Tuesday, September 30, 2008


WHEN WE WERE ROMANS by Matthew Kneale
Nan A. Talese, Publisher
ISBN: 978-0-385-52625-8

I had not been reading a whole lot lately and decided that I would ease my way back into my 20 plus ARC pile. I chose this book out of the pile mainly because it was only 224 pages long and I figured I could blow through it fairly fast. What follows are my thoughts on this book. Please read the entire review before deciding on this book.

I was hoping for something reasonably light. What I found was a well written book with lots of characters that I did not like. All of them had issues and not a tremendous amount of redeeming qualities. The early reviews likened this book to “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I spent most of the book wondering why. I truly fought my way through the book. The entire book was about the frustrations that the 9 year old protagonist was feeling. It starts out with his mother, his sister, and himself fleeing their cottage in England because of an abusive father that was stalking the family. They run away to Rome to stay with the mother “Hannah’s” friends from years before. The troubles just seemed to get from bad to worse. Slowly throughout the book certain truths started to become more and more apparent to the reader. Even though the story was sad and frustrating I found myself wanting to read more and more. I wanted to have something good start to happen. I wanted the truth to finally come out. Finally when I was done I could feel satisfied. The ending was the best that could have come out of a very bad situation. During the book I got the sense of being a voyeur watching a train wreck taking place. It was painful yet I just could not look away.
After I was done reading the book I started to really think about the character of the boy Lawrence that Matthew Kneale created. I don’t think I have ever seen a better job of creating the voice of a nine year old child hopelessly trying to hold his family together. Torn between his needs as a child and his desire to care for his mother was so perfect that I was unaware of anything but his view of his world. Then in the end the difficulty of overcoming the situation that he was placed in was perfectly portrayed.
If this book is not put on the classic shelf I expect that a hole will exist there than can never quite be filled. If you are looking for a light beach read this is not the book for you. If you want a book that makes you feel and explore the relationships of life this is for you. Highly Recommended

Sunday, September 14, 2008


It helps if both parties want to be in the relationship. This is my entry for the PhotoFriday Meme for 9-12-08

Saturday, September 13, 2008


By Da Chen
Published by Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-144759-4

Most Americans are aware of Fairy Tales based from a European background. Native American tales and African tales are also becoming more popular. The Chinese Tale, however. is not so well known in the west. This is a beautifully written book that describes what happens when a young Chinese girl reaches 15 and learns the truth about her father’s death. She now must face the challenges of avenging his death and the potential marriage to a man she has never met. All the while feeling the pressures of her mother and her community to do what is right.

If you have ever seen the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” it will help you to imagine what the beauty of Da Chen’s written words express. Through his words I can feel myself spinning in the air and flying through the trees.

As in all good tales this one has a moral to the story and an ending that will leave you surprised and satisfied. I had no idea what was coming in the ending until it came and I loved it. This book is only 229 small pages long. It gets you into the story quickly and resolves things equally fast. This is a great book for anyone who wants a good read with lots of heart.