The Goldfinch: Ugh. Never have I been so conflicted about a book in the way that I am about this one. This 771 page whopper really got to me in a number of ways. For one, it was just so long. I've read longer books before, but normally it's a race to the finish and after it's over, I can't believe it. I was dying to finish this book. I'll start from the beginning. This novel is about a boy named Theo who has plenty going for him at the age of thirteen, until his mom dies in a tragic accident. While the storyline had so much potential, I think I'm mostly disappointed in the types of details that were focused on over and over until they were beaten to death (though important details, after a while it's like we get it, we get it, move on), and also, like a lot of books I'm ever the tiniest bit disappointed in, the ending was so rushed after such a build up of story. And I'll give it to the author, this wasn't the type of book that was really about the climax and resolution, it was more about Theo's life as the story progresses. But because Theo's life is so troubling and overturned after his mother's death, the ending just seemed too neat to me. While the story ends in a place that isn't necessarily "they all lived happily ever after", it was just presented as too easy for me after all of the hardship that was thrust upon me as the reader over and over. I know I can ramble about this forever because I have tried to explain it to R and one of my friend's who was considering reading it, but really, if you're curious enough about the story because you have heard from other's that it's great, then read it. If you have heard mixed things, or nothing at all, I will advise you to proceed with caution. If you're like me and you can't put a book down once you start it because of the principle of the action, then make sure you have some time on your hands and an open mind. Like this review/opinion/blurb is running on and on and making few new points along the way, that is how I felt this book proceeded. There is so much more to how I feel, but it's likely you think I'm a bit dramatic by now having said almost nothing in the last paragraph, so I'll spare you anymore chit chat.
“I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe.”
The Spectacular Now: I read this book in literally one sitting. A bit over three hours was all it took to read this bad boy, and honestly, I'm kind of glad I did it that way. This book is about Sutter Keely, an eighteen year old boy who is about to graduate high school with little to no ambition to go to college, or do anything for that matter, and has thoroughly convinced himself that there is nothing more to life than living in the now, and "embracing the weird". He's carefree, sarcastic, a little bit of a d-bag, but also very charismatic and sweet. While his character is questionable at best, the narration from his point of view sucks you in and makes you love him despite that because of his charm and sense of humor. Before the end of his senior year he meets Aimee, a socially awkward girl who finds him passed out on a lawn after a night of binge drinking (something he does often), and from then on his story is intertwined with hers. While the perspective is from Sutter's point of view, the author does a wonderful job of subtly inserting the opinions of the people in Sutter's world and what they think about where he's going in life, and he had me rooting for Sutter the whole way through. He's a different type of underdog, but it was refreshing to me.
“Just remember this- weird's good. Embrace the weird, dude. Enjoy it because it's never going away.”
12/25 of my 2014 reading goal complete. Though neither book was on it this month, check out my paperback lust list for this year.