Thursday, April 24, 2014

Survivor: A Journey Through My Never Ending Nightmare by Angela Caito

Survivor: A Journey Through My Never Ending NightmareSurvivor: A Journey Through My Never Ending Nightmare by Angela Caito
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

First off, nothing in this book rings true. For example what 29 year old woman would be surprised that her 18 year old boyfriend's mother is less than thrilled to find out she is going to be a grandmother. As a mom I would not be overly excited to hear that my 18 year old son got this 29 year old pregnant. Also the author states she now knows to run the other way if ever a man tells her he enjoys having her at home and taking care of her. Yet she did not think it was time to run the other way when her 18 year old boyfriend began conversations with his imaginary friends through an imaginary walkie talkie and then beat her up? Oh yes, "breaker breaker one nine" precedes each beating. I think the author has confused the "invisible walkie talkie" as she calls it, with an invisible CB radio. Also the 18 year old has a great job, tons of money, owns his own house.. yes it all seems so real. She mentions that to this very day due to this severe abuse she is now agoraphobic and will not leave her house, yet at the back of the book in the "about the author" section it states that when she is not working she "enjoys traveling camping, bike riding and swimming" none of which are usual activities for someone terrified to leave their house. How exactly does one travel and go camping without leaving the house? Even if this story were presented as fiction it is still poorly written and just plain ridiculous. FYI "anyways" is not a word no matter how many times you repeat it in a "book." but I will not even get into all the other grammatical errors, because there are too many to mention. The 5 star reviews come from people who have joined a web site where they get money sent to their paypal in order to buy this book, so that when they write their fake reviews it will show up as an amazon verified purchase. Also the author herself is the person that these reviews must be submitted to before they are posted and she will "correct" them if she finds them unsatisfactory. People are then paid for the review at that time, never once having stated that they received the book for free or that they were paid, and thus making anyone who is browsing see the "amazon verified purchase" and mistakenly assuming that gives any credence over honesty. As for it being such a great book that people read it in one day? well that may be due to it only being about 60 pages long. It can be read on your lunch break with time to spare. Any woman who has been through an abusive relationship will find this so called book insulting.

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Indignities of the Flesh -Bentley Little

"Herein you'll meet: the mischievous 'Rodeo Clown', who may very well be evil incarnate, or perhaps little more than an innocent bystander in a ring of coincidence; a man obsessed with dental hygiene to the point of stalking, in 'Brushing'; a cynic forced to tag along on an ill-advised trip to a faith healer in 'Documented Miracles'; a demented birthday girl whose equally demented birthday wishes are about to come true, in 'Happy Birthday, Dear Tama'; a family on the run from cartoonists in search of their god, in 'Loony Tune'; and a man who pays the ultimate price for circumventing a parking attendant in the never before published, 'Valet Parking'.

Rounding out the collection are 'The Black Ladies' and 'The Pinata', a pair of unsettling stories culled from childhood nightmares, and the surprisingly poignant 'Even the Dead', which documents the last days of a tender partnership between two friends, only one of whom is still alive.
Indignities of the Flesh is a superlative gathering of the kind of twisted, darkly humorous, and mind-bending stories for which Bentley Little is best known."

The first word that comes to mind is inconsistent. This is a book that is definitely worth a read but not really worth the hard cover price that I paid. The stories that are good, are very very good. The ones that are not, are just bland. There are 10 short stories in this collection, and of those 10 "Brushing" "Happy Birthday Dear Tamara" "The Black Ladies" "The Pinata" and "Valet Parking"  are the ones that stand out as very good.  The other 5 were just so so, not very scary and left me feeling that the endings were not ever truly complete.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

A Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”

"So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors—yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes, imbued on every page with Frank McCourt’s astounding humor and compassion, is a glorious book that bears all the marks of a classic."

This is the true story of a struggling Irish family during the depression. The description called it humorous and heartbreaking and while I agree with the heart break I found no humor in these pages. The sheer enormity of the suffering of the poverty stricken in that era nearly knocked me over. Children starving literally to death while their father drinks his entire pay check in the bar except for what he wastes buying drinks for others is not my idea of humor. A child so hungry he literally licks the grease off a newspaper made me want to cry, not laugh. This was a very emotional read for me, and had me wishing I could somehow go back in time and give these people a bag of groceries! Read it if you think you can tolerate the raw and savage emotions it will surely evoke.