A random, eclectic mix of thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences – LIFE

Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

13 Things About The Book Thief

I’m about halfway through The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak), and I’m really enjoying it. I can’t do a real review yet, but here are a few things I like about the book:

  1. It’s narrated by the grim reaper/death.
  2. The author throws away the ideas of subtleties in foreshadowing. You know a lot of things that are going to happen before you think you should, but it works. Mostly because you have no idea how or why those things will happen.
  3. The reader is directly addressed by the narrator. (I really like this because I’ve always wanted to write a book this way. It’s cool that I got to read one that does that.)
  4. Random German phrases. Babe and I affectionately call each other Saumensch and Saukerl from time to time.
  5. The secondary characters are as interesting as the primary characters. Their appearances always evoke a reaction like, “Oh, YAY! Him again,” or “Ugh… Not this prick again!”
  6. The reader knows just enough. Not too little, and not too much. It’s a delicate balance.
  7. I have no idea if this book is supposed to be young adult, or just plain fiction. Gotta love that in a book. (If you’ve read The Hunger Games, you understand the effect I’m talking about.)
  8. The Holocaust. I have no idea why this is so interesting to me, but it is. Movies and books that are directly related to it, or just around that time period grab me and hold me in the air until they’re done.
  9. History. See above.
  10. Awesome quotes. In talking about human nature, the narrator says, “So much good, so much evil. Just add water.” Another great one is, “The words were born on her breath, and died at her lips.”
  11. I think I forgot to mention quotes. “Her teeth were like a soccer crowd, crammed in.”
  12. The Jesse Owens incident. The main character’s best friend painted himself black and ran 100 metres, to see what it felt like to be Jesse Owens.
  13. Won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. Someday, I’ll have a book to enter in the competition. Maybe – just maybe – that book will win.

A Piece of Cake

Day 17 – A book you’ve read that changed your views on something

A Piece of Cake – Cupcake Brown

“You can’t say it’s impossible if you haven’t tried.” That’s a part of the intro on Cupcake’s website. Her story is nothing short of amazing. Cupcake (yes, that’s her real name) is completely open, honest, to-the-point, and frank in her memoir titled A Piece of Cake. The name of the book doesn’t do it justice. It feels like she’s given ALL of her to us. Put it on our laps, in our hands, on our ereaders. There. For us to take what we will from it. Her style is very relaxed, comfortable, and personal. The language is largely colloquial, and it’s as if the scene is unfolding right before your eyes. You see everything as she sees it – at 13 years old, at 20 years old, at 25 years old. You’re in her corner, cheering, begging, pleading, praying, laughing, and crying, wanting everything to work out.

If anyone asks me about the best books I’ve ever read, this spring to mind immediately. I read it earlier in the summer on my nook. It was meant to be a lunch hour read, but I ended up reading quite a bit at home, and whenever I had a chance. It’s a real page turner. I find it hard to say much about this book without spoiling it for potential readers, but still being able to express how GREAT it really is and how REWARDING it would be to read it.

Without revealing too much of her story, here are a few things about Cupcake’s first book:

  • Death happens. Early on.
  • Her family is torn apart and her life changes in the first few pages.
  • She becomes dependent on “the system.”
  • Every kind of abuse you can imagine .
  • Living on the streets.
  • Drugs.
  • Prostitution.
  • Poverty.
  • Job seeking.
  • Employment and unemployment.
  • Friendships, both good and bad.
  • Gangs.
  • In and out of school.
  • Going back to school.
  • Furthering education.
  • Addictions.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Success.
After reading my points, if you think you no longer need to read the book because you know what’s going to happen, BELIEVE ME. YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA. You, even after reading reviews, will be unsuspecting. You won’t know it’s coming. You’ll just hear the sound of your own heart breaking. You will feel the pain. You become a mother, wanting to protect the child in this story. You will be SHAKEN. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that you remember you’re reading a TRUE STORY. You will fear. You will have faith. You will keep reading, wanting to know what happens next. You will want to know how it’s possible for the book that’s breaking your heart over and over again, making you pray to a God you may or may not believe exists, will ever come to a happy ending. It will be worth the read. You will gain insight. And FAITH. You will learn. A LOT.
  • Things are not always what they seem.
  • We really can do anything we put enough thought, time, and energy into.
  • There is a power greater than us, be it God, the universe, karma, or parts of the solar system seen or unseen.
  • We have the power to be great.
  • We can change our circumstances.
  • Addiction is REAL. And HARD. And undefinable. Often unrecognizable, especially if it is our own.
  • “The system” is flawed.
  • Rehabilitation is underrated. And underfunded.
  • One of the things we need most in life is SUPPORT.
I could go on and on, but I really don’t feel that I can do this book justice, having to leave work in 10 minutes. Get the book. It’s great. Even if you cry, and feel heart-broken, you will laugh. Don’t worry. You won’t be laughing AT Cup. You’ll be with her. She really holds your hand as you read her story. It’s worth it. This book has changed my view of addiction and rehabilitation. I’ve always been sympathetic to it, but did not understand it as well as I do now. At some point in my life, I was determined to live without people. I mean, without needing them, without talking to them, without showing any sign of weakness, or needing to take a break, rest, or lean. This book showed me that people are okay. Some of them may even be necessary parts of our lives. We can’t do it all alone. I also truly learned how great FAITH is, and how big it is compared to FEAR.
Quotes from A Piece of Cake:
“Always remember the acronym for “FEAR” can mean one of two things: Fuck Everything And Run or Face Everything And Recover.”
“It’s okay to be afraid. It’s not okay to let the fear STOP you.”