Monday, December 13, 2010

A fond see-you-soon

Yes, the lights have gotten a little dim here at the Reader's Well blog.  I am not going very far, so don't think I'm abandoning my post.  Things are just a little busy right now, so I won't be posting reviews *as often* as I have been (aka once a week or so, which I do realize has dwindled to about once a month).  Sorry, guys, I do expect to have more time next year (barely a month away!), and I am totally looking forward to reading what books I will undoubtedly accumulate in the meantime (and the ones on the shelves I still haven't gotten to after how many years/months...).

On the other hand, I have just received my very first free book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers!  It's called Original Sins: A Novel of Slavery and Freedom, written by Peg Kingman, who also wrote Not Yet Drown'd.  Original Sins is about Scottish woman Grace McDonald in 19th-century America who paints portraits to earn some money while her husband is away at sea.  Grace's good friend Anibaddh, a former slave, has just returned to America from the East Indies to push her successful silk business.  Right you are - a now-freed slave who has returned to the states from her comfortable life abroad in the Indies, and will now venture down south to make a few extra bucks?  Nah, Anibaddh is really looking for something else down in the slave states, and she draws her friend Grace into the intrigue - who, unbeknownst at the time, will have a great deal of history (hers, Anibaddh's, and America's) to reckon with.

It sounds like the good, the bad and the ugly in America's past will rear all their heads in this one, and I am really excited to get going!  Of course, I have also picked up another book (let it be a secret for now) to read simultaneously, and let me warn you if I haven't before, that never goes quite as planned.  So without further adieu, I change my Currently Reading widget thingy and bid you a fond see-you-soon, while I deal with some before- and aftershocks of moving, holiday shopping, marriage, and work madness.  You feel me, right?

Take care till then, folks, and have a fantastic holiday!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flowers in the Attic

The Dollanganger children are quite content, living in 1950's American suburbia.  They're part of a fully functioning family, as narrated by the second-oldest child Cathy, with bright futures ahead -- until their perfect dream lives quickly become one solid nightmare when their father is suddenly killed in a car accident, leaving the 4 kids and their mother.  And thank goodness for Mother - she has arranged for Grandma and Grandpa, who the children have mysteriously never met, to have the devastated family all stay at their beautiful, luxurious mansion in Virginia.  What luck!  The family arrives in Virginia in the dead of night, 3am, to the welcome, open arms of ... no one.  The kids are quickly shuffled up to one of many upstairs rooms, and the door is locked behind them...
Flowers in the Attic
All of a sudden thrown into a dark world of terror and incredible suffering, the four - Chris, Cathy, and the two little twins Carrie and Cory are on their own.  Surely Mother will rescue them from their hellish lives in the attic once dear Grandpa dies, leaving his daughter and grandkids the inheritance money!  Little do the children know how much their perfect, wonderful mother is hiding, and how this could ruin all of their lives forever.  And although the children are not yet aware, the horror has already begun...

Flowers in the Attic is a great book.  I've been wanting to read this forever, and I finally just grabbed it off the library shelf, even though the copy was all tattered and faded.  But I raced right through it (which for me takes like a week) and hated to put it down every time.  Just the way the book is paced - so thoughtfully, as things go from great, to weird, to pretty bad to extremely terrible and finally horror-movie unimaginable.  Small moments of hope and suspenseful periods, when you think their suffering will all be over, interrupt an otherwise bleak look at the "perfect" world of American suburbia.  Mostly, I felt physically ill, as if I were going through some of the terrible things the kids were forced into.  This book is also an exposition of the power of children's love for their parents.  Unfailing, unconditional and everlasting, in the face of extreme tests and surrounded by adult hatred and betrayal.  Eventually, you will question who the children are and who the tyrants are - let's just say the apple does not fall far from the tree.

This is the first of a series of Dollangager books.  I hope to eventually pick up the next three, but I doubt any sequel in this genre could be as good as this first installment, Flowers in the Attic.  I've also heard the movie is crap, as most awesome books turn out to be.