Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mini Reviews: Blankets, The Magic Finger, The Monogram Murders

For Mini Reviews, I copy my reviews from Goodreads.  Unlike my blog reviews, when I write a review on Goodreads, I'm not interested in summarizing the book, but just jotting down notes for myself about my personal reaction.

view while I read
Blankets by Craig Thompson.  Graphic novel.  592 pages
Read all in one go, sitting by the lake while my kids swam. 3 stars.

Hmm. I had high expectations, which may be why I ended up somewhat disappointed.

I loved the art. I felt horrible for the various types of abuse Craig and his brother suffered. The trouble with memoir is always the lack of plot. The book focuses on his first love, how it gave him hope and a sense of self when he badly needed both, and how they both moved on when the relationship had served its purpose. But there were so many other elements competing for attention--the abuse (which in the case of his dad never really gets resolved or addressed, presumably because this is an on going relationship), the bullying, the crises of faith, Raina's family structure...I kept getting distracted, and I want to know more about some of those pieces. I'd been hoping to find a graphic novel/memoir I could recommend to all my Smile fans, but I don't think this is it.

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl.  Children's fantasy.  67 pages.  Read aloud as a bedtime story to my daughter.  3 stars.

Cute. My daughter started reading it to me, then I finished it for her. I can't believe I've never heard of it, as I read lots of Dahl as a kid. Quentin Blake's illustrations are always the perfect accompaniment.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.  Mystery featuring Agatha Christie's detective, Hercules Poirot.  320 pages.  Read on the back porch and couch over a period of 3 days.  3 stars

I was a huge Christie enthusiast in my early teens, but Poroit was actually my least favorite of her creations. Hannah's tale is a tad darker than most of Christie's (with the exception of Endless Night, which threw me for a loop in a big way), and there are very subtle hints that her narrator is gay, something that would not have been considered in the originals. The ending got a little convoluted, which is nothing out of the ordinary for this style of mystery. For the quality of the homage, I'd give the book a five, but no longer being such a fan of the style, or Poroit, it was just a three for me.

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