Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: From a Crooked Rib

From a Crooked Rib
From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I struggled with how to rate this book. As a feminist, of course I admired Farah's portrayal of the sexist culture that oppresses women in Somalia and how a struggle against the current cultural beliefs and structures are difficult, if not impossible to break out of, for the individual.

For Ebla, the main character, every time she attempts to find freedom and independence, she further ties herself to people whom mistreat and take advantage over her. As the narrative continues, it is difficult to understand Ebla's true intentions as she struggles against these forces, and the intentions of those she finds herself depending on and using her.

I found Farah's narrative difficult to follow at times, and found the partial portrayal into Ebla's thoughts and actions frustratingly seperated from the actual core of the book's unfolding plot. I believe Farah meant to keep the reader disconnected from Ebla and the other characters to help convey Ebla's confusion as she encountered various situations and characters throughout the narrative, not knowing who she could trust or not trust, and how the intentions of each character may not be what they seem.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: The White Tiger

The White Tiger
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'd anticipated reading The White Tiger for months and months and was really disappointed by it. None of the book was terribly interesting, and while the writing was okay, it wasn't great. I know it's supposed to be an analogy for how India is corrupt, and what it takes to move across castes and economic spheres, but the book felt flat, along with many of Adiga's one-dimensional characters.

I would suggest A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry as an alternative to The White Tiger. Mistry is a far superior writer, the story is more complex and interesting, and it encompasses many of the same themes, ie. corruption and poverty in India.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Queenpin

Queenpin by Megan Abbott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My very first Megan Abbott read (recommended to me by, my new favorite nerd website, that appears to be down right now). This was wonderful fun, all the way through. A perfect antidote to my February flu.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a gem of a book, full of useful ideas and tips... and not so useful ideas and tips (please do not add any rabbit excrement to your salads, or play any of Amy's prized "childrens games" - you will be sued).

Amy is, as always, delightful. Strange, uncomfortably earnest in her bizarre concepts, but delightful. I would highly recommend listening to the audiobook read by Amy.

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