… and so the book rut continues, summer 2013 – part 3

11 08 2013

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters (by Natalie Standiford)

cssThis has been on my to-read pile for a long time. How to Say Goodbye in Robot was a book that grew on me over the years. Started out feeling a bit iffy about the fluffiness of it all, but I keep coming back to its characters, which means that Standiford must have done something right to make it memorable. That’s why I had reasonably high hopes for Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters… which of course, I now regret having. The book does not nearly have an impact the way Robot did, not in the least because of the characters who are mostly whiny – which is way worse than being just quirky – and are suffering from the poor little rich girl syndrome … oh, and yes, I did get the fact you needed to read a lot of this ‘tongue in cheek’ and ironically. I mean, seriously: Baltimore high society, how could you take that serious, right?

The book starts off with the family matriarch – Almighty, yes that is her moniker – being angry at her family and threatening to cut them out of her will if the one who angered her doesn’t confess. Even though there are 6 children in the Sullivan family, it must have been one of the girls (obviously), so what we’re then getting is the 3 confessions of the 3 sisters, Norrie (the oldest), Jane and Sassy (the youngest). As the book progresses the stories of the sisters get less and less depth, even though there are slight overlaps. Norrie’s confession – which is a story of true love, can you believe it? – is the most developed of the three, Jane is the annoying attention-seeking middle sister who suffers the most of that poor little rich girl syndrome (she definitely made for the comic relief part of the story), and Sassy’s confession might very well just have been an afterthought on the part of the writer, if not for the fact that she needed it for the book to get to the anticlimactic and even silly ending which was, well, an ironic cop-out ending. Irony is a form of humor, but Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters just isn’t very funny!

2.5 stars

Beneath a Meth Moon (by Jacqueline Woodson)

bmmWhat this one has going for itself is that it’s a really quick read, so a sure winner with a lot of reluctant readers. What it lacks, though, is clear character development, even with regards to the main character Laurel. She is definitely more of the token teen meth  addict (and goes from grief-stricken to all out meth addict before you can say Hurricane Katrina) than she is a real person with a meth addiction, which is what I expect when I read any book. There are numerous readalikes here: Ellen Hopkins’s books obviously and Go Ask Alice (which Woodson references in the acknowledgments)…  and if you’re into those types of books, then by all means, go for it. But I don’t think you should expect to really experience how devastating a thing meth really is by reading this 182-page book. Woodson’s book actually glosses over most of the devastating details of meth addiction and the ending especially is fairly unrealistic considering the way meth addicts usually end their ways. If you want a really gripping story with an non-linear narrative (like this one is too) that also describes how destructive an effect meth can have on an entire community, then Lauren Myracle’s Shine is the book you have to read!

2 stars

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