Saturday, April 22, 2006

Book Review X 2

Ok, I am going to get back to the vacation pictures soon. But I wanted write up this entry before I forgot about it.

I've just finished two good books and wanted to share about them.

The first one is non-fiction quasi-self-help. It's It Will Never Happen to Me by Claudia Black. This book helps us understand the roles children in alcoholic families develop and the problems these roles create in adult relationships. It offers ways to break these patterns as well.

I was not raised in an alcoholic family, however I found the information in this book extremely helpful to understanding my own family dynamic. Some people think that alcoholism has a tendency to jump generations - the children of an alcoholic might have a strong resistance to alcohol after seeing it's effects first-hand on their lives. However, the behaviors these children of alcoholics learn by example from their alcoholic and enabling parents can be passed on to their children. It creates a legacy of dysfunction. It Will Never Happen to Me helps to identify these behaviors and provides strategies to move away from them.

While on vacation in Georgia (and right after reading It Will Never Happen to Me), I read A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. This book won a Pulitzer Prize and lots of other awards. That being said, I was a little disappointed. It is a good book - not a great book. I just couldn't get "into" the characters. I read the book but I didn't feel the book. The author goes a bit over the top - piling on plot twists and not exploring what's going on.

What I found wildly interesting was the revelations I had reading this book right after reading It Will Never Happen to Me. Smiley does a wonderful job novelizing the personality injuries/defects that people suffer from growing up in an alcoholic/abusive home that were explored in It Will Never Happen to Me. Either Smiley is writing from personal experience or she did a wonderful job in her research and is indeed a talented writer - in the way she develops characters scarred from abuse.

A Thousand Acres also provides a window into the economic death of American family farms and it's impact (erasure) on communities.

My current book is Myra Breckinridge by Gore Vidal. So far I have been shocked by this book published in 1968. It's funny, witty, and highly irreverent. My favorite line so far is, "Myra Breckinridge is a dish, and never forget it, you motherfuckers, as the children say nowadays."

5 Comments:

At 4/22/2006 3:30 PM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

Jane Smiley wrote many books, but Stones From the River is by Ursula Hegi.

Pedantically yours,
Savtadotty

 
At 4/22/2006 5:16 PM, Blogger John said...

SD: God, I need an editor and proofreader!!! I've deleted the sentence you're referring to. It was confusing for sure.

I was kind of rushed while writing this - I just gave myself the time it took for me to finish one cup of coffee to write the post. So, I was just cramming thoughts in...

Have you read Stones? I l.o.v.e.d. it!

 
At 4/22/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive heard you say before that you loved Stones. But I could not stand it. It is one of the few books that I read half and then just stopped and never picked it back up. Im now reading , Reading Lolita in Tehran. It is a hard book. I dont do well with nonfiction. It is making me stretch. cdodson

 
At 4/22/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

I'm afraid I did not love Stones. I thought it was contrived and kitschy. I'm sad about that, because it was a gift from my daughter and I usually admire her taste in books.

 
At 4/23/2006 10:22 AM, Blogger John said...

Hey CD! How's Durham? It's been in the news lately! Yuck. I hope all is well with you!

I've heard a lot about Reading Lolita in Tehran but haven't read it yet. I should put it on my list.

SD:I felt the same way about A Thousand Acres. But for some reason, I really got into Stones. I guess different strokes for different folks. :-)

 

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