, and that might be the reason he was so eager to seek the Great Perhaps.

Going to Culver Creek seems to have been a great idea, since ha actually gained some friends there. His roommate, and the aforementioned manic pixie dream girl, Alaska. They have fun and play pranks, fall in love and do boarding school stuff, but tragedy is just around the corner. After the tragedy, the story shifts showing how the kids, especially Miles handles it. Things are learned about themselves, they grow up a little.

This is usually described as YA but the themes and details are very adult. Perhaps it is YA because it is a coming of age story. It's not an unusual concept really. Weird, or socially maladjusted, loner kid meets friends, or a girl, who helps them grow up. But John Green tells the story in a charming way. The first part is mostly light hearted but the second part is painful and real. I liked it, I really did. It wasn't life changing, but I definitely liked it.

I liked it.

# 51 Jubilee City by Joe Andoe

actual review date: January 5, 2011

Joe Andoe is an artist. I learned that only after reading his memoir. Joe Andoe grew up in Tulsa Oklahoma and his early years were full of sex drugs and rock and roll. I gathered from the book that this was fairly normal in their area. So yeah. In his early years, he was aimless, with nary an art book or ambition is sight. It is not until after he has worked a few manual jobs that he decided to study art in college. He moves to New York, gets married, has kids, becomes a successful artist, and divorces. All with a lot of drinking, drugs and fighting.

His life is not told in a linear manner like most memoirs but in short vignettes that gives more of a feel than actual facts. From what I read, I mostly liked him despite his recklessness and irresponsibility. He is sort of an anomaly I guess in that he is not the typical art student, artsy type. He was just a regular joe who found out that he could do good art and the he kinda liked it. Twas ok.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

# 50 Cherry by Mary Karr

actual review date: January 5, 2o11

I have not read the Liar's Club, nor was I even aware that there was a prequel to this book. The said prequel, I gathered, tells the story of Karr's girlhood. In this book, the author talks about her early girlhood and teens. Her sexual blossoming and foray into drugs and aimlessness.

The first part of the story is told in standard memoir forma, in past tense and in the first person. As Karr grows older and gets more into drugs, the narrative shifts, and Karr becomes an observer of her former self. But it also gets hazier and more fragmented. I mean, that's how I felt when I was reading it, as if I was also doing the whole drugs thing.

Though her story has some tragedies and her life was a bit complicated, it wasn't really scandalous and all that. I thought it was a good portrait of a not so typical girl growing up in the 70's. The storytelling was hazy and surreal. Perhaps, because of this, I cannot really remember the details that well, but I do remember the feeling.