Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing by Janne Teller

From Goodreads:Nothing is the Lord of the Flies for the 21st century

Pierre Anthon left school the day he found out that it was not worth doing anything as nothing mattered anyhow. The rest of us stayed behind. And even though the teachers carefully cleared up after Pierre Anthon in the class room as well as in our heads, a bit of Pierre Anthon remained within us. Perhaps this is why things later happened the way they did ...

Thus begins the story of Pierre Anthon, a thirteen year old boy, who leaves school to sit in a plum tree and train for becoming part of nothing. "Everything begins just in order to end. The moment you were born you began to die, and that goes for everything else as well." Pierre Anthon shouts and continues: "The whole thing is just one immense play which is about pretending and about being best at exactly that."

Scared at the prospects that Pierre Anthon throws at them together with the ripening plums, his seventh grade classmates set out on a desperate quest for the meaning of life. Nothing they do will make him come down, not even pelting him with rocks. So to prove to Pierre Anthon that life has meaning, the children decide to give up things of importance. The pile starts with the superficial—a fishing rod, a new pair of shoes. But as the sacrifices become more extreme, the students grow increasingly desperate to get Pierre Anthon down, to justify their belief in meaning.

My review: This is a dark and sickening book. One star is lost because the characters aren't that great. Some of them were underdrawn, and some were so ridiculous you felt like you were looking at a charicature of an actual character. I mean, you can't tell me you didn't roll your eyes at the descriptions of either lady William or Holy Karl. *sighs*

The other star is lost on the story. I mean, it's a little stupid. Seventh grade intellectual realizes nothing is worth doing. So he does the obvious thing...climbs a plum tree. And then other kids take offense, until they decide to create a heap of meaning. So, of course, it progresses nicely...sandals...gerbil...prayer mat...dead baby...wait, what? Yeah. Stupid. Dark, but still really stupid.

It's like the car wreck you can't stop looking at. I flipped the pages like mad, but I must say that I was really waiting for it to be over for a lot of it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

From Goodreads: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Review: There is only one way to review this book for me, and that is to tell you how my emotions were throughout it.
Beginning: I was thinking, "Oh, okay, so Markus Zusak can write. That's really cool."
Middle: "Wait, DEATH is narrating this? The eff? That's so cool! And this is a super interesting book."
Middle-end: "Something tells me I'm going to be really sad really soon."

Why, Markus Zusak? Why must you reduce me to mush with this book? Gawd. I was bawling at the end. Like a freaking baby. And books NEVER make me cry, unless they're this, The Kite Runner, or, okay, I cried a bit during The Fault in Our Stars. To me, that signifies nothing other than great writing!

I won't tell you the line, becuase it *may* spoil the ending for you if you're a thinker, but it was this one thing that Death said in his narrative that just made me go WAAAAAAAH.

Oh my god. This is a bad review. But that just tells you how I feel about this book. It stepped all over me.