Thursday, September 20, 2012
Malcom, or Mal, is over half a ton. He is the fattest man in England. He went to bed on his 25th birthday, never to arise again. This is the novel equivalent of the TLC special "The Half Ton Teen" or "Half Ton Man."
Mal grew up as a fairly popular boy and teen. Girls liked him, his brother envied him, but he was eccentric. He began taking his clothes off in public, walking around naked never providing a reason why. Mal's mother is a woman who only knows how to care for others. She is the type that cannot function if she is not doting on another person, doing everything for them. She enabled Mal to become the size of a whale. Mal's father, distant and full of regret, hides away in the attic working on various projects trying to overcome his demons. Mal's brother, the narrator of the story, falls in love with Mal's girlfriend and is often forgotten about. Even as I am writing this I cannot think of his name off the top of my head.
A dysfunctional family saga, "Bed" chronicles Mal's and his brother's childhood leading up to the day the family home must be opened with a crane to finally remove Mal after 20 years.
David Whitehouse attempts to write with humor; however, I did not find this to be a comical story. I found it depressing, yet real. The family dynamic is one that is often seen throughout America; the Black Sheep, the enabling parent, the distant non involved parent, and the forgotten about "decent" child.
I was often horrified by this book just as I am when I watch Hoarders on TV. How can someone feed their son to be over 1,000 pounds? How can two other family members allow it to go on for over 20 years? How can this happen in real life?? This book is a complete train wreck, and I am still not completely sure about my thoughts of it. I recommend it because it is so different, but also do not recommend it because it left me feeling sickened.
Read at your own risk.
Monday, September 10, 2012
The school year is officially underway. So far, I have not stopped reading. I hope that I can keep it this way. I have a few books that have been on my list because they were on my grandmother's kindle when she passed away. If I read a book that she read close to her death, I somehow feel closer to her. Her favorite author was John Grisham and this was on her kindle. I knew I wouldn't be able to get to it my huge "to-read" list anytime soon, so I decided to pick it up at the library on an audiobook.
The story was entertaining, but not memorizing like past John Grisham novels have been for me. Every other Grisham book has kept me up all hours of the night. The plot was fairly "ho hum." The storyline is about two sleazy lawyers (Findley and Figg) and their small practice. They chase after ambulances to try and get clients and advertise on bingo chips. A big firm lawyer, David Zink, leaves his old demanding job behind to work at the small firm of Findley and Figg. Wally Figg chooses to go after a big drug company because one of its cholesterol drugs supposedly causes heart problems. This case is the premise of the story. The book is marketed as a legal thriller, however, I didn't find anything thrilling about it. Never once was I on the edge of my seat to find out what was going to happen next. I would simply call this a predictable novel based on a boring law suit. Not John Grisham's best. I look forward to "legal thrillers" for big court room scenes. There was a courtroom scene in this one, but it was only a fraction of the story and I knew the outcome before I even heard the verdict.
Maybe I didn't LOVE it because I was not really interested in what the case was about....A cholesterol drug case didn't really do it for me. There was a side case that David Zink pursued about a little boy living with permanent brain damage due to lead poisoning. In my opinion, there could have been an entire book written on that story. I kept wanting to hear more about how David was going to get money out of the toy company for the family.
For anyone wanting to read a good legal thriller, this is not the book for you.
Monday, September 3, 2012
While perusing Barnes and Noble one day, I read the back of this book. The synopsis reads as follows: "Wickedly funny and utterly recognizable, Girls in White Dresses tells the story of three women grappling with heartbreak and career change, family pressure and new love--all while suffering through an endless round of weddings and bridal showers." So I thought, hmm, this sounds like a book I could relate to.
Erin picked it for our book club. It was on her "to-read" list also. I was excited to have a "girly" book for a change. I hadn't read many of those this summer. I just have to say it. This book was MISERABLE. I wouldn't even call it a book. It was a collection of short stories about, supposedly, three main characters named Isabella, Mary, and Lauren. I didn't know that these girls were supposed to be the main characters because each chapter talked about another "character." The author chose to not develop characters, a setting, or a plot. I think she literally just wrote random stories and put girls' names on them. There was NO story line in my opinion. There was NO beginning, climax, or resolution. NO story grammar elements whatsoever. I don't even classify myself as someone who only reads "excellent writing." If you read my blog, you know I read some books with poor writing, but this book can only be described as BAD WRITING.
The book was actually a quick read. I somehow was able get through it in about 3 sittings. Maybe this was because I wanted it to be over. I would not recommend this book unless you are a fan of poor character development and invisible plot lines. I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't.
Has anyone else read it? I hope not.
Right now I am listening to The Litigators by John Grisham. I am loving audiobooks right now. I also have two highly rated books in line for my next posts. Don't worry. They are supposed to be good.