For Banned Book Week!
I think 3.5 stars.
Look, I'm not the brightest bulb okay, I know this, you know this. I remember in high school my history teacher made us watch The Wizard of Oz and write about how it was a metaphor for populism or something, I didn't get it. I still don't, all I thought was he was ruining a fantastic movie by reading too much into it. My point? It's entirely possible I have completely missed the point of the book. I got out of it what I got out of it.
The writing: I did like the writing. I could not only see the crowd and hear their roar, but I felt the sweat trickle down my back as I waited with them. Sometimes it was almost too much--too descriptive, but the author could paint a hell of a picture.
The word choice: Well, being written in like 1945 about things that happened in 1933, there were quite a few offensive things in there. There was also some rather...and I don't know if it was just old-timey and so I didn't know the words or if because this guy was a journalist and educated he decided to use particular words, sometimes it was just like...I'm sure there was an easier way to say that.
The dialogue: What I'm about to point out is not exclusive to this book, something about the writing of female dialogue from back in the day makes all women sound like they caught the crazies. They repeat the same words over and over and over. Ugh...Jack's dialogue I found to be pretty straight forward and intelligent. Everyone else seemed about right actually, except the women. Well...and Sadie, but I'm not entirely sure she counted as a woman--not like the rest of them.
The characters: Here is where we run into problems my friends. I liked...almost no one in the story. Jack, I liked. He was clever and rather straight forward. He didn't sugar coat anything or allow anyone else to do it to him. His perspective may not have been entirely reliable as he was in the middle of things, but he seemed pretty even. His mother was tolerable most of the time. Honestly I liked the judge. Lucy-well I felt badly for her at times, but she didn't inspire much else in me. Everyone else? Terrible. Anne was quite possibly the most infuriating even though maybe she wasn't supposed to be and I was so disappointed that [SHOW SPOILER] Sadie Burke was also terrible, the only thing I liked about her was that she at least wasn't the caricature that all the other women seemed to be, but she was awful as well. Annabelle was the damn devil. Willie...what to say about Willie. There was a time in the book I actually felt badly for him, but that didn't last too long. Not that I thought he deserved what happened to him, but I wasn't devastated either. All the henchmen and politicians-ugh. Adam was interesting, I couldn't quite get a grasp of him actually, but I liked him quite well until he lost his mind.
The plot: It was kind of all over the place, which is fine I guess. We go from 1933, to 1922 to 1939 back to the 186-something. There were stories within the story, which I guess is the way real life works as well. I got caught up in the smaller stories, I enjoyed the history as we were learning it.
Like I said, I'm not sure I understand the point. I only know what I pulled out of it. It was a story about the ripples, about the actions people take and how it affects others. It was a story about survival and self-preservation at times and what that will lead to. Even though people were doing shady things, you could see how it happened, how it came to that. What people settled for, what they could live with and ultimately what they couldn't.
I did like it. There isn't anyone I could specifically recommend it to.