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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Group

I went on vacation two weeks ago(one day I will post pictures and make you all jealous). One of the best parts ofthe trip was all of the time I had to read - such a luxury for me. I read several books and though I would give each of them a mini review. Listed in order of preference.

HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t.

I loved this book, the story was fascinating and gave me so much to think about. Jody Picoult has a pretty predictable style of writing which sometimes can get tired but it worked for this book. A-

Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He's always hungered for the love of the girl's self-obsessed mother. After she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly. Lulu's mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father's instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself. For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father's attempts to win parole may meet success.
The Murderer's Daughters is narrated in turn by Merry and Lulu. The book follows the sisters as children, as young women, and as adults, always asking how far forgiveness can stretch, while exploring sibling loyalty, the aftermath of family violence, and the reality of redemption.

The premise of this book was so sad to me. It was especially hard to realize that there are individuals every day that live with the same nightmare that LuLu and Merry had to endure. Makes me value my life even more. I would consider the book worth reading, good not great. B

That's when I saw him—the cowboy—across the smoky room." I'll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical, and a John Wayne western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn't looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall, rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I'd been struck with a lightning bolt . . . and I was completely powerless to stop it. Read along as I recount the rip-roaring details of my unlikely romance with a chaps-wearing cowboy, from the early days of our courtship (complete with cows, horses, prairie fire, and passion) all the way through the first year of our marriage, which would be filled with more challenge and strife—and manure—than I ever could have expected. This isn't just my love story; it's a universal tale of passion, romance, and all-encompassing love that sweeps us off our feet. It's the story of a cowboy. And Wranglers. And chaps. And the girl who fell in love with them.

I found this book wandering around Shopko. I didn't realize that it was actually a memoir, apparently a spin off of of the author's website/blog. It was cute, basiscally a fluff romance, however, it left me wanting a more complete picture of Ree Drummell's life. A perfectly good way to pass a few hours. B-

“I am a woman built upon the wreckage of myself.” In an emotionally raw voice alive with grief, compassion, and startling humor, a woman mourns the loss of her husband and son at the hands of one of history’s most notorious criminals. And in appealing to their executioner, she reveals the desperate sadness of a broken heart and a working-class life blown apart.

That description makes it seem like the book would be great, it wasn't. All of the charachters were so devoid of any morals and didn't appear to have any redeeming qualities. It made it hard for more to even feel sorry about the awful events that are described. I'm sure there are people who thought the book was great, this girl wasn't one of them.

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