Maybe I should make this a weekly feature.I do devour books by the week as-is and I love dissecting and analyzing the story to bits.I know, sounds violent but if you love books as much as I do, I don’t need to explain that.
1. I’m done with Pendragon : The Pilgrims of Rayne (book 8) and it was a good read, as always (so far, touchwood*).You see a ‘ whole nother’ side to Bobby and a much more likeable Courtney, Saint Dane still talks in riddles, it’s very ‘ the fate of all halla rests on the shoulders of Bobby Pendragon’ ..so for anyone who’s been following the series, there isn’t a moment of disappointment.For anyone who hasn’t : “….”
2. I obviously ‘have a thing’ for psychology-fiction (well, mostly the former) so I’ve decided to bury my nose in We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel S( -omething.I forget.).And? I think there’s a very good reason it won the Orange Prize for fiction.I’m still not through with it, though..Almost but not quite.It is every bit as powerful, brave and compelling as the blurbs at the book-back claim it is.Currently I’m just amazed at how many books there are that go unsung no matter how good they are ( I’d never heard of this one, before! I chanced upon it in the library!).Nineteen Minutes is built on a similar theme, and as I read, I compare:
They’re both unconventional and I call them ‘brave’ because they bring into focus what everybody likes to push to the back of their heads, what everybody likes to believe is entirely fictitious and something that just happens to nameless, faceless people on the News when the reality is starkly different.They’re both novels on school shootouts.
Nineteen Minutes is different in that Jodi Picoult (author) manages to capture everyone’s POV**.You get inside the head of the messed up ‘kid’ behind the gun, the parents, the neighbours, cops..It’s more than just the direct victims affected in the case.It is so well presented that you actually catch yourself feeling sorry for the assailant.It paints a depressingly horrible but accurate picture of the many pretenses and cliches your average high-schooler deals with, and the court scenes are very well written.We Need to Talk About Kevin, on the other hand, is written solely from the POV of the mother (or ‘Mommer’) to the assailant, in the form of letters to her estranged husband.She does not try to defend him or even make him sound the least bit humane but portrays Kevin’s life as a series of vindictive acts that his father, while with them, refuses to believe.She obviously blames herself for being a negligent, unfeeling mother but as seems to be the goal of the entire correspondence (well, actually, it’s one-way so that’s not really the term) tries to prove to her ex-husband that Kevin’s faults had been plainly on display all along while he persisted in turning a blind eye to them.Basically, she is justifying her past self against her husband’s unspoken accusations , and the story just falls together along the way.It is a captivating book mostly due to the author (mother)’s strong (although whether ‘likeable’ is debatable..) character and amazing insight but mostly due to her style of spelling out uncomfortable truths.Nineteen Minutes is a lot more recent and easier to swallow because of the lead character’s having a ‘nicer’ side; it’s easier to accept that he was ‘pushed’ into it through the many tortures he is subjected to at school.That is his very reason, in fact.WNTAK, on the other hand seems to be an account of a kid with absolutely no conscience or er, feelings or anything at all remotely ‘normal’.
The whole thing brings to mind something from Kite Runner (another masterpiece) on ‘the astonishing cruelty of children’.
Definitely not some light, feel-good reading but then again, that is also precisely what makes them so worth reading.If that wasn’t a hint, I don’t know what is!
*Not really, I never do that.It’s called laziness..
** Point of View.Ahem.
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Update : I am now through with WNTAK, too.I can safely stick to my recommendation- in fact, the last ten pages or so are the best in the book.Here’s where the plots and twists, and ofcourse, the much called-for (in this case) happy ( well actually far from happy, but in comparison..) endings come in.Seriously.If you can lay your hands on this book-GO for it!