Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
423 pages
published: 2004
2 of 5 stars

For an upcoming book club I needed to read a book by Jodi Picoult, and my friend Michelle very obligingly brought over 3 for me to choose from. I was worried when I read the backs of these books - not one interested me in the slightest. So, I picked the one most highly recommended by Michelle and started.

I was immediately surprised by how interesting it was, and how involved I became. It quickly got to the point where I couldn't put it down. I was loving it! The book was amazing me with its honestly and rawness. The subject was controversial and heart rending. I enjoyed how it cycled through the points-of-view of the main characters. It was fascinating and disconcerting that the character whose actions and decisions I agreed with the least was the character whose chapters made me cry. I didn't agree with her, but I sympathized and understood her motivations.

The book was moving forward, the characters and the plot was developing. Near the end, new and surprising information came out. Everything was going great! (From a story point of view, life actually really sucked for the poor characters.) I was getting ready to add this book to a list of favorites, to admit I was totally wrong about my presumptions and attitudes towards books like this....and then the author dropped the ball.

I've read a few reviews, and most people think the ending was bad, weird, shocking...but it was worse than that. It was lazy. The author took the easy way out. Even in stories, some inevitable things are...inevitable. It would have been harder to write the end where the characters have to go through with their decisions and the consequences. It would have been traumatizing to watch someone you love die because it was what they wanted, and to watch a child learn to define herself when the reason she existed was gone. It would have been difficult to write about how that family would, or would not, put themselves back together when the center they all lived around no longer held everyone together. Instead, Picoult whipped out an unlikely and implausible ending, throwing in a insupportable miracle for good measure.

Whatever. How do these manuscripts get past editors?

Final review: 95% of this book was amazing. The end was impossible to swallow, and I can't get the horrible taste out of my mouth whenever I think about the book.

Note to Remember: If there is going to be horrible part of a book that you write, don't make it the end. The ending is what people take away and remember your book by.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

After Sharleen had finished with Melanie's beauty preparations she asked if anyone else wanted their toes done. Hmmm...shall I analyze why I volunteered? Curiosity, morbid fascination with our culture's beauty standards...nah, probably just getting attention from my big sister.

So she started by filing off the pink nail polish and asking, aghast, "You didn't push down your cuticles before you painted them?!?" Umm, nope, never occurred to me. At this point it starts hurting. No, I mean, HURTING! She takes some sort of metal-scraping-toe-torture-device and murders my cuticles. I have to admit that I had virgin cuticles and my sister ravaged them! It was not unlike giving birth through my nail beds. (Much flinching, face making, and gasping later...)

Then we start the painting of the gooey gel substance and the sticking of the feet into the ultra-bright light box. Now, this is not ordinary light. This is torture light. Sharleen told me it hurts more if you are on your period (which I was) or if you are taking medicine (which I do) and if you are sensitive (which I AM!!!) so....&$%#@@$%#!!! Fire down through the nails and into my bones - fire that never stops....

All right. It was finally over and my nails were pretty. Shiny. Smooth. French tipped. Freaky. It made my hubby happy and helped me hate my feet a little less. Maybe it was worth it...

A Few Weeks Later...

These nails are of the devil and I will never let another monkey-nail person touch me again!!! I hate filing them down and they are growing and hurting and I'm walking with my toes curled.

Holy gerbil skin! What idiot thought of this! I finally gritted my teeth and sawed them down enough to walk normally. Later I started the process of picking them off. Yep, scrape, pop, tear. I've got them all off except for my big toes, and yes, they took several layers of nail with them in spots.

I've learned my lesson. If it looks stupid, stay away. Get attention by playing catch with your head, or something else less painful.

Summer Picture Chapter Two: Wheels and Bridges

I apparently have a thing for wheels. I wasn't truly aware of that. I was aware of my thing for shadows though. I really love shadows. I have a whole family picture somewhere of just our shadows.

This is the bridge over Brandy Creek. But I think it's a new one. Anyone remember? Didn't it used to be red?
Aspen, Colorado and Kyra.

Bye Mommy! Have Fun at School!

I have started my history 201 class at BYU. It is my last GE and my second to last required class. I had to wait 2 years for this one to be offered at night. So far, the parking, walking, arriving on time thing hasn't gone so well. Working on it...

As I was sitting there on the first day, my pencil felt awkward in my hand and my notes looked messy. I didn't like being squashed between 2 non-note-taking guys. But then I found the clock, my breathing slowed, and I started to feel...completely normal. The classroom, the building, my seat, and my position in the room were all familiar. The backpack at my feet and the spiral bound notebook in my hand were comforting. It was perfectly normal for me to watch the clock and think about feeding the kids and getting them to bed. Perfectly normal for me to be angry with the teacher for requiring a special assignment drop off time and place because it required another trip for me. Perfectly normal for me to plan how to accomplish the homework late at night. Perfectly normal, in fact, to be annoyed at my husband for being late giving me the "other" car and still not having bought me a cell phone. (That one started back in '99.)

So this is my 11th year at BYU and graduation is finally in sight. I can hardly believe it. And I tell you, I look around that GE classroom at all those young people and think about how they have no idea how complex life will get.

Tonight I finished my first BS history paper that required a thesis so obvious as to be painful and unsupportable. Sometimes things are too easy. And I chant, "I only need a C," and know I'll be upset with anything short of an A. And I'm planning where to park tomorrow and how early to leave so I don't arrive late to class out of breath and sweaty. That is, of course, after my speical trip into school to turn in the stupid paper. But I know tomorrow my pencil won't feel awkward. anymore.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Dude, I just realized that Sunday is Stake Conference and that, like, totally means there will be no Fabulous Friday table. So the fact that I didn't break into Amy's house will not matter and I can acquire stupid red paper at a later date without adding to my criminal record. Isn't that the best news you've had all day?