ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND – Nickolas Cook
I have no idea how I ended up with this book, just that it’s been hanging out in my bedroom, unread, for ages. Honestly, all I can say about it is what the fuck.
It’s a parody of Alice in Wonderland, except modified so that Wonderland is actually full of barely restrained zombie creatures, all based off of the creatures in the original story. It’s dark and gross, and while I was reading it I had to set the book down more than once to just think like what is going on here.
I really think a full novel of parody is a bit of a stretch, but it’s definitely an interesting concept. I wouldn’t really recommend it spending the time to read it, but it’s a goofy idea to think about.
PREP – Curtis Sittenfeld
This book was definitely good; I enjoyed the characterization and Sittenfeld’s writing style, as well as the story itself. The story is a snapshot of a midwestern girl’s time at a boarding school, with all of the insecurities and firsts that come with going through high school and growing up and all that. There’s also some commentary on class and race that gave the book a sense of realism — I feel like novels about boarding school (or any insular community, really) can easily seem closed off from the rest of the world and therefore unreal, but I didn’t really feel that here.
Honestly, my biggest issue with the book is just how insecure Fiona, the main character, is. It’s constant, and quite frankly almost four hundred pages of that level of whining is just draining — it made me feel crummy about myself at times, almost like how I feel if I hang around someone who is super negative. I’m all for characters with flaws, but there were a number of times that I just cringed at what was going on. While I think it was an integral part of the book, and I liked the story overall, I didn’t expect to feel so worn down after finishing it.
ARIEL – Sylvia Plath
I haven’t read much poetry, so I’m sure there are plenty of things about this that I just didn’t pick up on while reading. That being said, I really enjoyed Ariel. I like the way her poetry feels, mentally or aloud, and it was a welcome change of pace. A few of my favorites were “The Arrival of The Bee Box,” “Years,” and “Medusa.”
SKIM – Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
I reviewed anther collaboration by these cousins last month, so when I saw this one in a secondhand bookstore, I just had to grab it. I liked this volume a lot more than This One Summer; it’s kind of a visual diary, and deals with a lot of growing-up type themes. I especially liked Skim’s fascination with Wicca and the way adolescent shifting friendships/romances were portrayed. It’s a bit of a sad, bittersweet read that can be taken in over a single snowy afternoon.
CHICKEN WITH PLUMS – Marjane Satrapi
I loved Satrapi’s Persepolis, and Chicken with Plums didn’t disappoint. I love the way the novel addresses family dynamics and traces of religion/spirituality, as well as its kind of cultural snapshot.
Chicken with Plums is about a musician whose instrument is broken, and when he is unable to find another that plays the way he wants, he loses the will to live. It’s actually based off of Satrapi’s great uncle, which I thought was an interesting detail. Overall, this is another good read.