Something Borrowed

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin

As chic lit goes, this one was fine. Lifelong BFF's Rachel and Darcy are now living the glamorous life in Manhattan... but beautiful Darcy has the hot fiance and all the luck, while Rachel just has long hours as an underling lawyer and her 30th birthday. The story was good, and I completely related to the protagonist. Not only was her name Rachel too, but she was the quiet, deferential best friend who couldn't believe someone would be interested in her. This is who I was in college, but I hope I've learned how to be kinder to myself since then... not to mention I have better friends now, too.

It's a good story, but none of the characters are very exemplary and as such, Hollywood is releasing the movie next summer.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wilson, by Daniel Clowes

I found this from the sewing blog (with anti-establishment leanings) Angry Chicken and immediately reserved it from my local library. I like graphic novels, even if I'm a little late to the party. I enjoy seeing how authors use the artwork and medium to say something new. Also, the sarcastic humor appeals to a Calvinist like me, and I thought this one was pretty funny.

Wilson is a clueless, lonely, middle-aged man who is so aware of his own suffering he can't realize that his own self-focus has directly caused so much pain. Dark things happen, but his reactions are funny because of the total lack of self-awareness.  I enjoyed the drawings, too, as the style varied on each page but the mood stayed the same. Each page is set up as a stand-alone episode, kind of like reading a collection of comics, except with heartbreak and a few felonies. The language and situations are most definitely R-rated, by the way, so don't read this, Mom and Carol.

Wilson: won't pick it up it again, didn't like him, and a depressing read. All in all, an excellent graphic novel.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larsson

Don't read this book.

I feel so strongly about this, that I came out of my self-imposed bloggy exile to review it. The orginal title was "Men who Hate Women" and it's much more accurate than "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", especially considering the girl in question had many tattoos which were much more meaningful, the dragon tattoo was only mentioned once in the entire book, and it was mostly about a male financial journalist, anyway.

On the whole, it was a thriller that completely absorbed me, even if it was a bit long-winded at times. Set in Sweden, it's about Lisbeth Sander, a social outcast with an uncanny gift of finding out information about other people, and Michael Blomkvist, a discredited journalist convicted of libel against a huge corporation. But the story quickly devolves into violence, and doesn't come out again until the very end of the story. Lisbeth is a strong character, but not entirely believable, in my opinion. Her retribution against her attacker left me feeling just as sick as the original crimes. Men who hate women keep appearing throughout the story, and the hatred and violence was described in too much violence for me--I wish I could get the descriptions out of my head.

So why show this much evil in a book? What good can it possibly do? I think that the increasing openness of our culture has created the benefit of increasing awareness of crimes, but on the other hand it desensitizes us against all the ugliness out there. Even worse, I'm sure there were some readers who enjoyed reading detailed descriptions of the abuse (a high probability among the many copies sold across Europe and America) and who knows what it may have triggered in already-twisted people. One could argue that there is a sense of thwarted justice running through the book and most chapters opened with grim foreshadowing about statistics about domestic violence, assault, and victimization in Sweden. But at the end of the story, the plot turns again to financial intrigue and secret Swiss bank accounts, abandoning the heart of the book. Even though the bad guys eventually meet ruin, the legacy of violence remains.

So what if you're like me, who gets very upset by violence against women? You support International Justice Mission, support your local women's shelters, and don't read this book.