Friday, 16 April 2010

Post Easter Blog

Here I am back again. I'll start with a couple of book reviews:
The Rapture by Liz Jensen
In a merciless summer of biblical heat and destructive winds, Gabrielle Fox's main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her career as a psychologist after a shattering car accident. But when she is assigned Bethany Krall, one of the most dangerous teenagers in the country, she begins to fear she has made a terrible mistake. Raised on a diet of evangelistic hellfire, Bethany is violent, delusional, cruelly intuitive and insistent that she can foresee natural disasters - a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion. But when catastrophes begin to occur on the very dates Bethany has predicted, and a brilliant, gentle physicist enters the equation, the apocalyptic puzzle intensifies and the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator, or could she be the harbinger of imminent global cataclysm on a scale never seen before? And what can love mean in 'interesting times'? A haunting story of human passion and burning faith set against an adventure of tectonic proportions, "The Rapture" is an electrifying psychological thriller that explores the dark extremes of mankind's self-destruction in a world on the brink.
(Synopsis from Waterstones)
My Review
This book was in your face with vividly descriptive writing which ensured the book gained your interest right from the start. Entering through every pore into your psyche. It carries you along with its whirlwind and into its vortex. The book is tightly wound around the relationship of the recently disabled psychologist and her mentally disturbed teenage patient. Bethany Krall killed her own Mother but later on we discover why. Her ability to accurately predict climatic and seizmological disasters unsettles and questions whether these acts are induced in some unnerving way by a supernatural or psychic force. The story also uncovers the corrupt world of large multinational companies who deny their mistakes in an attempt to cover up leading to disastrous circumstances. A sad and tragic story.
A thoroughly recommended read. 5*
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
In Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt tells the story of his impoverished childhood and adolescence in Limerick, Ireland, during the 1930s and 1940s. Written from the point of view of the young boy, it is a long catalogue of deprivation and hardship: the alcoholism of his father, the despair of his mother, the deaths of three of his younger siblings, the grinding poverty and unsanitary living conditions they all had to endure. The story takes place in a highly religious society in which the dogmas of Roman Catholicism are accepted without question. In addition to Catholicism, the people of Limerick exhibit a narrow provincialism, in which Protestants and anyone who comes from the north of Ireland are despised, and an Irish nationalism that is fueled by hatred of the English. And yet the effect of the story, although often poignant and sad, is not depressing. The young narrator describes the events without bitterness, anger, or blame. Poverty and hardship are treated simply as if they are a fact of life, like the weather. And in spite of the hard circumstances, many episodes are hilarious.
(Synopsis from enotes.com)
My Review
A biography about his naive Irish Mother shipped off to America who falls pregnant by the first Irish fella she meets over there. A life of hardship with a drunken Father from Northern Ireland and a naive Irish lass from Limerick. The parents pop out children like rabbits to sadly lose the fifth child - a girl. The parents are incapable of bringing up the four boys and are shipped back to Ireland by relatives who wish to have nothing to do with this family. The tragedy continues where Angela miscarries another baby boy and loses the youngest (twins) to pneumonia. Angela goes on to produce two more sons and nearly loses Frankie to typhoid. Such is their hardship and the continued loss of the Father's work as he drinks away his earnings that they continue to live in squalor and poor circumstances, claiming relief.
I expected the book to be rather harrowing but tainted with an edge of humour and the good natured feel of the writer - I was pleasantly surprised. It's worth a read if this sort of book is your cup of tea. 3*

News
It was great to have family home at Easter and to catch up with other relatives and friends. We haven't ventured very far due to the continuation of the decoration of one of the bedrooms. Carpetright have delayed so we cannot get the room back together as quickly as anticipated. Unfortunately the reunion was not as successful as last time, therefore it has been decided to leave it until next year before the next one. What's coming up? A visit to the elder with a good look around the wonerful Bookends for some bargains. Reading group next week, I'd better get that email reminder out. Someone's birthday and my little soiree which should be good fun. Musically I've had a better month, although I have deleted one of Marianne Faithfull's albums off the ipod. Some of her stuff is in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht and I'm not a fan of his. I do confess to liking James Blunt though and I'm not ashamed even if he is labelled as depressing!

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