book fervor

After much hesitating, I finally went ahead and read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I saw the movie and was not impressed. I was more impressed with the book, although I wouldn't rave about it to anyone as great literature. Looking for a good story that will make you cry? Read this book. Looking for great literature? Skip it. The writing was sometimes painful (obnoxious similes), and some of the characters were mechanical. As I read, I knew they were characters. I didn't believe in them (e.g. Gomez). But here's what I liked: the allusion to The Odyssey and the allegorical nature of the novel, representing how people manage (or don't manage) stress, the danger of getting stuck in the past, and the struggle to overcome loss.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat (love that name!) is a beautiful but sad, difficult book about a young Haitian girl who immigrates to the U.S. to live with her mother. She learns that her mother conceived her through a brutal rape, and her mother still suffers from the trauma. The mother and daughter's relationship derails, and it takes all of their strength and will to come back together again. I wouldn't recommend this book to many; it's saturated with pain, poverty, abuse, and death. However, it's well written with strong, believable, and often fierce characters.

P.S. My 11th graders (7 out of 10 of them will tell you they do not like to read at all) and I are enjoying reading aloud A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. If you haven't read it, do so now! Then watch the film version starring Sidney Poitier.

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