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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

Songs of the Humpback Whale

Jodi Picoult's powerful novel portrays an emotionally charged marriage that changes course in one explosive moment....For years, Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her husband, renowned San Diego oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating argument, Jane turns on him with an alarming volatility. In anger and fear, Jane leaves with their teenage daughter, Rebecca, for a cross-country odyssey charted by letters from her brother Joley, guiding them to his Massachusetts apple farm, where surprising self-discoveries await. Now Oliver, an expert at tracking humpback whales across vast oceans, will search for his wife across a continent -- and find a new way to see the world, his family, and himself: through her eyes.

I am normally a big Jodi Picoult fan but I felt that this book just did not live up to her normal standard.

It did not seem as well researched as her other books and it did not give the same level of detail about the topics within.

She managed the style well of writing the same story from several different characters point of view.  Most were in the same time frame while one, Rebecca, was written in reverse order.  This did not work very well for me as it gave away part of the ending at the beginning and I felt that the book would have been more dramatic if this had not already been revealed.

I also felt that her handling of this book was not in her usual "gritty, no holds barred way".  Something of the Picoult magic was just missing for me in this book.  This wasn't helped by the weak (in my opinion) ending as I am so used to Ms Picoult taking the harder course in her endings.

All this aside, it was still an enjoyable read but displays the fact that it was her first novel and proves how much she has matured as a writer since penning this book.  A good debut novel and one which would have been best read before reading her later books.  Worth a read for all fans anyway.  4 out of 5 from me as I have taken into account it being her debut novel before she became THE Jodi Picoult!

Last Night I sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Last Night I Sang to the Monster

Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He's also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn't remember how he got there. He's not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive - well, what's up with that? 

I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts he writes Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser. It's all like a game to him. Him.God. And it's all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote Sad. I don't like God very much. Apparently he doesn't like me very much either.

A book group choice and I am so glad I have found this author and read this book.  Don't you just love finding authors that you have never before heard of and then just knowing that you will like anything they write.

I loved this authors writing style.  It flowed very smoothly for what was a rough topic.  He sucked me in from the start and I was making all sorts of guesses as to what Zach was trying to forget. 

The author made me relate to Zach and a lot of the other characters and these are troubled characters that you really don't want to relate to!  Should it worry me that I felt a sense of myself in a teenage male with mental and alcohol problems, or is the author just very good at what he does!!??

I thought this would definitely be a 5 out of 5 for me BUT the ending was slightly happily ever after for my taste and the event that Zach was trying to forget was eventually a bit rushed in the telling.  I also thought it wasn't as dramatic as the whole book was leading up to or warranting, so I dropped a point for this.

Still a great, absorbing read and an author I will now be seeking out.