Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Synopsis :

This stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr David Henry to deliver his own twins.  his son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down's syndrome.  For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split second decision that will haunt all their lives forever.  He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution.   Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own.

Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.

I was on a lookout for this after reading Kim Edwards's The Lake of Dreams  last year. I found it at the Books 2nd Time Around sale this year.  I knew even before reading that I was going to like it.  I was right! :)  It is indeed a great book that I would be more than happy to recommend to you.  Having said that, I must warn you that it wasn't an easy book to read.  It has its moment of lightness as well as its moment of despair.

It is very much a story of a man haunted by his decision.  A decision made that cannot be unmade. A decision that in the end drove his family apart and indirectly without them knowing, caused grief that never healed even though he made the decision with the very intention of keeping his family happy. You might said what was Dr David Henry thinking but giving away his daughter? How could he do it?  After you read about his past, you might be less judgmental.

The only thing I feel is rather lacking is that there wasn't much focus on Phoebe.  Just enough for the readers to know what she was up to but the focus was more on David Henry, the memory keeper himself, with the author trying her best to share with readers why he did what he did and the impact of the action on the man himself.

I am finally among the 6 million readers (p.s. you would know what I mean if you read my review on The Lake of Dreams :).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Day After Tomorrow (A novelization by Whitley Strieber)

Synopsis :

The Beginning Of The End

It's a fiercely hot summer, so hot that the north pole's heat record is broken by fifty degrees.  Massive ice melt stuns the world as open ocean appears at the pole for the first time in living memory.  Deep under the Atlantic Ocean, currents crucial to life react, dropping south - and suddenly, storms of unprecedented ferocity start exploding over the arctic as cold air returns, slamming into the heat with cataclysmic results.  The storm grow until they form a blizzard and gigantic blizzard unlike anything ever seen before.  A stunned humanity realizes that a second ice age is about to engulf the earth.

Climatologist Jack Hall tried to warn people of the approaching peril - but it may already be too late for any hope of survival.  Now he must not only find a way to reverse the rampant ecological destruction that is transforming the world into a frigid wasteland, but also rescue his rebellious son, who is one of the millions trapped in the ice depths of a frozen New York City.

I enjoyed the movie (watched it 3 times) and I enjoyed the book (read it 3 times too), the recent being just couple of days ago.  Normally I am not a fan of movies tie-in books but I really make an exception in this case. 

I enjoyed how the story developed and while it's an extreme story on the effect of global warming on our planet, it's also a wake up call for us to be more considerate towards the world as we know it for it might 'disappear' one of these days.  It was also the story of human survivor in the face of world disaster. It was the story of a father's extreme love for his son and while others were being evacuated to the South, he traveled to the 'eye of the storm' to be with his son.

At the end of the book, the world was no longer as we know her but she's changed forever, human being were changed forever too but yet, we survive.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Trouble the Water by Nicole Seitz

I bought this book because I read an e-book of Nicole Seitz many moons ago and liked it.  Trouble The Water is different from Inheritance of Beauty (the e-book) that I read.  However, it is written in pretty similar whimsical tone that's rather soothing and relaxes you when you read it.

The story is about two sisters, Honor and Alice. Most of the story is written in a letter Honor wrote to Alice, six months prior to Alice finding Honor dying in the hospital.   From there you will discover the love they have for each other, the secrets they kept from one another and above all the hope they have for each others' life.

Honor is one troubled girl and is dying and she has a deep secret that she wanted to share with her sister.  She seemed to feel that that incident many, many years ago shaped them into who they are now.  Alice love Honor and for once she stood up to the bullying by her husband who wasn't happy that she choose to be at her sister's bedside.  Both sisters drew strength from each other and Alice got to know Honor more through the letters Honor wrote to her than anything else.

I was also intrigued by Duchess or Ann (her real name), the lady whose home Honor was brought to the night she tried to kill herself.  She has more significance to the story of both sisters but they were not aware of it.  Readers were not made aware of it too and I just loved the way the author just casually revealed that fact towards the end of the book that made me wanted to go back to the beginning of the book to spot if any clues were give!

And who is Nurse Sadie, the nurse who helped Honor wrote the letters when Honor was too weak to do so.  Alice spoke to her, heard her sang and ministered to Honor but then no one knew who she was later.  An angel from God?

According to the author, her Aunt Bonnie who died of cancer didn't tell family members about her illness until shortly before her death. While this is a work of fiction, the author wanted to examine reasons why a person might choose to keep such a devastating secret.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

Synopsis :

Trisha McFarland has only veered off the trail to get away from the bickering of her brother and recently divorced mother.  She doesn't think there's any chance of losing her way.

Except, in her panic to get back to the path, Trisha takes a turning that leads into the tangled undergrowth. deeper and deeper into the terrifying woods.  At first it's just the midges and mosquitoes, hanging around her ears like helicopters, trying to drink her blood and sip her sweat.  Then the hunger. For solace she turns her Walkman into broadcasts of her hero Tom Gordon. And when the reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her.

As darkness begins to fall, Trisha begins to give up home of being found. Alive. And as she struggles for survival and a way out, she realizes that she's not alone. There's something else in the woods - watching. Waiting....

When I read such synopsis on a book by 'Master of All Masters of Horror' (in my opinion), I have great expectations.  I expect the books to be horrifying, full of suspense.  I expect the book to be a page turner.  I expect what I am used to from Stephen King - think The Shinning, think Pet Sematary, think It.

While the elements of suspense is there,  the book is more of a psychological horror that explores when a young kid is lost in the wood and how she's coping and we know that Trisha wasn't alone and something was following her but what was it?  When the hunter killed the bear (spoilers!) he claimed that the bear for a moment there wasn't really a bear so what was it?  The Gods of the Lost like what Trisha called it?  Definitely something was there.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was a page turner in it's own way.  It just wasn't really in the earlier gene of Stephen King and certainly wasn't Stephen King's better works.  I borrowed this from the library and completed it in two days.