The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky. A Review. Book 19 out of 52

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Living the life that I have, perhaps the reason that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky has evaded me is its realism. There is something about knowing someone’s life, or at least seeing it come alive on paper, that causes us to account our own. I mean, that is what good books SHOULD do, right? Make you think. Put you in the time and place and see how your life, your experience, your heart, would conflict or commiserate with the protagonists. Perhaps it is just me. Maybe I hold many authors to a higher standard. I am okay with that. The question is, are you?

This book, this story, is like looking through a lens at life as I was coming to age. God, that makes me sound old. But it is true. The world that I grew up in is a fading memory, severed from the one we are in now. But this book captured it. It took me back. Recalling my memories of friends, people I knew. Reviewing this book without spoilers is difficult. So my recommendation is that you read it.

4.5 out of 5 for “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. Do not let the lack of a perfect five fool you, this one is near the top of the list of the ones that I have read this year for my reading challenge. I am not sure why I had not read this before, but I am glad that I did now.

The Bone Clocks by David C. Mitchell. A Review. Book 17 out of 52

“One moment you’re carrying this loveable little tyke on your shoulders, the next she’s off, and you realize what you suspected all along: However much you love them, your own children are only ever on loan.”

Ok, so the quote does not jive with the story. But, that does not detract from the quote. “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell has a weird way about it. A story about the inner drive to keep moving forward, even in a parallel dystopian world on the brink of absolution. The protagonist is littered through the various stories, the various times, in a way that makes it a little slower of a read. Not due to its complexity, that stands alone by itself. More in the way that Mitchell uses literary devices to make you think. To make you say “What. Just. Happened.” driving you to read the last few pages over again.

It is hard to express that this recursive reading is not out of frustration (which is what I usually experience due to poor writing). But there are countless, and very wicked, moments were the dialog goes from highly complex diatribes to practical common sense, in one line. Between this, and the overall story as you follow the protagonist in her world, all around good read.

4 out of 5 stars for “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell. Would recommend for a good autumn read, more than spring.

The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling by Henry Fielding. A Review. Book 16 out of 52

“No one hath seen beauty in its highest lusture who hath never seen it in distress.”

Filled with a menagerie of characters “The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling” by Henry Fielding is an amazing novel. Not just for the time in which it was written, but even today. Part way through this book, or a collection of books as it were, I did something that I do not do and looked up some critiques. There was one that stood out to me, that I did not fully realize until I had almost finished. I feel that Samuel Coleridge put it better than any could when he stated that “Tom Jones” has one of the “three most perfect plots ever planned.”

Picking up such a hefty tome is daunting. It is a little easy to get lost in its seemingly massively detached story arcs. But as you endure, reading on, you see that the first sentiment, that of ‘exploring human nature’ is an understatement. I would not recommend trying to read this book (okay, it is a collection, I mean, there are 18 books) in a week as I did. Would be better to savor it.

All together I would give “Tom Jones” by Henry Fielding 4 out of 5 stars. Just give yourself some time to read it properly, and let the story come together amazingly.

Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres. A Review. Book 15 out of 52

“Life may not be fair, but when you have someone to believe in, life can be managed, and sometimes, even miraculous.”

Right out of the gate, this book shook me. I was barely into reading it when I mentioned a fair amount of dislike for the path the story was going to the person that suggested it to me. She encouraged me to keep reading. So I did. Boy am I thankful. ‘Jesus Land: A Memoir’ by Julia Scheeres is NOT the book that you think it is. It is a wild ride from start to finish. Some parts brought on disgust and worry. While others brought on laughter, tears, and eye-opening realizations.

There were parts of this book that made me worry about the plans that we have for our family. Those parts were the reasons I wanted to put the book down. But many other parts made me see how lucky we are. The journey this book takes you on is complicated but easy to fall in love with as you read through it all.

I will also say that the most important part is after the book is over. READ THE EPILOGUE. Though all that this book brought to me, the epilogue had me crying in bed in the middle of the night. The book, in and of itself, is truly incredible. But the epilogue makes the whole thing beautiful.

I am giving ‘Jesus Land: A Memoir’ by Julia Scheeres a coveted 5 out of 5. Trust me, buy it, read it, do not stop when you think you should, and you will see why it gets a solid five from me.

Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie. A Review. Book 14 out of 52

“They have been in prison so long that, if the prison door stands open, they would no longer notice!”

One of the things that I have enjoyed with the Agatha Christie novels that I have read is her propensity to make the solution a surprise, but entirely logical. I have a deep love for crime novels, but I will forgo my diatribe regarding the “who-done-it” to avoid spoilers. I will say that it is a little disappointing that Christie took as long just setting up the crime. Making you see the reasons the victim met their end is essential, but this was a bit drawn out. Instead, following the journey that this reading challenge has taken me on, I want to dissect the underlying theme.

Sometimes we live in a prison, constructed by others, only to realize it when it is too far-gone to escape. We often grow content, even proud, in our assumption that we know what life is all about. As children, life is a game. There are magic and mystery, for most of us, that enthrall our minds. But, what if that was taken away as well? Instead of it falling by the wayside as we grow, it was stricken away from us like a prize unearned. I, for one, do what I can to ensure the world is filled with magic and mystery for my kids. I want them to explore its vast trappings fully. Trust me; I KNOW that this book was not written to make you think of such things. But, that is not how my mind works.

I am giving 3.5 out of 5 stars to “Appointment With Death” by Agatha Christie. Not the worst I have read, not by a long shot. But far from the best Christe novel that I have read to date.