Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Girl She Used To Be--#58 finished

This started as an interesting book about a now lady in Witness Protection.  Her and her parents witnessed a mob boss killing someone--she was 6 at the time and witnesses placed them in area and government basically twisted their arms to testify.  Mob boss still gets off though and family lives in fear for their lives.  Daughter really struggles with idea of living a lie and at one point announces who she really is to get back at her parents--hour later her parents are killed by mob.  She is now 26 and really tired of running and hates her protectors and hates how she cannot live her life.  The mob boss son steps into the picture and he is cute and hot and all that.  She goes with him lives the life for a couple days and everything falls apart when she meets his family.

Started good and got sappy at the end.  Oh well still not a bad read altogether.  I will be posting it on PBS at some point.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Far to Go--#57 finished

This is a very good book.  The book just felt real the whole time I was reading it.  A Jewish family in Czechoslovakia right before WWII when Hitler had his sights on the country.  It was part of Hitler's liebensraum--living room.  It was basically handed over before WWII by the Europeans and Chamberlain.  All of this history going on while this Jewish family that was actually fairly well to do and how they were squeezed at the time.  A very good book.

I am too tired right now to think about saying more, maybe I will add to this later.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The End of Mr. Y--#56 finished

This is the 2nd book I have read by this author Scarlett Thomas, Popco was the first.  From what I can remember I liked Popco quite a bit, this one just okay.  It was really kind of slow and a lot of what they talked about just wasn't interesting enough to keep me at this book.  Still lots to think about but I don't think it was enough reality to carry it through for me.  I like the characters and the idea of this book, but just wasn't fast paced or I wasn't smart enough to find it interesting all the way through.

I will post it on PBS, there are still 2 WL for it so hope to mail off next week.  I also started My Mother's Lovers, a book about Africa and the author's interesting mother I guess.  Also reading Far to Go and Zone One as well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hero of the Underground--#55 finished

This is former NE football player Jason Peter's story.  Mostly his story of his severe drug addiction with stuff from his playing days mixed in.  A shocking and good read that gives a very good idea how drugs can mess up someone's life.  Starting with pain pills that he took to sleep and then wake up and get through a practice or a game.  Then from what sounds like boredom when outside of football, he gets into recreational drugs.  Then after his career ended early from injuries and again bored and no clue what to do with life, he turns to drugs.  A couple of detox trips where he immediately goes back into drugs and even into harder stuff after hearing stories at these places.  Still doing pain pills, cocaine, crack, heroin and mixing them, even some meth since nothing else was there towards the end.

While the book is shocking, I have a really hard time feeling sorry for him, the writer.  He has all the money he should ever need and is a smart person and just pisses it away.  Our prisons are full of people that were on drugs to a much lessor extent than he was, maybe he is lucky but that doesn't mean I will like or respect him.  I hope for his sake his life is good still and no relapses but relapsing will be something he will probably fight the rest of his life.

I have posted it on PBS, there is 1 copy a head of it so I would think it will move at some point.  Still reading The End of Mr Y, getting closer there and a Far Place To Go--or something like that.  I also have Zone One, I think that is the title, a zombie book I think but I am only a very few pages into it so far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Secret Girl--#54 finished

This is a tragic and very moving book.  A true story of a well to do family in Baltimore area that has twin girls with one of the twins having hydrocephalus, water on the brain.  This was in the early '60s I believe and just a few years short of the medical improvements for the child.  The family made the decision to have the little girl institutionalized.  The original thought was the girl would at most live a year.  The institutionalizing is upsetting but this was a different time and the mother was a little unstable, okay.  What followed though was an almost total disregard for this child Annie.  The book is written by an older sister that didn't find out until around 12 or 13 that she had a sister in an institution.

Again this is a well to do family, in one passage the author talks about the research she did into where Annie was living.  When Annie was around 4, she had outgrown the newborn and infant care house and needed to be moved.  The family applied for a spot at a state institution but would only pay what they were paying at the infant house.  While the family and director were sending letters back and forth, the mother, father & the oldest--the author--took a trip to Italy & Europe for a couple weeks.  This is a family where on the mother(and maybe both sides) that can trace back to the earliest Americans--a real blue blooded family.  The mother almost never visited her child and the father only rarely--about once a year--all while they were only minutes away.  Again upsetting but family wants to distance themselves--really upsetting but in their shoes and all, but when the state asked about sending Annie into foster care for her benefit on not being in an institution and into a more socially appropriate setting--they refused.

After reading these parts of the book, I am really trying my best to not judge the parents.  I certainly don't want to presume hell but that almost seems the case.  Purgatory would be a blessing.  I keep reminding myself that people are complex beyond even our comprehending them and this book only touches on a silver of the lives of the parents so balancing could appear elsewhere in their life--I can only hope for their sake that is the case.

Anyway, the oldest sister was successful in many ways but also screwed up in as many--an alcoholic to the point where it nearly ruined her life.  The author doesn't come out and say it but it seems as though Annie in a way was almost part of the reason she was able to be sober for many years.  Again people are complex and Holly or Brucie as she was also called, was quitting as a lawyer to become a writer, was divorcing her husband and father of their 2 sons and it sounds like it was a bitter divorce as well as she was trying to connect with Annie.  Lots going on and all that.  In the epilogue she mentions one of her sons dying tragically in Africa at age 11 and she became a drunk all over again.  This was also at a time when Annie's health was dropping and eventually Annie died.  A sad sad ending to the story.  This book is a real lesson I think for people to see that all people must be respected.  It had to be a very difficult book for the author to research her sister's life and observe through the research the almost monstrous actions of her parents.

This is a well traveled PBS book, I am the 6th owner and have already posted it.  It is the only copy on the system so I expect it will be moving soon.  I gave some thought to keeping it but again figured that this book was too moving to keep--let it be spread out to others.