Sunday, August 26, 2012

Between the Lines: Had So Much Potential

I'm trying to play a little catch up and get some of my reviews done so I may be posting multiples at a time. Hopefully, I won't be going 2 months between them again.

This was my third Jodi Picoult book (19 Minutes and The Pact were the first two). I loved both of her other works and understood that this one would be much different. I knew that this was an idea based on something her daughter brought to her. I knew that this was directed toward a younger audience. This being said, I was still disappointed.
***Warning: May contain minor spoilers!***
What I liked: I loved the artwork in this book. There are doodles on the sides of many pages and art at the beginnings of the chapters. It was eye catching, and I liked seeing how Oliver would look. While I can often imagine a character, it was nice to see one of them painted out for me this time to see how the author wanted him to be seen.
I loved the idea of a character interacting with the real world and even trying to join it.
What I did not like: I wonder how much of this was actually written by Jodi Picoult and how much may have been penned by her daughter. The writing was not on par with her other works. It was often repetitive and borderline obnoxious. With as much as the same ideas were repeated (told rather than shown), the book probably could have been cut down 50+ pages. The "daddy" issue was a little overplayed. I understand growing up without a dad is difficult, but she still had a mother who was there and cared for her. This honestly made me feel like she was being kind of an ungrateful brat. I know she's a teenager, but even still, I was not a big fan of Delilah's.
The ending was so anticlimactic. The resolution takes place in the last 10 pages or less, and fairly predictable, with only a slight twist.

Overall, it wasn't terrible. It wasn't something I'd reread, but it wasn't a complete waste of time. I read a lot of teen fiction so I didn't have a problem with it being geared toward a younger audience, but with Jodi Picoult, I simply expected better writing. I don't think the writing had to be subpar simply because the content was different from the usual. It was a great idea, but I wish it had been better.

 Don't let this be the only Picoult book you read. She has much better work out there!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jemima J. Not Worth the Time to Read It

I picked up this book used for just a few dollars, and thought it had a pretty good premise with some potential. This is the second book I've read by Jane Green. The first (Bookends) wasn't great, but not so bad I swore her off completely. This, however, was one of the worst books I think I've ever read.
***Warning, this will contain minor spoilers.***
What I liked (short list): I liked the narration for the most part. I liked that it went between Jemima's first person and third person. I liked the voice of the third person and that it addressed the audience directly.
What I did not like:
Jemima was probably the most self-concerned, superficial, obnoxious character I've ever read about. She talks about how she's a good person, but no one sees it because she's overweight. I don't see her being a good person at all. I see her trying not to eat so much, but this isn't really helping anyone else. Once she does lose the weight, she still judges other people by their weight and is more judgmental than she blames others for being.
I hate that all of her relationships are based solely on her being thin. I understood that she lost weight for Brad. But the fact that Ben only really notices her when she's lost weight does not make me like their relationship either.
There were too many parts that were super repetitive. There was a lot of telling instead of showing. I think this was why I liked when it switched back to the third person narrator. I was so annoyed by Jemima.
This was incredibly insensitive to anyone overweight and the only time Jemima is even portrayed as being healthy is in the epilogue. We are told she's healthy, but really we don't see this. She is either "way" over weight or anorexic. As another reviewer said, I pictured her as 5'2 and 300+ pounds, not 5'7 and 200. While that is still overweight, it's not by 100 lbs (as the back of the book says). And it's doubtful she would have 3 chins, even in a picture. I don't think Ms. Green has much experience with this topic.

I don't think I'd recommend this book to anyone. I was hoping for a strong heroine, but instead lost respect for and interest in Jemima J. the more I read about her. I will give Ms. Green one more book to change my mind, but it may be a while before I can be ready for another disaster like this one.