Posted in Books, Classics, Reviews

Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes || Classic Book REVIEW

So, awhile back I said I would read one classic book a month and then directly after that I didn’t follow up with the challenge…oops.

So here I am, back on the wagon with my second classic of the year. Was this one worth the title? Let’s find out!

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With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie’s intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? — Goodreads

Rating – R (Language, Disturbing images, Sexual scenes TRIGGER WARNING! ABUSE ) 

Publication Date – 4 / 59

Length – 216 pages


The Good –

  • Let’s get this out there right at the beginning. This book is HEARTBREAKING! This was so authentic and real. There were parts that I have had similar situations, in my own life.
  • The writing was fantastic. It is written in a letter format, from Charlie’s perspective. It starts out where Charlie can barely spell out his words and very gradually we see him beginning to spell correctly and use grammar and punctuation.
  • This book was very scientific, but not in a way where the reader get’s lost. I think this is because if we got lost Charlie would be also lost, in the beginning especially.
  • Towards the middle of the book, there is mounting fear as we see the rat, Algernon, following the path that Charlie will soon take, as well.
  • There is a love story, and honestly it’s so refreshing.

The Meh –

  • It was a little slow moving for my taste, in the beginning. It took me like half a week to get through the first 30 – 50 pages, but then I read the rest in like a day.

No Bad!


  • STORY – 5/5 (Such a real tale of progression and regression. It was haunting and sad to say the least)
  • CHARACTERS – 5/5 (Again is was so real. Every character was someone who you knew.
  • WRITING – 5/5 (Written in a journal format it starts with our main character writing with many spelling and grammar errors and then we are able to see his growth. It was just genius)
  • UNIQUENESS – 5/5 (everything mentioned made this a wholly unique book)

ALL IN ALL, I GIVE THIS 5 GENIUS RATS OUT OF 5!

 

Have you read this? What did you think about it? I’d love to know!

What classic should I read next month?

Thanks for reading!

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Check out my last post on my review of Devil’s Call – J. Danielle Dorn HERE!

Posted in Books, Classics, Reviews

The Color Purple – Alice Walker | Book REVIEW

I’ve decided to start reading, at least, one classic a month. While I know that the definition of “classics” are kind of fluid, but I’m really going along with my own definition of it. So, basically, if you don’t agree with me classifying some books as classics…sorry…they’re still going to go on the list.

So, as the first book in my classics series, I picked up The Color Purple. Did it make me want to continue reading classics? Let’s find out!

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Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self

Rating – R (Sexual assault, language, intense violence)

Publication date – 1986

Length – 288 pages


The Good:

  • One of the most eye opening books I’ve ever read. I knew I would learn new things about the plight of African Americans, in this time period, but I didn’t know it would give me this new perspective.
  • I was transported into Celie’s world, due to the format. It was written in letter format, but they were actually prayers. It made everything seem more realistic than if it were traditionally written.
  • The whole book felt so personal. This is not only due to the format, but also the voice of our main character Celie. She was so real, but also a genuinely good person.
  • All of the characters were amazing and real. Most of them were terrible people, but even then, you cared for them. I felt like I knew these characters and that I was having these conversations with them. I am not usually sucked into books like that, so it is showing the greatness of this book.

The Meh & Bad:

I literally can’t think of anything for these at all. This book was awesome.


  • STORY – 5/5 (An ultra realistic tale about an African American woman, in this time.)
  • CHARACTERS – 5/5 (The BEST part of this book! They were all likable and realistic.)
  • WRITING – 5/5 (The format was genius and made it feel like you were going through what Celie went through.)
  • UNIQUENESS – 5/5 (I can honestly say I’ve NEVER read anything like this. It was eye opening, heartbreaking, and entertaining.)

ALL IN ALL I GIVE THIS BOOK 5 HIDDEN LETTERS OUT OF 5!

 

Have you read this? What did you think about it? What other classics should I read? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

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Check out my last post on my Music This Month : March HERE!

Posted in Classics, Reviews

American Literature Class – My Favorite Reads

Hey everyone, it has been awhile since I posted here, but honestly it has been a long time since I read anything as well. Basically, I’ve been in school and got so busy that any reading outside of class was out of the question. But now it is Christmas break and I’ve missed the blog, so I’m back!

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Without further ado, I am talking about some of my favorite reads from my American Literature class, in no particular order.

Recitatif – Toni Morrison (1983)

This is a short story about two girls, Twyla and Roberta, who meet and become friends in an orphanage, despite the fact they are different races. The rest of the story follows the two women in encounters with each other throughout their life.

This story really focuses on racial issues as well as feminism. The main thing that stuck out to me about this story, and the main reason it is on my list, is that we are never explicitly told which girl is black and which is white. You could examine this story all day and never figure out who is who, and it doesn’t matter to the story at all. It’s inspired, well written, and has some great things to say about culture from the past and today.

 

The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)

Ok, ok I’ve talked about this before, but it’s one of my favorite short stories I’ve ever read. It follows a woman who has moved into a vacation home with her husband, new baby, and a nanny. The story is told through journal entries written by the woman and we find out some disturbing things about her and her mental health.

Sure I’m a huge fan of dark and creepy stories, so this falls right into my alley, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it. This story was written in 1892, and was WAY ahead of its time with themes of mental illness and feminism. FEMINISM in the 1800’s? Unheard of! This story has more than meets the eye.

 

As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner (1930)

This is the first (and only) novel on this list and, let’s be honest, it’s because it is the only one I read to completion (sometimes a girl just can’t be bothered).

This story was groundbreaking as it had a TON of points of view, including the point of view of dead woman. The characters are so stupid, but it works beyond being hilarious (which it is).

I would have to say this was my favorite read of the whole semester, and I’m sure I’ll be picking up some more Faulkner soon.

 

The Life You Save May Be Your Own – Flannery O’Connor (1955)

Speaking of stupid characters, holy cow does O’Connor do stupid well, maybe even the best. I had never heard of O’Conner before this class, but she may be one of my favorite authors now.

This story is about an old woman and her daughter, BOTH named Lucynell, sitting on their porch in the middle of nowhere. The daughter is deaf and obviously has some more mental issues as she does thing like fall out of chairs, while sitting completely still. A one armed man named Mr. Shiftlet comes and does some handy work for the two women. By the end, Shiftlet leaves with the younger Lucynell, as her suitor.

If you’re a fan of cynical literature this is definitely for you, but warning it does not end happily so don’t go in hoping for happily ever after.

 

A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams (1947)

I must admit, I usually do not like reading plays. The format of them just bugs me, and takes me out of the story. This was not the case with A Streetcar Named Desire.

We follow Blanche, who moves in with her sister, Stella, and her husband, Stanley. Blanche has had a hard past and is a compulsive liar, and this causes her issues throughout the play.

While my synopsis is short, the play is full of content. It has everything I love in a story, mental illness being one. If you haven’t read or seen it, check it out!

 

That’s all for English class today, friends! Have you read these? If not, you totally should, a lot, if not all can be found online. Hope you enjoyed this long overdue post!

Posted in Books, Classics, Reviews

14. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath REVIEW

I first heard about this book from the booktuber RGsDevilship who has a very similar reading style to my own. I was so intrigued that I had to pick it up right away. So did I like it? Let’s find out!

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R (Disturbing imagery, some sex) : 266 pages

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time.

The Good:

  • One of my favorite books of all time is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger and this book really reminded of it. I’m not the only one either, when I looked it up, there were even papers written over the similarities.
  • The psychology of it all was so interesting. I really felt that she was falling into insanity.
  • Even though the main character, Esther, was doing things that were odd or self destructive, I still found her super likable.
  • This book is written in first person and the unreliability of Esther’s mind and thoughts were used to the books advantage.

The Bad:

  • While Esther was really fleshed out and well written, I felt the other characters were sometimes “meh”. I know it may be because of the first person narration, but I would have liked to learn a little more about the other characters.

 

I really enjoyed this book. I could barely put it down! I would highly recommend it to those who enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye or who are interested in psychology.

  • Characters – 4/5 (Esther was great, others were meh.)
  • Plot               – 4/5 (Great idea)
  • Writing        – 5/5 (You really felt like you were in the mind of a mentally ill person)
  • Unique         – 4/5 (Unlike most other books I’ve read, besides The Catcher in the Rye)

Overall I rate this 4.25 Mental Breakdowns out of 5

 

Have you read this? What did you think about it? I would love to know!

Posted in Books, Classics, Reviews

11. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck REVIEW

This book is on so many of the “Books you need to read before you die lists” that I couldn’t escape it for long. So what did I think of this age-old classic? Let’s find out!

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PG-13 Content (Language and violence); 112 pages

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world. Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream–a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.

The Good:

  • Obviously this book is a classic for a reason. I believe it is because of the honest view of mental disabilities and their affect on those around them, especially loved ones.
  • Eddie and Lenny’s relationship is really touching. Eddie looks out for Lenny even when he doesn’t need to, but it does hold Eddie back . It is nice to see a character with a truly good heart who expects nothing from his good deeds.
  • This book is heartbreaking. If you don’t know the ending I won’t spoil it for you, but have tissues handy.

The Bad:

  • Calling this a book is generous, as it is more of a novella. Now I don’t have an issue with this alone, but they introduce so many characters in the short story that I did’t feel like I had enough time to get to know them.
  • I’m sure it was supposed be this way, but I was pretty uncomfortable throughout the entire book. Usually this doesn’t bother me, as I love horror and thrillers, but it really took me out of the story.

 

Overall I was kind of disappointed with this book. I wanted it to be amazing and it was just meh.

  • Characters – 3/5 (Too short with too many characters)
  • Plot                -3/5 (It was fine, nothing spectacular)
  • Writing        -4/5 (You really feel there)
  • Uniqueness-3/5 (Good representation of mental illness)

 

Overall I rate it 3.25 bunny rabbits out of 5

 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to know!

 

Posted in Books, Classics, Reviews

7. Watership Down – Richard Adams // 5-29-16

Out of all the books I read this year, this one surprised me the most.

Set in England’s Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of friends, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

I got this book as a Christmas present from my sister, who recommended it highly. Although I was excited to receive the book, my sister and I have had very different taste, in the past. Luckily we agreed on this one.

The Good:

  • The introduction of this book made me realize that this was a good fit for me. In this Adams writes about how he came about writing Watership Down and explains some of the intricacies of the book, which I will touch on later. The last line of the Introduction, though, is was really pulled me in. It said,

I want to emphasize that Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable. It is simply a story about rabbits that I made up and told, in the car.

  • As previously mentioned, this book is cleverly intricate, in that it makes you feel like the rabbits really do have an entire culture of their own. They have their own language and beliefs, but none of this I ever found confusing. I think, in the end, these little things really added to the story and made it even more believable.
  • All of the characters are easily distinguishable, even though they are just rabbits.
  • This is not a children’s book. It is real and believable, and even though it could probably be enjoyed by children, I believe this was written with adults in mind.
  • This reminded me of the Warriors series, a lot. I loved those when I was younger, and I
    wonder if Erin Hunter drew inspiration from Watership Down.

 

 

The Bad :

  • This is an almost 500 page book and it sometimes felt like it was dragging on forever. This is not because it was boring, by any means and I believe every page was necessary for the story, I just found myself having a hard time wanting to read it some times.
  • I mentioned earlier that the rabbits had their own religion, and I really enjoyed that. However, sometimes the rabbits would take a break from furthering on their current adventure to tell stories of their religion. Sometimes I really liked this, but other times I wished they would have just gone on doing whatever they were doing instead of stopping for storytelling.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! It was everything I wanted it to be, and more. If you are in the mood for a simple read, about some rabbits and their lives, I would strongly recommend you pick this up.

 

I would rate this 9.5 out of 10 Hrududus

P.S. – Hrududu – rabbit word for a motored vehicle (presumably after the sound they make).