Monday, May 3, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
My final reviews from the month of April.
All's Well That Ends Well
by William Shakespeare
Helena, a physician's daughter, falls in love with a nobleman, Bertram. She cures the king with the stipulation that he will give her Bertram as her husband. They marry, but Bertram can't stand her and leaves before they even spend one night together. He gives her a brush off and says she isn't his real wife until she bears him a child... but he won't sleep with her. He then tries to court another woman.
Helena is a witty and resourceful woman and comes up with a way to trick him into impregnating her. All's Well That Ends Well... I guess. So Helena wins over her husband, who doesn't like her, by tricking him. In my opinion Helena's love and efforts are completely wasted on a selfish jerk. Even Bertram's mother thinks that Helena is a wonderful wife for her son. I wish Helena would have wised up and picked a different guy from the get-go. The play has Shakespeare classic puns and double entendres, but it's not one of my favorites of his.
Beat the Reaper
by Josh Bazell
A former mobster now works as a doctor in a Manhattan hospital. He's in the witness protection program, but a patient recognizes him, putting him once again, in danger. The violence/sex descriptions are pretty graphic, but it's entertaining if you can ignore the language. There are definitely some gross parts. It's a fast-paced thriller that takes you from the streets of New York to the death camps in Poland. It's also peppered with medical trivia that I loved. Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride.
by Joshua Ferris
Tim, a middle-aged lawyer, struggles with an unnamed disease that causes him to walk without stopping for hours. His wife Jane and teenage daughter Becka try to understand it and how it affects all of their lives. To me the point of this book is not the disease itself, but instead the relationships it affects.
A subplot is woven throughout the story that deals with a murder case Tim is working on. The case acted like a litmus test for the severity of his disease at the time. It was an interesting way to show how bad the symptoms were at any given point.
I loved the way Ferris describes each of the characters. I became fascinated not by the walking, but by his wife and daughter's responses to his walking over time. Their anger, frustration, love, disbelief, hopelessness were intoxicating. His own reactions were also interesting, but it was their point-of-view that I loved. I would absolutely recommend this.
An excerpt from the book...
"From the first bite of his sandwich to the last he ate mechanically and without pleasure. The ache of his jaw told him he had to finish. The duty of lunch had been acquitted."