I’m finally back with another segment of Lily’s Literature! I read a weird array of books this month–they were all very different from each other. I feel like if I read too many similar books in one go, I’ll get bored and stop reading altogether. In other news, I color coordinated my bookshelf. So yeah…that happened.
After my last book review post, I picked up the book She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. I had a lot of people tell me this was one of their favorite books, so I figured it was about time I checked it out. Right off the bat we’re introduced to the protagonist, Dolores. The novel follows her throughout her life, told in her voice. There are so many tragic events that happen to Dolores, which make for a good read, but also for a very sad character. There were often times when I was frustrated with her, but I think it was only because I hadn’t experienced her pain, and if I had lived through the kind of things that she had, I would be angry and wounded too.
I was incredibly impressed with Wally Lamb’s writing. As I kept getting deeper into Dolores’s life, I had to check online to make sure Wally wasn’t a woman himself–his writing was that convincing. He made his characters so real that there were times that I actually felt depressed from what I was reading. Like, one time my husband came home from work and he could tell I was sad and he was like, “Is everything okay?” And I was like, “Oh yeah. It’s just that one of the characters in my book is going through a really hard time right now.” Lolz. Anyway, I would totally suggest this great read to both men and women.
After that, I went in a completely different direction and picked up Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Now let’s be real. Vonnegut is a weirdo. But he’s creative and tells his stories beautifully and bluntly. The only Vonnegut I had read previous to this was Welcome to the Monkey House, a book of his short stories that I was assigned during my sophomore year in high school. What I concluded from his work then was that it was weird but good. I would still use that feeling to describe Slaughterhouse-Five. Weird but good.
I didn’t really know what to expect with this one, and after reading it, I knew I would’ve never been able to guess that the story would unfold the way it did. It was a story about a solider named Billy Pilgrim and his time in World War II. I’ve always kind of hated war related books, but this one was different. It was also sprinkled with a futuristic element because Billy is kidnapped by a race of aliens called Tralfamadorians. They live in a peaceful world and teach Billy a lot about himself and humanity.
This book won’t be for everyone. However, it was a quick read with interesting characters and a very creative spin on your typical war story.
Today, I just finished the memoir Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. This was a phenomenal account of what life was like in Limerick Ireland in the 30’s and 40’s. The story follows Frank’s family as they struggle to make ends meet. His “Mam” Angela tries to do the best she can for her many children even though her husband can’t find work, and when he does, he spends all his money on “the drink”. I loved the accents written into the story. It made everything come alive. There was so much detail. Everything was expressed through Frankie’s (a young Frank) mind–so observant and innocent.
One of the first lines of the book was, “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all.” True enough. Three of Frank’s siblings died of starvation and sickness, their clothes looked like rags, their “house” flooded when it rained (almost daily), and Angela would end up begging for money on the street. Life was rough for these folks. The story really brings to light what life was like in those days. As they would say in the book, Jasus and Mary Mother O’ God what a sorry sight.