Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig

Last year, I finally read and reviewed Gone With The Wind, it's a good book, but definitely pro-slavery. One of the characters, that I didn't mention in my review, was Mammy, a black slave that took care of Scarlett and Ellen, Scarlett's mother. I was so focused on the main characters (Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie and Ashley) that I basically neglected everyone else.

As a belated add on, I should mention that I found Mammy endearing.

In this spin-off, Mammy is given the name Ruth and her backstory is told. From her beginnings with Solange (Ellen's mother and Scarlett's grandmother) to her marriage to Jehu, and how she ended up going to Tara with Ellen, the author has used the small bits of information to re-tell her story.

For the most part, I found the story to be very interesting. However, while I was reading the book, I kept thinking:
Isn't Mammy supposed to be the main character? 
Most of the book isn't told from her perspective and the first section seemed to be about Solange and not Mammy. In fact, if I didn't know that this story was about Mammy, I would have assumed the protagonist was Solange. It's only when Mammy leaves and gets married to Jehu does the book start to focus on her. And only the last section (the last 90ish pages out of 290ish pages on my kindle) is told from her perspective.

And yet, while Mammy is telling the story, the focus is on Ellen and Scarlet. All in all, I had this curious sense that mammy, again, wasn't the central character of the book. She certainly is present throughout the book, but she feels like a supporting character rather than a main character.

Which is a pity because I was very interested in learning more about Mammy. In the original book, she's a loyal slave, and that's about it. While she certainly has more passion and feelings in this book, I think that it wasn't explored to the fullest extent.

In conclusion, this spin-off could have been great. The author has given Mammy a complex back-story, which could have evoked a lot of emotion from me. However, the nagging feeling that Mammy is, yet again, relegated to the sidelines is a major flaw that can't be overlooked.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday - Nutcracker and Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann

For reasons, I've started reading Nutcracker and Mouse King, which most of you will recognise as the famous ballet.

I borrowed this from the NLB eReads program, and I just realised this book contains two versions of the story - the original and the French retelling. I'm looking forward to seeing how different they are!

My teaser:

"Marie supposedly is still queen of a land where you can see sparkling Christmas Forests everywhere as well as translucent Marzipan Castles - in short, the most splendid and most wondrous things, if you only have the right eyes to see them with. 
And that was the tale of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King." 
What is your Teaser Tuesday?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

I haven't read Kristin Hannah's books lately, but when I first started blogging (I took a look, and I can't believe my reviews were so sparse and short last time! But that's for another blogpost - how reviews change :p), I went on a Kristin Hannah kick. I think it started when I went to the US and came back with a bunch of her books. So far, my absolute favourite book of her's is Magic Hour.

But this isn't a review of Magic Hour. It's a review of Fly Away, the sequel to Firefly Lane. And, for some reason, I don't think I've read Firefly Lane, although the title sounds really familiar to me.

Fly Away looks at what happens to a friendship when one of the two dies. Tully and Kate are best friends, through life's ups and downs. But then, Kate dies from cancer. Before that, the two had a two year quarrel, which I assumed was the focus on the book but wasn't (I guess that was the subject of Firefly Lane). The book looks at how Tully and Kate's family falls apart following Kate's death, as a critically-ill Tully tells Kate what has happened. At the same time, Kate's husband Johnny habours a grudge against Tully (I'm not too sure why, but I think it's about the quarrel), and tries to raise his three kids successfully. Tully's mother is trying to recconect with the daughter she believes is going down the same dangerous path she went. And Tully's accident is what brings them together.

I must say, this book kept me near tears from the start. I was actually reading this on the way to golf, which explains why I didn't actually cry. Any other time, and I think the waterworks would have flowed.

This book covers a whole host of issues, from abusive relationships, to grief, to parenting. I find it a complex novel, and I loved how all the characters existed in this web of relationships, instead of several different subplots. If you like character-driven novels, you'll probably like this.

I'm torn between wanting to pick up Firefly Lane, and not wanting to read it, for fear that it'll be spoilt because of this book.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quotetastic Saturday: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I was going to post more about WriteOn today, but they're having this "interview an editor" thing going on, and I want to see what happens before blogging more about the site.

So instead, I present another one of the quote posters that I made recently:


This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books: Fahrenheit 451. My other two favourite quotes from the book are:

"It was a pleasure to burn."
And
"I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane."

If I took the right photos, I'll definitely pair them together. If you really like this poster and want a hard copy, I present my Zazzle store (I chose the cheapest option for this poster, but it turned into a custom size, so I can't do anything about the price). Feel free to click on the link and look around :D
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 Poster
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 Poster by SweetTeaandFiction
Check out more Ray Posters at Zazzle
TODAY (18/10/2014) ONLY: 10% off when you quote WEEKENDS4FUN at checkout