(by topeng francisco)
Finished reading this the other day. After putting down the book I felt sad for a moment because, for me, everything in it were devastating true and utterly heartbreaking.
Review - The Bride’s Farewell by Meg Rosoff
On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees — determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work and sorrow. She takes the only thing that truly belongs to her: Jack, a white horse.
The road ahead is rich with longing, silence and secrets, and each encounter leads her closer to the untold story of her past. Then Pell meets a hunter, infuriating, mysterious and cold. Will he help her to find what she seeks?
The Bride’s Farewell is a moving story of love and lost things, with a core of deep, beautiful romance.
The Bride’s Farewell is very different from Meg Rosoff’s other novels, How I Live Now and Just In Case (I have yet to read What I Was), but it wouldn’t be fair to judge it against them.
This particular novel takes place in the 19th century and centres around 17-year-old Pell. Pell leaves her home without notice and runs away from her family and fiance because she is unhappy with her situation and vows never to marry. This is the first instance where I felt Pell was a strong, feminist female character and realised this wasn’t going to be a stereotypical “chick-lit romance” novel (not that I think chick-lit is anti-feminist!), which I had assumed it would be based on the title and cover (I have the purple Penguin Books cover which features a young girl alone on a horse. It looks very girly and picturesque with no book description, which made me try to guess what the book was going to be about). Pell takes her younger brother, Bean (who never attempts to speak), with her and sets off on her horse in order to find a job (also unheard of in the society she is in). Pell and Bean become separated and Rosoff alternates between telling the reader about Pell and Bean’s experiences (although, in my opinion, with not enough focus on Bean).
This is a short novel (only 186 pages, with extremely short chapters) and I feel this may be one of the reasons why we are not able to get to know every character and understand their story, which leaves many unanswered questions, but this does not necessarily make for a bad story. I enjoyed this book overall, which is why I’m giving it 3.5/5. It offers a refreshing look at 19th century society and does not fall in to stereotypes. It is by no means perfect but may be an ideal novel for people, like me, who generally read novels set in the 21st century.
My rating: 3.5/5
Goodreads average rating: 3.4/5
(by Lauren Marek)
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Review - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Jay Asher’s brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative — alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening — this honest, poignant story reveals how other people’s actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual’s faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.
At first, I didn’t think much of Thirteen Reasons Why. I’d seen so much hype about it but I found it quite whiney. I didn’t particularly sympathise with Hannah that much. So, someone gossiped about you? That’s not a reason to kill yourself. It just sounded like the normal American high school experience to me and considering I’m nothing like the people on Skins either, I cannot relate.
However, the reasons behind Hannah’s suicide started to become more complex half way through the book. It was easy to imagine her desperation and need for someone to talk to, for example, writing the anonymous note saying that you wanted to commit suicide and have people be unsympathetic in class. I could imagine her sitting in her chair fuming, raging, wanting to run outside and cry because these people just weren’t getting it. I think the whole “easier to imagine” thing contributed to my liking the book.
At the beginning, I could not understand the reaction Clay was having. I personally thought he and Hannah were a bit odd. As the book goes on, as you find out what she meant to him, it becomes more clear. The author is male and I think this affected Hannah’s characterisation. She didn’t seem real enough to me whereas Clay did.
I think suicide is a topic that should be discussed more at school. Suicide, especially on the internet, is seen as a joke. Overall, the book is very blunt. It doesn’t care about describing settings and uses simple language. I’m guessing this is because the whole book is told by two teenagers - it is going to be very self-centered.
I’m giving the book 3.5/5 because I liked it - I still found myself rushing through to the end to find out what other events occurred - but I didn’t love it. I agree with what someone else told me “you just want to shout “STOP HER!” even though you already know you can’t”. I liked it but I feel it did not live up to the hype. However, I think it’ll make a great movie and one that’s needed to highlight the problem and reality of teenage suicide.
"I hated poetry until someone showed me how to appreciate it. He told me to see poetry as a puzzle. It’s up to the reader to decipher the code, or the words, based on everything they know about life and emotions."
My rating: 3.5/5
Goodreads average rating: 4/5