I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea. and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.
I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,
Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.
time spent in that before bed reading slot:
5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago 2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.
How are common themes handled?
5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power 4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates 1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.
Where would you keep it post-reading?
5-Next to my bed. 4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.
5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry. 3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.
Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):
5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy
This book is simple in scope. Sisters Olivia and Jazz navigate a family loss, and the subsequent deluge that swells and threatens to drowned those stuck within its clutches. Each must survive, treading water in the deep, seemingly bottomless ocean. Seeking solace, or at least a period of calm, Olivia and Jazz must yield to the concept that people grieve in their own individual way, and must ultimately integrate the concept that survival—emotionally—benefits from assisting each other. They must relent; surrender to the notion that reliance on one another is essential if they wish to weather the chaos. Ultimately bridging this gap, and still retaining a sense of individuality is where anyone grieving finds solace. It’s in accepting that others grieve, and that this grief may contrast with our own, that we accept our own grief and understand its intricacies more clearly.
The writing is stylized in a manner that conveys the delicate nature of the themes discussed without detaching from the potency of the emotions expected. It’s quiet, and this is exactly what is needed.
Olivia and Jazz are developed nicely, and I really understood their introspection and the external expression of self-reflection, both personal and related to the analysis of others. The two grew as the pages concluded. The father’s role functioned nicely beside his daughters. As time elapsed the storylines of father and daughter stopped paralleling each other and we obtained a better understanding of the father’s role in the grand scheme of things.
Ultimately I found some aspects contrived, redundant, and misguided. My major disappointment originated in the concept of synesthesia. Olivia understood external and internal stimuli differently compared to the general public. Letters flourished with color. Movement—people and objects—elicited a myriad of tactile and Gustatory responses. It did not amplify character development, nor did it help build on the plot, but rather was a literary device used simply to differentiate the two main characters from one another. At the end it held a major—eh, compared with the earlier portions of the book—significance, however this was abrupt rather than built up overtime. It did, I admit, offer an unique context to understanding grief, however I would have liked if it was developed and integrated more thoroughly.
Hobbs, and his backstory and the way it orbited the primary plot and themes of the novel recalled Swamplandia and the sections based on the brother’s experiences. It is quite evident that Hobbs’ story fulfills the overwhelming requirement to include a teenage love saga all to often plaguing young adult literature. Now, it isn’t necessary to exclusively refer to this novel as young adult; cause it’s not that. However, pulling on our heartstrings is definitely not going to push away that demographic. My problem with this little love affair is that:
1: It wasn’t entirely necessary
2: It was delivered in a trite, contrived way. The whole sappy ‘desperately aching for love (and far too quickly; this was the love between two middle school students, NOT two adults, at least on Olivia’s side) that won’t last’ is in an over proportionate amount of YA and early adult literature. ENOUGH already.
The tone of the book, at least a large percentage of it, was written in a heavy autobiographic tone. It felt like it was birthed directly from someone’s soul, and I can respect that, but this didn’t mend well with the less overt undertones of traversing death and sorrow. I wouldn’t call it preachy, and many readers won’t find this a draw back, but I found that it created a space between myself and the novel.
I had an incredible amount of distaste for the book’s section dividers. We get it, the characters are going through their own unique stages of grief, and this manifests well in the unique, simple and often powerful prose. Insight into a book’s meaning is often more powerful if we as readers don’t have a hand held so firmly on its words. This will certainly help younger readers cognize these concepts, but it detracted from the overall appeal, at least in my opinion. Suffering, grief, and hope are so personal that I wished this book lifted such a heavy hand and let the reader develop a personal connection with the characters.
We all have our own definitions of family. Some families are a mother and a father with no children, while some families have a billion children. Some families have two parents, some one parent, while others have two parents of the same gender. Grandparents raised some of us, while others were adopted.
Regardless of the constellation of family units, there are shared common attributes. We are all bound by universal experiences, and while these are certainly individualized—a response to our environment and innate forces—they share a common thread. Underneath the personal expression of our family experiences is a blue print of emotions—a lengthy list, but spanning the gauntlet between love and hate—that we all find relatable. Our personal definition of these characteristics differs in their manifestation, and we may even use different labels, however, at the pit of each is something we can all connect with, and this is why this book will have such a huge appeal.
This book absolutely radiates family. If you are looking for a book that deals with these themes, and others not discussed here-within I urge you to pick up a copy upon its release.