Thursday, May 23, 2013

Books: Great Gatsby, Flight Behavior, Breathing Lessons

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I read this in high school and have a vague recollection of really liking it. And re-read it for book club and liked it significantly less this time. This is the story of Jay Gatsby and his quest for long lost love Daisy, who just happens to be Nick's cousin, who is neighbor to Gatsby. Gatsby like a luxurious life, filled with parties and insignificant friendships. Daisy is married, with a two year-old, to Tom, who is having an affair with a married woman. Fitzgerald's writing is amazing. I love the way he paints pictures of their lives and parties and adventures. But I didn't like any of the characters and their morals are questionable at best. Nevertheless, read it because it's an example classic American literature. I'm planning to see the movie soon, so I'll se how they compare. 3/5 stars

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

I love Kinsgolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books so I was really excited to pick up her new novel. This is the story of Dellarobia, a housewife in modern-day Appalachia, who, on her way to meet a lover, stumbles upon a valley of fire. This valley of fire turns out to be monarch butterflies driven to different migration patterns by global warming. Her normal life, filled with a too-kind husband, overbearing mother-in-law and father-in-law who wants to log the mountain for quick cash, is turned upside down when scientists and enthusiasts come from all over to study the phenomenon.  Kingsolver does another great job telling this story. It takes a little while to really delve into the story line, but her writing drew me in and I couldn't wait to see what happens to the butterflies, Dellarobia's marriage and their farm. If you're a fan of her other novels I definitely recommend this one. 4/5 stars

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

Description from Wikipedia: "The story describes the joys and pains of the ordinary marriage of Ira and Maggie Moran as they travel from Baltimore to attend a funeral and back home again in one day. It also examines Maggie's attempts to reconcile her son and daughter-in-law. A few detours during their 90-mile drive reveal Ira and Maggie's incompatibilties, disappointments, unmet expectations - and lasting love" This came highly recommended by someone I met and has similar taste in book (we were both reading Flight Behavior). It also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. I wasn't sure why until I read the Pulitzer Prize is awarded to a work that depicts American Life, which makes total sense to me. That's exactly what this novel was and I was so bored. Ira and Maggie lead a relatively simple life, Ira is consistent and practical, Maggie is a little flighty and dramatic and meddling. And the whole book takes place in one day with various flashbacks. I mostly don't recommend reading it, unless it sounds utterly fascinating to you. 2/5 stars

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I wouldn't compare the GG movie and book. If I'm remembering the book correctly, they're kind of different. I remember not really liking the book in high school but the movie was visually stunning, the music was awesome, and I loved the story. Let me know what you think when you see it!