Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reflection on the last book I read

I just posted my review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but I wanted to share some more of my thoughts. I recently learned that one in 150 children has autism. That is a frighteningly huge number! What if I have a child with autism? How will I deal with it? In the past when I've thought about this possibility, it seemed simple: Well, I'll take him to the best school, I'll find great teachers, and I'll spend all my time with him helping him learn and grow. Most importantly, I'll love him. After reading this book, my perspective hasn't changed on how I'd help my child, but I'm a lot more scared about how it would feel to be his mom. Can you imagine that your child won't be emotionally attached to you? That you are only important in that you are a constant he can rely on? Can you imagine that he won't like you to touch him, not even to hug him or hold his hand? I was more traumatized by the impression I got of this boy's parents. His mother leaves him and his dad because she can't take the stress that his condition causes for her. His father works his hardest to take care of him and give him what he needs, and when the mother leaves, his father makes the mistake of trying to hide the fact from Christopher by saying that his mother died. The one thing that Christopher can't understand/tolerate/forgive is people lying to him. So, when he finds out his father has lied, he can't trust him anymore and tries to run away. Even though his dad did what he thought was best, he has to work really hard to win Christopher's trust back. Christopher can't seem to understand what love means because he doesn't experience that emotion. The only emotion he experiences in the whole book is fear. Anyway, I really feel for parents of autistic children and children with other disabilities, because it seems like it would be the hardest thing in the world to deal with.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A heart-wrenching book about a boy with Asperger's Syndrome, told in the first person. It gave me an idea about what it is like for people with autism. I really felt bad for the boy's parents, especially his dad, and I appreciated his teachers and how they help him. The book gave me a new understanding and really enlightened me. I think everyone should read it. It made me cry at the end, but not because it has a bad ending. It's just such a deep book that captures your emotions!

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Monday, July 13, 2009


Dracula (Critical Edition) Dracula by Bram Stoker

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Dracula is basically considered the definitive book about vampires. If that is the case, then vampires aren't as scary as I thought them to be. Count Dracula is very strong, and he can change forms and fit through tiny cracks (like the space between a closed door and the door jamb), but he is very limited by small things like garlic, crucifixes, and the "holy wafer." He cannot come into a house unless invited (what kind of villain has to be invited inside???), and he can't cross over water except at high or low tide (at one point he is stuck on board a ship because he has to be carried--in his box--off the boat). He is completely vulnerable if caught sleeping in his coffin. Okay, so that's what I didn't like about the book: I thought the villain should have been scarier. However, I really enjoyed reading it, and I liked it's format (it is told by journal entries and letters). It got pretty suspenseful at the end, so that was fun. I would recommend it for people who like classic literature, but not so much for people who like to read horror books (it wouldn't be scary enough).

I can't decide what I think about Stoker's representation of women. On the one hand, they are smart, good, and respected (which I like), but on the other hand they are weak, and, when they become vampires, evil seductresses. I'm not sure if he was trying to make a comment about women's purity and that it should be guarded at all costs lest they become corrupted into sex fiends, or if he was trying to make the point that women are smart, as smart as men at times, and should be trusted in decision-making.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Graveyard Book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Graveyard Book is all about a boy who grows up in a graveyard, taken care of by the dead inhabitants and a member of an elite "honor guard" who is undead (I have a sneaking suspicion he's a vampire, but it never really comes out and says that). Nobody (Bod for short) has the freedom of the graveyard, which means he can haunt, "fade," dreamwalk, and do other things that ghosts can supposedly do. That makes the story really fun and interesting, but unfortunately these "super powers" only lasts until he's grown and has to leave the graveyard. The reason Bod is in danger leaves a little to be desired. I don't feel like that part of the story was well thought out. Maybe it's okay because it's a children's book, but it wasn't very believable. I was saddened by the ending. It's not a really sad ending, but he ends up completely alone in the world. He's without his only human friend (who had her memories erased so she won't know Bod again), and he can no longer speak with the dead, either, who are the only "people" he ever really knew. He sets off for adventure, but he's all alone. All in all, it was a fun read, and I think that people who like to read children's literature would enjoy it.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Foul Mood Day

I don't know why I feel the need to be in a yucky mood today. Maybe it's because I just found out that I don't get to go see fireworks this year. Maybe it's because I'm tired of working so much. Maybe I just want to be in a bad mood. Anyway, I really should snap out of it. My house is clean (thanks to my wonderful hubby), I do get to go to a lovely 4th of July picnic with our own fireworks (and fireworks of the surrounding hills in Cleveland, so I'm promised), and I get to go eat lunch with Alexa this afternoon. Okay, I guess I've talked myself out of my foul mood. Yay! I hope maybe I've helped you think of the things you're thankful for.