Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review #699 - Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. 

But that past has caught up with her. 

Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424 — one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. 

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. 

My Rating: 3/5

As a casual viewer of the Netflix series (I think I've seen the first 2 or 3 seasons) of the same name, I was interested in this book to see how realistic the show is because fortunately, I know absolutely nothing about the prison experience.

Piper Kerman gives a harrowing account of her experience in a minimum security prison. There were aspects that the show has incorporated well like the strip searches, the showers and even some confrontations with other inmates.

There were so many characters from the show in the book even though most were not mentioned by name, or had an extremely lower role. 

Piper comes across as humble. She was very aware of her privileged background in comparison to her fellow inmates but she used this to help others like doing her bunkmate's coursework. 

One thing I definitely liked more about the book than the show was Piper's partner Larry. I do not like him at all in the show, but in the book he was 100% supportive and kept Piper's networking going, because being incarcerated can really kill your social life.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Book Review #698 - Three Men in a Boat (Three Men #1) by Jerome K. Jerome


Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a ‘T’. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks—not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This was a hard book for me to review because I had so many mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I absolutely loved the humour! This book had me literally laughing out loud with tears in my eyes at times and it amazed me that a book that is almost coming up to being 130 years old could still have that effect.

On the other hand however, between the witty antidotes the narrative was quite boring with so much information about scenery and history of each little town they passed.

This book also contained a dog which I loved especially as he had a strong presence and personality. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review #697 - The Shining (The Shining #1) by Stephen King

Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

My Rating: 4/5

This is my third Stephen King novel and it's definitely my favourite so far (with the other two being Carrie and Salem's Lot).

This book was completely different than what I was expecting. I did not expect the protagonist to be a five year old boy, even though I did love him in that role.

I found the setting of the story to be the main element in the whole thrilling nature of the book. Not only is the Torrence family alone in a very old, isolated and haunted hotel but a huge snow storm causes them to become even more isolated.

Family is an important theme in this book especially between father and son. Danny idolizes his father Jack but Jack hasn't always treated Danny well in the past, especially when he gets drunk.

Flashbacks show that Jack had a similar relationship with his own father.

I really liked the supernatural element in this story. Danny has the ability to hear people's thoughts and at times see the future. This ability is called "the shining". 

This ability and Danny's young age make him very vulnerable and innocent which makes me think he probably needed a life time of therapy following the way the book ended.

When the family move to the isolated hotel where Jack finds employment, Danny's ability becomes stronger as the hotel makes all three of them suffer bouts of insanity. 

I'm not sure how I feel about Jack. He wasn't a very nice person to begin with and the hotel made him worse. The flashbacks to where he was drunk and the way he treated Wendy and Danny make him unlikable. 

The book wasn't as thrilling as I thought it was going to be but it did have a number of hair raising moments. I can definitely see why Joey Tribbiani felt the need to put this book in the freezer.