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Archive for the ‘Rating: 4.5 stars’ Category

When my friend read this book last year she was literally glued to it. I don’t know how about you, but for me, this is the best recommendation for a book, especially when you know that you two have very similar taste in books. So as you can imagine, I was very keen to put this book on my  (ever-expanding) ‘to be read’ pile.  I read one or two of Grisham’s books years ago and I was really glad that this one appeared on my book club list. Well, truth to be told, I helped it to appear… Yep, killing two birds with one stone ;)

So what do I think about the book? Apart from few minor criticisms, I thought that the book was very good, thrilling, fast paced and gripping. I don’t know whether Grisham’s seasoned readers would agree with me as I am not in a position to judge whether this book is better/average/below average than his other books. But as I said before, I don’t read Grisham that often and maybe that is why I totally enjoyed the book.

Without giving you any spoilers here, I would like to say, that all parts of the book have their merits and I didn’t expect to invest as many emotions into reading the book as I did (and I was ready to invest quite a few :)). I think it is fair to say that the book will leave you with more questions than it gives answers and leaves you thinking about the story long after you finish the book. For me, the description of the Texan death penalty system and it’s ins and outs was eye-opening. I know that the book is fiction, but I can easily see how something similar can happen in real life.

Little snippet from the book:

“… but as he watched the preliminaries unfold, he was struck by the coldness, the ruthless efficiency, the sanitized neatness of it.  It was similar to killing an old dog, a lame horse, or a laboratory rat. Who, exactly, gives us the right to kill? If killing is wrong, then why are we allowed to kill? As X* stared at Y*, he knew the image would never go away. And he knew that he would never be the same.”

(* I deliberately left out the names as not to give you any spoilers.)

Now the criticisms. Well, for once, I just thought that all the characters were too neatly cut – good guys on one side, bad guys on the other. Everything seemed black and white (literally) not only in the characteristics of the people involved in the story, but also the society was clearly divided by colour. I think that this also had impact on the fact that for me the characters felt bit two-dimensional. We are given a bit of background information about some of the characters, but we could have been given a little bit more. That still didn’t stop me to ponder what would I do and how would I feel if I was in the shoes of each of the mums, the priest and the defence lawyer.

So, if you fancy a decent read that would challenge your perceptions and opinions then go ahead, you will enjoy this one!

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Well, this review is well overdue, so let’s get on with it :)

This book is a little gem that can be easily overlooked if you look at it under a wrong angle. It is undoubtedly an easy read but it’s true quality lies not 100% in what is written and how, but by a great part in what you take out of the book. This book bonds with you at a human level, it resonates within you and it makes you care about the characters.

I think we all met Will at some point in our lives and that makes him ever so real with all his hopes and desires (or the lack of) and his misunderstandings and mistakes. Will’s story beautifully shows that neither of us is perfect as we all are only humans and sometimes we put on a show, and others might see right through it.  Sometimes we are completely out of our depth, but try not to let it show and sometimes we just lose our way for a while. Neither of us lived our lives before so we all make do with what we think is the right thing to do, to want or to say. Combine this with other person’s believes, desires and anticipations and you end up with life as complex and complicated as it gets. But don’t we all have to deal with this? Didn’t we all go through relationships that were bound to end because of the accumulation of misunderstandings, bits of selfishness and half-hearted compromises?

As the saying goes, ‘there are two sides to every story’ and this book portrays both of them beautifully. Every each of us can find a part of us in this book and that’s what makes this book excellent.

I think I should mention one more thing, I came to a conclusion that with this book it really matters how old you are. I can only write from my experience, but I believe that in most cases, if you are in your teens or twenties you will not get the full punch from this book. Once you reached thirty you take the first stock of your life and you change your views slightly and you start to think about things you never thought before and even see relationships in different light. And once you reach this certain maturity, that’s when I think you will enjoy the book the most. I say this without any prejudice and if you are so lucky to be young and have a great insight into life, then good for you, go ahead and enjoy the book.

I hope that anyone who is going to pick up this book will have such a pleasurable read as I did.

(review copy)

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I must admit, that when I received this ebook, I didn’t know what to expect. But I was very intrigued by the topic and that it is written in verse. Naturally, I assumed, that the verses will rhyme and that there will be certain rhythmic pattern to follow. With these assumptions I virtually opened the ebook and was in for a big surprise. Firstly, the book is written in loose verse so there are no obvious rhymes and the book more or less flows through the rhythmic patterns rather than being constraint by them. All in all, few pages in and my set of mind was fighting with the concept of the book and I felt like I was missing something. I read the words but it was as if part of it was lost in translation somewhere on the highway between my eyes and my brain. I pushed through non the less! Half way through the book I felt getting used to the concept and I started to appreciate the author’s thoughts and my mind began to transform the words into beautiful pictures. And then it was over! Just like that! I wanted more! So pretty much straight away I returned to page one and started again. This time with completely open mind and used to the flow of the book and what a difference that made! I chuckled few times, I actually paused few times to think about certain parts of the book, I was just on an incredible journey leading deep into the centre of an ancient culture and its philosophical concept.

My favourite passages:

1)

You own only two things in life:

Your death, he held up one finger,

And perception, held up another.

Both must be intended, all else dropped.

2)

Because anti-aging is neither whole nor true.

You are not a slave to age or time or

Dwindling youth. These are perceptions

Held in assemblage that, like convicts

In a cell too small, plot constantly to kill you.

I would highly recommend to read this book even if the topic isn’t really close to you. The book isn’t big but if you approach it with an open mind I can guarantee you, that it will broaden your horizons and you will be coming back for more.

(review copy)

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