Friday, September 13, 2013

Pilate's Wife

Antoinette May takes the important tale of Christ and Pontius Pilate and puts a spin on it, telling it from a woman, Claudia, Pilate's wife, via her life story. Pilate's Wife is an intellectual read, but once the story is started, it's hard to stop reading. Truthfully, I'm not very knowledgeable about this time period in history, nor do I buy that this is the "true story" of Christ, but it's an interesting theory. Under the genre of historical fiction, I found it a very interesting read. I recommend it to any who enjoy reading about women in history. 4 Stars. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Kindness of Strangers

Katrina Kittle's The Kindness of Strangers is a touching novel about a widow and her two boys who welcome a third, and troubled, young boy into their home and their lives. The Kindness of Strangers deals with sensitive topics, but is a compelling read. Kittle's style and the story itself remind me a lot of Jodi Picoult. It's one of those books where you don't want to like it, because you don't want to like the terrible things that happen, but you enjoy reading it. It really draws you in. The characters are realistic and really stick with you. I highly recommend this novel to the mature, sophisticated young adult or adult reader. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place

I bought Refuge for a nonfiction class at UVU (same class where I read An Elemental Thing), but it ended up not being read in class, and it took me until now to read it. Refuge is Terry Tempest Williams' female family history told alongside the story of The Great Salt Lake and her migratory birds. 
It was really hard for me to get into the novel. Chapters opened with different numbers, water level, number of birds, etc. Numbers are hard for me to comprehend, so the significance of the numbers at the beginning of each chapter was missed by me. It also felt like things weren't exactly in order, which was hard for me to understand. It was unclear when things were happening in the timeline. I also felt that Refuge has a very narrow demographic as to who would be most drawn to it. I know it's not something I would pick up off a shelf and take home myself. I give it 3 stars.

The Storyteller

The latest Jodi Picoult book, The Storyteller, is not quite a book I would classify as a "Jodi Picoult" book. I'd classify it as a Holocaust novel instead; it is very much unlike all her other works. Picoult tries to make it her own, make it thought provoking, but for me, it's simply a Holocaust novel. The Storyteller is three stories in one, the past, the present, and the allegory. I enjoyed all three aspects, and felt that they could all stand independently, in fact, I would have been fine without the "present" story. Generally, though, I feel that way about all past/present historical fiction novels. 
So, I did like it. The characters were real, imperfectly so. The story was compelling. I enjoyed reading it, couldn't put it down at parts. The questions of the novel, "Can you forgive the unforgivable?" and "Where is the line between justice and mercy?" did not impact me on the level I would have liked them to, nor did I bond with Sage since I feel I would have made different choices. And yet, I am not Jewish. My grandmother was not in a concentration camp. A Nazi Officer has not asked me to forgive him. This isn't a realistic question for me. I would like to think one way, but until you're in the situation yourself, can you really know how you would respond? I'm not sure. 
The Storyteller is not an original novel, but it is a good read. I highly recommend it. 4.5 Stars.