Saturday, August 27, 2016

BOOKS: Eleanor's Heartburn in the Kingdom

I just went through a spell of really, really good reads. The kind that have you flitting about for the next read because, how will it compare with what you just finished? Three in a row.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I had the print copy, but ended up listening non-stop to the audiobook version. Non-stop.

My first Rowell! Set in the 80s, two misfits find love after sitting together on the bus. Park is half-Korean, and comes from a loving and supportive home. Things aren't perfect but his parents are trying. Eleanor has a horrific home life, with an evil step-father, and no money. Eleanor broke my heart, trying to fit in and get by, and then she meets Park. After dissing Romeo and Juliet as a stupid lovestory, (yay!) the story then proceeds to show the depth that teenage love can reach.

(What goes on in the mind of those controlling asshat men? I almost wanted to read the story from her step-father's point of view, because what thought process happens to make men so controlling and unreasonable? I probably don't really want to read that story, but it did occur to me. He was such a stereotypical character, but they are all over the place in real life.)

Also, this story was a good reminder as a teacher that what you see in class can tell you nothing about students' home life.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by Meryl Streep

Still in the 80s, but now it was written in 1983, not a look back. First up, Ephron is hilarious! She's written some iconic movies -When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood, Julie & Julia. I also read her book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck and loved it.

This is a semi-autobiographical account of her divorce from reporter Carl Bernstein and she manages to take a horrible situation - seven months pregnant and discovering her husband is having an affair, with Thelma Rice of all people! and find the humour. Part of my enjoyment was the narration by Meryl Streep, who played the main character in the movie of the same name. Streep was perfection and the story was short, but hilarious.

The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty, 480 pages

I listened to the first part of this trilogy,  A Corner of White, last summer. I searched out the print copy and still really enjoyed this weird blend of fantasy, alternate worlds and science.

How to review the second book, without giving away some of the surprise twists from the end of the first book? I found this little snippit at Librarything:

"This story is unusual, gorgeously written, whimsical and witty. A tale of growing up, friendship and dealing with absent fathers. Peppered with fascinating facts about history of science and the science of colours. The heart of the story is in the characters and their relationships. I thought it was lovely and was enjoying it enormously.

AND THEN! And then, unexpectedly, the pieces suddenly start falling together! This was incredibly exciting and satisfying and unexpected."

Oh, the science. James Clerk Maxwell, the duality of electricity and magnetism, wave-particle behaviour of light, Faraday and Newton. There isn't so much science that would be confusing or overwhelming, but just enough if you are into that sort of thing. Which I am!

A Tangle of Gold is the final book, and the end of the second book has left me on the cliff, and looking forward the the ending.