I just finished reading The Centaur and I am both enamored and confused. The interwoven tale of Chiron, the Centaur, and Caldwell, the human teacher, is fascinating – especially from Caldwell’s son’s perspective; however, I found much of the story to be disjointed and confusing. This did, in all honesty, add to the overall appeal of the novel for me. I do plan on re-reading the book at some time, to determine whether or not I can understand it better on the second try, knowing what to expect. The characters were brilliant. The moments of Greek Mythological confusion were stunning, beautiful, and terrifying. All in all, quite fantastic.
Cute, witty, and honest to a fault. Ferguson’s epistolary novel about the (rather graphic) goings-on of a seventeen-year-old gay boy is fun, fast-paced, entertaining, sad, and smart. I will agree with some other reviewers who mentioned that one of the novel’s downfalls is its abrupt ending. Not much seemed to be resolved – friendships were made and unmade quite quickly, and a so-called “love” was replaced in the course of one short train ride from the western suburbs into Chicago; however, when one recalls the superficial yet “every moment is THE most important moment of my life” high school days, it becomes easier to accept Charlie’s emotions and escapades as sincere, if not a bit over-the-top (even for a gay teen!). I read this book in one day, but it’s certainly something I would recommend to friends, especially those open to the idea of exploring the inner-thoughts (and the inner-bedroom, classroom, bathroom, etc. activities) of a gay teen. If you’re a reader who is easily embarrassed by sexual exploration or honesty, this one is probably not for you. If you’re a gay man or teen who’d be interested in a novel which exposes openly and honestly all the truths you may have had to keep hidden – pick it up and pass it on. I quite enjoyed it.
With East of Eden, I have gained a new appreciation for Steinbeck. This novel was masterfully written; it demonstrates Steinbeck’s command of language, history, and socioeconomic/political events. As one who came into this novel familiar with, but relatively inexperienced in Steinbeck’s work, I must say that East of Eden does one thing every author must hope for: it leaves me craving more. I must admit that I had my doubts about Steinbeck’s ability to tell such a lengthy story. I had only experienced shorter works (Of Mice and Men, The Pearl) up to this point and, while I knew Steinbeck to be a brilliant and beautiful writer, particularly adept social commentary and the didactic, I couldn’t see either of those short works being successful as a longer novel. The reason for this, of course, is obvious – the novellas are perfect as they are. Steinbeck chooses every word carefully, so that none of his work is longer or shorter than it needs to be. East of Eden proves it, in that it holds ones attention just as raptly as a shorter work, and it’s proves continues to move the reader from page to page, right until the very last words. The characters are well-developed, the plot and sub-plots interweave seamlessly, the setting is beautifully displayed and expresses its importance to the work as a whole (imagining this novel to take place anywhere else is almost impossible). I can’t say enough about East of Eden. I can say that it is more than just a beautiful, entertaining read. It is powerfully thought-provoking as well. Timshel will forever be something for which I strive to understand and to achieve.
Sad and comic autobiography of an outcast’s youth during America’s Great Depression. Vivid descriptions and honesty to the past are two of the “pros” for this novel. The “cons” include a lack of any real plot or character development (static, everyone) and humor that was too often infused with violence or sex. Overall, though, it is an enjoyable work for any fan of Bukowski, particularly those interested in Bukowski’s youth and home-life.
Goat: A Memoir by Brad Land
Interesting.. twisted at times.
The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger
Not that great.
Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Wonderful young adult book about a boy growing up during the Revolutionary War. Fun fiction story which includes meetings with the likes of Ben Franklin, John Adams, etc.
A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl
Such a great find! I don’t remember where I came across this book, but I’m glad I did. Story about a boy growing up in Ireland during the war.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Kind of sappy, but good. Makes you think about the important thigns in life.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Very cute. Worth the read – it’s quick.