If you don’t know about my Lily’s Literature posts by now, you’re obviously not a true fan and I hate you. Basically these pieces are reviews of the last three books that I’ve read. For my previous reviews you can click HERE and HERE and even HERE. So yeah you should get on that.
I recently picked up the popular semi-real semi-fake memoir, A Million Little Pieces written by James Frey. There was a lot of media commotion attached to this book after Oprah found out that Mr. Frey embellished some parts of his story. I could honestly care less. If a book is good, then it shouldn’t matter what’s real and what’s not. The story is pretty unbelievable so the fact that parts of it are true makes it even better.
At first I was frustrated by James and his situation. As a reader, the minute James introduces himself you become aware that he’s not in a good place. He’s an addict and he’s used almost everything possible (alcohol, cocaine, heroine, glue, gas, etc.). He eventually ends up in rehab, not willing to listen to anyone trying to help him. He wants to do things his way or the highway. The book shows him grow as a person through his observations and lots of therapy. Mr. Frey’s writing style is short and choppy, unique and easy to follow. If you’re in the mood for a real gritty read, you should probably pick this one up.
After that I grabbed Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Besides having the longest title of all time, it proved to be a very interesting read. I actually had a love/hate relationship with this book. Well, not as extreme as love/hate. More like love/meh.
The novel tells two stories, one being how the Chicago World’s Fair exposition came to be, and the other about a serial killer lurking in the area. Hence the title Devil in the White City. Mr. Larson does a fantastic job bringing to life what the architects had to endure to make the fair a success. You learn so much about the city designers, as well as some famous names such as George Ferris (inventor of the Ferris Wheel) and Nikola Tesla (conductor of electricity), and even Buffalo Bill. After a while, I started to get bored from learning all the facts and started to long for the juicy serial killer story line. That part of the book really kept me going while also amazing me that in the 1890’s you could basically get away with whatever you wanted. Even murder.
Today I finished reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. I had a couple of people recommend this book to me and I just don’t understand the appeal. The book itself is only 100 pages which seems do-able. But like my friend Carter told me today, they were the longest 100 pages of my life.
The story is narrated by a sailor named Marlow who recounts his trip into the depths of the African jungle down along the Congo. He explains the dreariness of it all and talks about the “horrors of colonialism.” Throughout the book I was looking forward to meeting a character named Kurtz who had made himself somewhat of a legend in the ivory trading business. The natives worship the man and the other sailors are fascinated by him. I wasn’t wowed at all, to be honest. Most of the book was a lot of long thoughts that weren’t of particular interest to me. It was written well, but I just couldn’t get into it. My apologies Mr. Conrad. Actually, no. Mr. Conrad should apologize to me.