Latest books… (well, you wouldn’t want to run out now!)

A few more books because, well, it would be rude not to…

Books:

  1. photo-2If you Find Me – Emily Murdoch
  2. Panic – Lauren Oliver
  3. The Falconer – Elizabeth May
  4. American Elsewhere – Robert Jackson Bennett

Kindle:

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
  2. Alice in Zombieland, Gena Showalter

Library:

  1. The Shining (currently reading) – Stephen King
  2. The Doll’s House – Neil Gaiman

(Apols for blurry photo – I’m photophobic – even when I’m not the photo’ee but the photo’er)

What you gagging to own??

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Okay, just finished reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  This story is told by Lena.  As the story unfolds we discover the world in which she lives.  A world where love is thought to be a disease, the route of all evil almost.   A dystopian society where love is not forbidden but wiped out by the cut of a scalpel.  Lena has been brought up knowing when she reaches the age of 18 she will undergo surgery, the result of which will ensure she never feels emotion, and, she is looking forward to the procedure.  She’s lived in fear of becoming ‘infected’ with love, particularly as her mother was so susceptible to the disease and remained infected in spite of numerous attempts to cure her.

Well, this book has definitely provoked a lot of thinking on my part not to mention mixed feelings.

I think Lauren Oliver is a wonderful author.  Last year I read her debut novel Before I Fall which was a fantastic book and I was therefore eagerly anticipating this book.  LO’s writing is truly lovely and delightful to read.  The writing flows so easily and although this may seem effortless I have such enormous respect for somebody who can write something that is so enjoyable to spend time reading.  I think LO could write instructions on how to assemble a wardrobe and make it interesting.  That being said I will point out that this story is definitely a slow burner, there isn’t particularly any action or drama but more the slow dawning of light that the world in which Lena lives is not all it’s supposed to be.  I don’t mind the lack of action, in fact it is a nice change of pace but anybody expecting people who rise up to fight against the authority’s and take matters into their own hands may be disappointed.  (Although you can’t rule out a rebellion in the future novels of course.)

Basically, I am struggling to understand a few things.  For example, how the world in which Lena lived ever actually came about.  What was the trigger that set in motion this complete change in everybody’s way of life – what convinced them to undertake such a radical change.  Don’t get me wrong, I can understand that somebody desperately hurt by a failed romance might think they never want to go through the same feelings again, even though eventually these feelings will fade or change.  I can see that by quelling people’s emotions this also happens to eliminate rage, despair, envy, etc,.  I just can’t picture the trigger. In developing this procedure you eliminate all feelings.  You have no feelings for your family, you have no inclination to hug your own children and you certainly wouldn’t tell them you love them.  I cannot, for the love of all things normal, ever imagine a world in which people would undergo a procedure that leaves them with no emotions for anyone – especially when for the first 18 years of their lives they do experience these emotions (even if in controlled circumstances).  And yet we have a world where people know that after the procedure they will ignore their former best friends.  It’s sort of based on a premise that love is a disease and lists lots of different symptoms such as lack of appetite, poor concentration, etc, etc,.  But that is only one type of love and people are capable of loving such a wide variety of people.  You love your parents, your children, your best friend, even your pet!  Also, we do have quite a number of rather ‘mean’ people in the story and I wonder why cruelty seems to remain as a trait in certain people after the procedure?

Another area that I’m struggling a little with is the age 18 barrier for the procedure.  Put simply, I cannot believe that here we have teenagers, going through rampant hormone developments and yet managing to reach the age of 18 and just walking to hospital to undergo a procedure that they know will affect them so dramatically – and that’s just if the procedure is a success.  I also struggle to believe that so many of them reach the age of 18 without more incidences of infection.  Obviously the teenagers are segregated in school, they are supervised continually and kept fairly busy, not to mention a strict curfew is imposed. But, come on, everybody has had a crush at some point, even if it was just somebody you saw on the bus each day or in the shop each weekend.  I can’t believe that all these teenagers (given a few exceptions) don’t end up falling in love or having secret liaisons. Teenagers can be quite creative – just look how easy it was for Hana to find out about secret ‘raves’ and to take part.

A more minor point is that personally I would have welcomed more information on the society itself.  Some of the areas just didn’t quite gel.  We have a society where cars have become virtually extinct, presumably oil is difficult to come by, what about trucks, lorries, etc, how do the people manage to have the goods and food that they have, do they all walk everywhere?  There is no detail about everyday functionality.  In one respect they have computers and mobiles but then in other respects they seem to live a much more basic existence than that which we know.  The community appears to be really small and enclosed and yet they don’t seem to struggle for everyday products – I suppose that’s all a bit banal really and I suppose you just have to go with the flow.  To be honest I can do without that information and read the story as it is using my own imagination, it’s just that when you’re reading about a society that is so different from the one in which you live you can’t help hankerking after the finer details.

Now, after all that, I will say that I really enjoyed reading this book and it took me no time at all to complete because it was so well written.  I absolutely without doubt will pick up the next two novels as I am really keen to know the outcome to the main characters, not to mention some of my questions might be resolved later on.  Also, I love a book that makes me think and this book definitely does that!

Rating -A

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Posted On 25 December 2010

Filed under Book Reviews
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I loved this book!

This is a story about Sam, an eighteen year old girl who is amongst the popular crowd at school.  She’s the girl with a perfect life, perfect friends and a perfect boyfriend.  I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that at the start of the book Sam dies in an accident whilst returning home from a party.  However, the next day she wakes up again to relive the same day over.  And so starts the story of Sam reliving the day of her death over and over until she comes to the realisation of what she has to do to break the cycle.

I finished this book last night – after reading it in two days, and didn’t want to write anything about it at first because I was a bit overwhelmed.  I think this book is so well written.  LO has done an amazing job getting into the hearts and minds of these teenagers.  Their hopes and fears, their meanness to each other, their way of thinking and speaking.  There are genuinley funny moments countered by very sad and touching ones.  It’s just really moving watching Sam change over the course of the week as she watches how the smallest change in her day can have a major impact on the other people around her.  Contrary to many people I actually didn’t strongly dislike Sam, even at the start of the story.  She always came over to me as someone who is not completely happy with her own choices but she’s basically been living like that for so long that she’s forgotten how to be any different.  Her and her friends are the popular girls of the school which basically means they are incredibly mean, shallow and self centred – and obviously gorgeous with bodies to die for that they know how to dress! B ut, even reading Day 1 there are small points where you can see that Sam is not totally all that she seems in fact she stills seems bewildered that she is part of the ‘popular’ crew at all.  In fact Sam’s friends (and boyfriend) are also not how they seem – facts that she will discover during the course of the week.

Basically the book is a bit of a cross between Groundhog Day and Mean Girls but I love the concept of it.  I love the idea that Sam has the chance to go back to that day and do something different to change the lives of the other people in the story.  I also found it really touching to watch her as she came to realise that she’d never see her family again (except on this one day of course) and never get to watch her sister get older. I liked the way that in spite of her friend’s (and her own) faults she realised that she genuinley loved them.  And, I really found myself caring about Sam and how her story would end.  I also felt so sad for her family, waking up each day and getting on with their daily lives with no idea that Sam was replaying the day of her death.

To me, this story was about a number of things.  Living life fully every day because you don’t get the chance to do it again.  Being conscious of your actions and how they affect others and remaining true to yourself.

The ending of the book is bittersweet but I think it’s the most fitting way that it could end really.

I really enjoyed this book and would have no hesitation in recommending it to others – although in tems of the YA audience there are references to drugs, sex and alcohol.

Rating A++

Before I Fall

Before I Fall

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