RED Shack...Warning! SPOILERS! Don't read if you don't want to know the end.

This is my personal reading blog. Complete with spoilers. Currently reading: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Several books....Stephanie Plum and Nancy Harmon

I've read several books since my last post:

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
Where are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark

I've also been rereading The Things We Do for Love by Kristin Hannah.

Comments on the Stephanie Plum novels by Evanovich:

I loved reading these books. I loved the first more than the second, possibly for the sheer novelty of it. I love the first-person voice, I love the fact that the narrator has a hamster. By the end of the second book, I have to admit I was a little tired of Mr. Joe Morelli. He always shows up at the perfect time, and it sometimes gets a little annoying. Maybe I just feel that his character is too cliche. Whereas, while Stephanie Plum may fit some stereotypes, her character is not cliche at all. I also enjoy reading Stephanie's descriptions of the New Jersey setting. I've tentatively started the third book, but not completely. Am I afraid that once I get into it, I won't be able to put it down? Perhaps. I shall start reading it early in the day.

One more comment: I'm really not all that familiar to the 'mystery''s a little embarrassing to admit! I'm interested now to read some books in the genre that are older, more classic. Though this series, started in 1995, seems to be a modern classic.

Comments on Where Are the Children? by Higgins Clark

I appreciated this book more after I was finished with it. It was published in 1975, and this fact is extremely obvious to me. The repetitive use of the word "must" was especially vexing to my modern day reader-mind. But, that's the sort of stuff you note once and then read through the rest of the book, trying not to let it bother you.

The thing I notice most about this book is that it is incredibly tightly written. (later: now I remember one chapter was so full of...ellipses...I almost got...nauseous) There are several viewpoints, even over halfway through the book (I'd have to double-check that but I'm pretty sure) we're still getting introduced to new characters with new viewpoints that add to the reader's knowledge and suspense. The novel takes place over the course of one day, and manages to convey so much information that I'm left thinking, Wow. She's good. Yes, I really was mentally screaming at the characters, "No, you didn't kick that glove out of your car!" "You'd better talk to those people in the waiting room!" ...even though I knew (by a bad habit of wanting to always know the last line before or soon after I begin reading the book) that the children would be okay. Well, just another note: the chapters are extremely short.

But, still...I don't know that I liked the actual story that much. Is it wrong to say, I liked the way the story was written, the tightness of it, the way the plot unfolded, but I didn't quite like the story itself? I don't know if it's entirely possible, but it's a little like the way I feel about this book. Maybe this is just the difference between the impact of an idea in 1975 and 2005, but I felt that the themes - incest, child abuse - are used for the pure shock of them. In other words, it's almost as if they are being exploited because the author knew, absolutely knew, that the vast majority of readers would be instantly engaged because of the moral necessity of it. But, that's part of what makes it a classic book, I suppose. You can't fault the writer for wanting to write something that would make a lot of people invest their emotions in the work. Isn't that the point?


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