Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Opinion: While incredible and entertaining, there are disturbing elements in this book. The fact that a child was subjected to such an inappropriate upbringing is sad. However, the honesty and drive of the author to take charge of his life eventually write this memoir is amazing.
Recommend? Not enthusiastically.
3 out of 5 hearts
Opinion: This was a beautiful story. I loved that it merged history with fiction and brought imaginative context to a famous painting. While it was disheartening to realize how much power the rich had over the poor back then and the unfairness that happened as a result, the emotion and details in this book are astounding. The author gave the 'girl' the name of Griet, which traditionally is just slang for 'girl' in Dutch. I thought this was not a valid name but after looking it up, the name was used occasionally and apparently means 'pearl.' That is probably no accident. Well done, Chevalier.
4.5 out of 5 hearts
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Opinion: Though the story was interesting enough, I felt frustrated at the actions of the characters. I did enjoy the exploration of cultural differences between the American, Kathy, and the Iranian family, the Behrani's but I felt most of the conflict could have been avoided. To be honest, the story was pretty depressing and pointless. I'm sure there is a lesson in their somewhere about cultural differences and dealing with emotions but it seemed like several character just made stupid choices that had destructive consequences.
2.5 out of 5 hearts
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Opinion: I was honestly expecting some cool dystopian novel like the Giver with a total like that but it just refers to the fact that Dr. Henry is a photographer as a hobby. Putting that disappointment aside, this was an intriguing story. The dynamic created in a split-second decision and its consequences was astounding. The book was unpredictable and touching and while the lingering secret annoyed me at times, it was interesting to read how each character internalized its effects.
3.5 out of 5 hearts
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Opinion: I loved this book. It was a complex, unique story starting in the Italian coast near Cinque Terra and using real characters in partly real and partly fictional situations. The book consisted of several overlapping stories and while each one was great in itself, the fact that all stories come together in unexpected ways was wonderful. This was a great journey about imperfect characters and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
5 out of 5 hearts