Tuesday, November 10, 2015
This novel is another great one to make you think. Is intelligence worth losing people who care about you (even if you didn't realize they were actually making fun of you)? Is it fair to lay claim to a person just because they were a part of an experiment? Is a person of less intelligence less of a human? Keyes weaves these questions into the story, addressing them both directly and indirectly. Furthermore, even if the reader doesn't realize it, they are thinking about these questions all the way through. The reader is forced to form an opinion on what happens to Charlie because we feel for him.
I loved the complexity of this novel. It was such an abstract idea, and Keyes answers its questions beautifully. The characters are top-notch. Keyes is even able to give Algernon a life of his own, without overdoing it. He doesn't take away from the fact that the story is Charlie's.
The book is told from Charlie's point of view in the form of his progress reports, which I thought was absolutely perfect. We see at the beginning that Charlie has trouble writing and understanding things. He has many spelling mistakes and practically no punctuation. The reader is able to watch as Charlie's language and writing progress rapidly throughout the story.
I also enjoyed the ending. I appreciated that it wasn't a romantic type of ending. It was realistic. Don't get me wrong, I love happy endings. But there's something to be said when an author isn't afraid to take a more realistic approach, especially with a story like this.
Rating: 4/5 for a brilliant novel that takes the reader on an intellectual journey. Keyes weaves an intricate story full of rich characters, tough questions, and a heart-wrenching ending that leaves the reader intrigued and satisfied all the way through.
Monday, November 2, 2015
LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD is a novel by Truman Capote fellow Ava Dellaira. This beautiful debut novel follows Laurel, a freshman in high school trying to come to terms with her older sister, May's, death. Told in the form of letters to famous dead people (like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Judy Garland, and Amelia Earhart, to name a few), the reader is taken on a captivating journey that everyone who's been to high school can relate to. Although not everyone, myself included, has lost someone that we admire as much as Laurel admires May, there is such raw emotion in Dellaira's words that we can all feel what Laurel goes through.
Dellaira's poetic writing style is so pleasing. Nothing captures emotion like a good poem, and these letters are no exception. I could feel everything that Laurel goes through - the heartbreak, the anger, the frustration, and even the acceptance.
After reading the novel, I read many comments about how
much this story helped readers that had lost someone close to them. I understand why. Dellaira creates such a realistic character in Laurel. She experiences not only sadness for losing May, but also anger at her sister for leaving her. She is left to deal with her mother leaving, her father not being overly involved, as well as her own grief.
I have a sister. She's my best friend. This story hit so close to home for me. It made me think about how I would feel if I lost her. It made me tear up, and any book that's able to touch me so personally will always be a favorite of mine.
Rating: 5/5 for a heartfelt, coming-of-age story that so many can relate to. Dellaira's poetic writing style and raw emotion provide a story that is heartbreaking and heart-healing.