Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Three Star Rating

Review: ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ by Jodie Picoult (Contains Spoilers)

my sisters keeper

 

Anna Fitzgerald doesn’t want her sister to die. But she’s sick of helping her to live.

Anna was born to be a perfect genetic match for Kate, who at just two years old was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. For thirteen years, she has acted as donor to her sister.

Now, Kate needs a kidney, and nobody is asking Anna how she feels about it, they’re just assuming she will donate.

Until the Sheriff serves the papers that will rock their family’s world: Anna is suing her parents for the rights to her own body . . .

My Thoughts:

Seeing as my last book review was of ‘The Tenth Circle’ by Jodi Picoult, I thought that I would jump start my reviews, with another one of Picoult’s novels.

The premise of this novel seemed very interesting and grabbed my attention straight away. I think that Picoult’s attempt to tackle controversial topics, is something which drew me to her books in the first place.

This book approaches the idea of genetically modifying a child in order to save another sibling, with diverse writing.

Each of the chapters are dedicated to the points of view of several different characters; Anna Fitzgerald the main character, Kate Fitzgerald, Anna’s sister who has a terminal illness, Jesse Fitzgerald, their brother and their parents Sara and Brian  Fitzgerald.

Outside of the Fitzgerald family, chapters are dedicated to expressing the points of view of Julia Romano, who acts as Anna’s guardian during legal proceedings and Campbell Alexander, Anna’s lawyer.

Whilst I liked the idea of reading the situation from different perspectives, at first, I found the individual chapters, took a bit of getting used to. I frequently had to keep going back, in order to remember who each character was. Despite that, I think that Picoult’s characters are equally believable and well rounded. Each character had its strengths and weaknesses and I think this helped me to invest in the story.

I even thought that the romantic element between Julia and Campbell fitted in very well with the book’s very heavy topic.

The main problem for me about this book and it was a pretty big one, was the ending.

Due to the fact that this novel asks you to believe and invest a lot of time and emotion in the characters, the ending left me feeling furious and cheated. ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ goes into great detail about the proceedings of a court case and is very thorough at presenting a realistic representation of the law. Therefore, to simply put all of her characters through all of this heartache and stress in the court case, to come to a decision and yet write an ending which just felt convenient, I feel that Jodi Picoult demeans her readers by giving them that ending. I was so annoyed by the last few chapters, that I actually wanted to throw the book out of the window in frustration!

It’s not the first time this has happened with Picoult’s novels. So far, I have read two of her books and both have had endings which have nicely wrapped up the story, but have not tackled the gritty topics she focuses on, in a satisfactory way.

I’m willing to give Jodi Picoult one more chance, but after that, if her novels still continue to offer the reader a patronizing, ‘warm and fuzzy’ ending, then I will not continue to read any more of her novels.

‘My Sister’s Keeper’ starts with promise, but falls very flat at the end.

My Rating ***

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Books, Fiction, Films, Life, Reading, Reviewing, Sin categoría, Writing

6 Months!

It has been 6 months since I last posted on ‘The Avid Reader’!

That’s not to say that I haven’t been reading, I’m as avid as ever ( In fact,  I’m currently getting to the end of my third re-read of ‘The Hobbit’,), but I lost my mojo for writing. Not just writing blog posts, but writing more of the detective novel that I’ve been trying finish for the last 3 years or so.

Part of the reason that I lost my mojo, is that life has got in the way. I won’t go into any details of that (I don’t want to use this blog for whining and whinging, I feel very lucky with what I have) but over the last week or so, I’ve found the joy for writing again hurrah!

To be honest, I’ve probably read too many books in the last 6, to properly catch up with reviews on the blog but I will try and post my thoughts on a few of them shortly. Let me know about your best reads of the last 6 months.

I’m also going to see ‘Bridget Jones Baby’ next week, so I with review it after I have seen it. I’m not a big fan of Chick-Lit, but I have enjoyed the ‘Bridget Jones’ series. To wet your appetite, here’s the trailer:

 

Books, First Paragraph Tuesday, Reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile by the Sea’, where bloggers share the first paragraph of a novel they are currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph comes from ‘WinterSmith’ by Terry Pratchett. I’m a relatively new fan of the ‘Discworld’ series (you can find my review of ‘The Truth’ here), so I’m excited to begin reading this one in the future.

‘Chapter 1- The Big Snow

When the storm came, it hit the hills like a hammer. No sky should hold as much snow as this, and because no sky could, it fell; fell in a wall of white.’

Would you continue reading?

Books, Fiction, Four Star Rating, Reading, Sin categoría

REVIEW-‘The Truth’ by Terry Pratchett

 

the truth

 

What the ‘blurb’ says:

William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld’s first newspaper. New printing technology means that words just won’t obediently stay nailed down like usual. There’s a very real threat of news getting out there.

Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalist’s life – people who want him dead, a recovering vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography, some more people who want him dead in a different way and, worst of all, the man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes.

William just wants to get at THE TRUTH. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. And it’s only the third edition…

My thoughts:

Before reading this novel I had only read one of the ‘Discworld’ novels, so wasn’t entirely sure whether 1. I was going to enjoy this 2. Having jumped out of the sequence of ‘Discworld’ novels (‘The Truth’ is 25th in the series), whether I was going to understand anything.

I was pleased to find that this novel can be read as a stand-alone book and I really enjoyed it.

The world where these books are based is concise and well rounded,  and the characters are believable; considering the fact that there are vampires, wolves and talking chairs in this! The plot was engaging, although did get a little too silly towards the end.

The main attraction for me, was the writing style in itself. It’s so deliciously quirky, that I chuckled through a lot of the book. The play on words and satire of the media industry, made for a refreshing change. This doesn’t take itself too seriously and is so much fun to read. If you don’t have a silly sense of humour, don’t read this book. If you want to read something fun, read ‘The Truth’.

I’m looking forward to reading more ‘Discworld’ novels in future.

My Rating ****

 

Books, First Paragraph Tuesday, Reading

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday

‘First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday’ is hosted by ‘Bibliophile By The Sea’. Each week, I’ll share with you the first paragraph of a novel I’m currently reading or want to read in the future.

This week’s paragraph is from ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ by David Mitchell:

‘The House of Kawasemi the Concubine, above Nagasaki’. The Ninth Night of the Fifth Month.

‘Miss Kawasemi?’ Orito kneels on a stale and sticky futon. ‘Can you hear me?’

In the rice paddy beyond the garden, a cacophony of frogs detonates.  Orito dabs the concubine’s sweat-drenched face with a damp cloth.

‘She’s barely spoken,’ the maid holds the lamp ‘for hours and hours…’

‘Miss Kawasemi, my name’s Aibagawa. I’m a midwife. I want to help.’

Kawasemi’s eyes flicker open. She manages a frail sigh. Her eyes shut. She is too exhausted, Orito thinks, even to fear dying tonight.’

Would you continue reading?

Books, Fiction, Reading, Reviewing, Romance, Two Star Rating

REVIEW- ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks

the notebook

What the ‘Blurb’ says:

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

My Thoughts

Firstly I have to admit that romance isn’t a genre I normally read, but on the recommendation of a friend, I decided to give this novel a go.

What I liked about the story was Noel, one of the main characters. He is believable and likeable. The romantic story between Noah and Allison, is very well told. It does come close to being too over sentimental, but just about gets away with it.

The problems I had with this book, were contained within the later half. The issues this book deals with is, as far as I can imagine, were well told and researched. I do think that those issues could have been developed more though.

I also felt disappointed with the story, at the last page of this novel. I didn’t expect this book to end as it did. Some people may be satisfied by the way this novel ends, but I thought that it was slightly far-fetched and ruined the story a little for me.

I wasn’t entirely keen on the slow pace of the novel either. I can imagine this novel to be perfect for the lazy days of summer, when there is no rush to go anywhere. I prefer slightly faster paced novels.

After reading this review you may think that I didn’t enjoy this novel at all, but I thought it was a reasonably enjoyable read.

Whilst I wouldn’t rush to read this again, I think that ‘The Notebook’ would make a readable, beach novel.

My Rating **

Books, Reading, Reviewing

On Reviewing…

I’ve been thinking about what the future holds for the blog and some of the ideas I have had, I’m quite excited about. Although I’ve realised that to start off well, the foundations of the blog have to be right.

In my previous book blog, I realised that my book reviews were good, but lacked a scoring system. When reading book reviews, I’m not usually persuaded entirely by the review. In fact, if a novel has received a complete slating by a reviewer, that actually encourages me to read that novel so that I can make my own mind up about it. However, I do pay slight attention to a star system any review, it would certainly encourage me to read the rest of its contents.

So, that being said, here is my scoring system for any review of books, films or tv featured on the blog:

***** Loved it. Thoroughly recommended.

**** Enjoyed it, but not without faults.

*** It was ok. Neither good nor bad.

** Mildly enjoyable. Had elements which could have been improved.

* Hated this. Wouldn’t recommend.

Whilst I don’t expect everyone to agree with my reviews/ratings, (feel free to disagree, I love a discussion on books and films!) it’ll give you a good idea of what I think. I’ll also tag each book review not only by genre, but by ratings.

I’ll be posting a review tomorrow, so watch this space!

For those of you who review (books, films, tv etc) what’s your rating system? How much attention do you pay to reviews/ratings?