Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed
Wally Lamb


I'm pretty sure I told every single person I know that I was reading this book. I loved every minute of reading it. I loved every 728 pages of this book. I'm not even sure how to describe this book. I suppose you could say it was like one of those Pillsbury peel apart biscuits. It was just layer after layer and it all connected into a heap of amazing-ness that is The Hour I First Believed.

I'm one of those people who, when reading a book, like to be completely ignorant of the plot and any detail about the book before I read it. A few years ago, I read She's Come Undone, also by Wally Lamb, and I couldn't stop reading it. Anyway, I picked up The Hour I First Believed because this girl at work said that she read another Wally Lamb book, but I couldn't remember the title of it, so I picked up this beast. I had no idea what it was about and I refused to read the book jacket. I assumed that it had something to do with God or a god, but that's all the title gave me. It did have to do with God, but it had to do with everything else, too. It had to do with Columbine, drugs, depression, ancestors and some crazy family history. The narrator, Caelum Quirk has, for lack of a better word, quirks. He's such a good guy, a great husband and mentor.

Normally when I read a book, I like to connect with the characters in some way. You know, be able to see a little of myself in them, relate to them in some way. Not with Wally Lamb. His characters are nothing like me or like I can see myself ever being. However, I love all of them. They're amazing, strong and dynamic. I want to be like them. They don't annoy me because they aren't proud, they just are. I feel like I can't really say all of this after only reading two books, but two amazing books they are.

The Hour I First Believed is a fictional story set in nonfictional circumstances. When I was reading this book, I was like "wow, this is so creative" then I sat there and decided that I've read dozens of other war books that were fictional yet nonfictional, so I thought that it wasn't that original. But this book, it's so believable, you feel like you're reading a first hand account of a couple who both worked in Columbine High School and survived the shootings. Who lived through the shootings and how much it affected them.

Nothing but amazing. Nothing but perfection. I would read this if I were you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the Dolls
Jacqueline Susann


First off, my mom wanted me to read this book, and as always the obliging daughter, I did. I can't lie, though, I enjoyed this book as much as the next middle-aged housewife who hates her life. I'm just making a general assumption and say that's who reads this book. It's honestly really a good book though. Not a thought-provoking, Pulitzer Prize winning type book, but a good read. It's a Soap Opera that unfortunately ends (yes, I realize there is a sequel but I'm going to save that for the beach along with the sequel to Gone With the Wind). There are three central characters: Anne (who is, in my opinion, overrated. She's a beautiful, mysterious New Englander who moves to New York and, of course, lands a cushy secretarial job and has all of these rich men fawning over her. Oh, by the way, this takes place in the 40's through the 60's. Anne eventually ends up with a guy who cheats on her with her "best friend") Neely (she starts off as an eager 17 year old who wants nothing more than to be famous on Broadway, and she eventually, with Anne's help, becomes the most celebrated singer/actress in show business. But, alas, she becomes addicted to pills aka "dolls" and ends up in a Funny Farm as they call it. She gets her come back though, ruins some lives, mainly her own, and goes on her way) and last but not least, my favorite, Jennifer (She has all of these actual problems. She doesn't whine and cry like Anne. When I read the book I pictured her as Megan Fox, but apparently she has blonde hair. Clearly I don't read the details very well. Her story is tragic though, my favorite kind.)

The characters, while not well-developed, were able to capture your attention even if you didn't like them. Case and point: Anne. Anne ruined the whole book for me, to be honest. She was boring and selfish and not drug addicted. Boring. She got what ever she could possibly want, yet it wasn't enough. I really didn't put this book down for more than ten minutes a day. It was that good.

I'm not entirely sure if I loved it so much because I love that time period and anything that has to do with Hollywood, or if it was just a good book.

Now I have to make the big decision: Do I watch the movie now or after I read the sequel. I can't wait for Anne to get addicted to dolls because that's obviously what's coming in Shadow of the Dolls