Sunday, October 28, 2012

Summer-Reading Mini Reviews

Assigned Summer Reading Mini-Reviews

I read both of these books over the summer, so I don’t remember them as well as I would remember a recent read.  Therefore, I’ve decided to combine them both into two min-reviews and one post.  Enjoy! 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in BrooklynThe beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.
When I first picked up this book, I was a little hesitant to read it.  It seemed really long and a tiny bit dry.  I was also a bit turned off when the introduction stated that the book was about “nothing in particular.”  I thought I’d be wasting my time, but I was pleasantly surprised.  My parents actually grew up in Brooklyn and we are there very often, so it was interesting to read about places I’ve been to.  I also became really attached to each of the characters.  Even though Katie eventually became fed up with Johnny Nolan, I loved him.  He was just such a classic character and when Neely grew up to be just like him, I loved it.  Francie and Katie were also special to me.  I felt bad for Francie with everything she’d been through and the way she had to live.  I was always sympathetic for Katie, being the one in charge of the Nolan family and having to deal with all of the stress.  I even loved Aunt Sissy, even though she made many mistakes, she still ended up being one of my favorite characters.  Oh and Laurie was adorable (: .
I also loved the element of time in the story.  I got to “watch” Johnny and Katie fall in love, Francie and Neely grow up, and everything along the way.  The story followed three generations, which was pretty cool.  
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing coming of age novel, that could be described as dry at a few parts, but was definitely worth reading.  I absolutely loved it.

Final Grade: 

Farenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic novel of a post-literate future, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ stands alongside Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
As you now know, I experienced a bit of luck with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  This book, however, wasn’t so great.  I’m not one to bash an author’s work, I just really didn’t like it.
Farenheit 451 was confusing at times, with things not being fully explained.  I felt like I was supposed to guess what was going on.  I had trouble connecting to Mildred, but at least Guy was relatable.  I understood his feeling with being torn between two options.  I liked Clarisse McClellan for adding a little bit of interest to the story.  Otherwise, I thought the book was really slow and hard to understand.  I felt like it really could’ve been condensed a lot.  Needless to say, it is a classic, so some people do happen to enjoy it.

Final Grade:

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