Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I can't hear you

Hawthorne wanted snow to symbolize cold, that’s what I think. Cold and silence. Nothing quieter than snow. The sky screams to deliver it, a hundred banshees flying on the edge of the blizzard. But once the snow covers the ground, it hushes as still as my heart.” Page 130

Silence is a breeding ground for lies, torture, guilt, the loss of trust, and so much more. All these manage to band together to create the strongest mouth gag, capable of locking up a person forever and throwing away the key if not dealt with. I have heard it said that it is easier to be happy, less energy, than sad. I think that’s wrong. It is easy to fall prey to the sadness, in a way a sort of comfort to let yourself fall and forget the good things, the good times.

Laurie Halse Anderson opened the door 11 years ago for girls (quite possibly boys too) everywhere. Speak is a look at what the silence can do to anyone. Rape is a sensitive subject, but Laurie manages to handle it with great concern and tenderness. She has opened the door for others to break the silence and to help mend the wounds that Rape has left open too long. This book is essential even for those who haven’t been subjected to similar cruelties. It gives them incite not only how to help, but to know what it is like.

Laurie’s style of writing can be best described as poetic. She paints pictures with her descriptions and the detail of Melinda’s thoughts. I read so many passages that are worth writing down to remember. She is truly gifted.

Reading this book was unplanned. I was in the midst of two other books at the time I started it. I was on Twitter last week when I discovered Speak was receiving negative attention in Missouri. Some misinformed (nice name for an idiot) man is laying claim to the fact that the book should be banned for its pornographic content. Clearly this man does not have or use a dictionary. After reading Laurie’s blog post about the situation, I decided I would read the book.*

Here are the conclusions I’ve come to:

  • A. Pornographic – Material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement; which this book DOES NOT CONTAIN. The fact that someone would consider Rape a form of sexual arousal is disgusting.
  • B. This man has never read Speak.
  • C. He has too much time on his hands.
  • D. He needs to read the First Amendment
  • E. If he really is concerned about what young people are reading he should examine other books or maybe read the book before throwing such silly allegations. I have read books with FAR worse content and it is just ridiculous what he is saying.
  • F. Finally always read things for yourself. Do not form opinions based on what others say or rumors. Hello! My dad has been telling me this all my life.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book that seems to me odd phrasing. I will say it was a very moving and thought provoking story. You should read it.

A note to Laurie: I hope things turn out for the best with this ridiculous situation. Thank you for writing Melinda’s story. Thank you for tackling such an important and delicate subject. I wish you all the best. ~Maddie

Two blog posts in one week; this is a first for me!

*I watched the movie a few years ago, just never got around to reading the book.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Book Review

As a person who judges books by their covers 85% of the time and refuses to read inside flaps: it will come as no surprise that this book was no exception. Although, this time, while the cover was intriguing it was actually the movie trailer that spiked my interest. Nearly a year ago I saw the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and I instantly knew I wanted to read the book. Aside from an action packed movie trailer, I really had no idea what it was about. Contrary to what you might have thought me capable of, I neither speak nor understand Swedish. The movie is made with subtitles, not included in the trailer, otherwise it is completely Swedish.

It was only this past month that I finally got around to reading the book. When I started reading I was slightly annoyed, mostly with myself. I didn't understand the financial gibberish; money, politics, more money, stocks, fraud. . .the book might as well have been in its original Swedish. That was short lived, though, I decided to keep reading and not worry about understanding everything.

This is a story written by a truly gifted and complex person. Stieg Larrson must have been incredibly intelligent. It is sad he was unable to live to see the success of his books.

If I never go to Sweden, I may have been there through this book. His ability to describe the country in which his characters live so vividly is admirable. The characters themselves leap off the page, eager to claim their stakes in the real world, not just the book world.

Lisabeth was such an intricate character. While she was not easily accessible to the other people in the book, she was to me as the reader. The pain, the “introvertedness”, the anger, were so real and easy to relate to. Where is this girl? I'd like to befriend her.

The mystery kept me reading and thinking. I was eager to solve it along side of Mikael and Lisabeth. I really appreciate that this book, while happening in the span of a year, moves along. Many books written like this, you're stuck reading 20 – 40 pages of nothing. The author manages to have the story last a year, but have the plot continually moving as well. Each part was an intricately woven piece of the story, never boring.

This book is quite possibly one of the most Adult books I've read. I will warn you that it has the elements of: Sadism, Graphic Murder, Sex, Incest, Torture, and Perverted Sexuality. This does not take away from the story's (nor does it add to it really) level of liking, but it is important to me personally to point out such content as disturbing.

I plan to read the other books and to finally watch the Swedish version of the movie. It will come as no surprise that America will be making their own version. American filmmakers don't like to be left out. I'm confident I'll like the Swedish version better. You've heard it before, I'm sure, that things are always better in their original language.
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