Tuesday, July 7, 2009

3 Willows

I finished reading 3 Willows by Ann Brashares a few days back but only am getting to review it now. It was quite entertaining, I read the traveling pants series and this book reminds me a lot of them. It was refreshing though to learn about a new set of three girls and their issues. At times though I felt silly reading a book about 13-year olds, but on the other hand if it is good why not?

The book is about 3 girls: Jo, Polly, and Ama, who used to be friends, but for whatever reason, the life in middle school has taken them on separate paths, and they hang out with different crowds. The book explores their friendship as they each go their separate paths during the summer: Jo, who wants to be one of the popular girls, goes to her family’s beach house and becomes a busboy at a local restaurant. Polly decides she wants to become a model. And Ama, who is very studious, gets placed into a wilderness adventures program by the scholarship she receives. The book explores how these experiences change the girls and what they learn from them.

Again, like the previous book, this book is focused on characters and how they grow. The character development though is much more explicit than in My Sister’s keeper, since the book is written for a younger audience. Overall: entertaining, interesting, fun and a bit silly. But definitely worthy for a quick fun read. (The rest of the review will contain spoilers)


The audio book I was listening had an interview with the author at the end. I always listen to those because they provide interesting extra tid-bits that went into writing of the story. In one question Anne Brashares gets asked which of the three girls she identifies with most. I guessed Polly, I am not sure why but I guess most authors are imagine are shy artsy types. Ann’s response was interesting though: she said she identified a little bit with each girl, and wanted to be like Jo, courageous and daring, but she was in fact most like Ama: bookish and studious, with her nose always in a book.

I very much liked how she ended each girl’s story: Ama was still studious, but she now had a boyfriend which she would have never previously considered, and she embraced her experience. Polly decided that being a model was not for her, after she was told her teeth were crooked. She could have persevered, but instead she decides to get braces, but not in order to become a model. Jo rediscovers her friends, and realizes that it is better to have good friends than to be popular, because real friends understand without being told.

The character whose story I didn’t like much was Effie. That is not to say I found her completely unlikable. I felt sorry for her character and I felt that her story didn’t have an ending. In all the other traveling pants books she is always on the periphery as Lena’s sister, but wants to be included, dates a boy, who eventually goes back to Tibbie (I think). Same in this book: she didn’t do anything wrong, other than data a boy and assume he is still her boyfriend. It was wrong of her to shove Jo, but that was her only wrong-doing. I would have liked a better ending for her, other than being fired and boyfriend-less, but I guess there will be more books in this series, but somehow I get a feeling the author dislikes her too much to give her a good ending.

So I guess overall interesting plot, entertaining too: will be waiting for the next one!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

My first book review will be My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I just finished reading it and I was definitely crying at the very end. The whole book is very thought provoking. I loved it, it took me less than a week to get through the whole thing!

The book has great character development, and a whole lot of driama. I really liked the psychological aspect of the story. It is told from multiple perspectives, so I really enjoyed viewing this story from all these characters’ points of view. It also raises very interesting moral dilemmas that are worth thinking about. (The rest of the review has my impressions on aspects of the story and contains spoilers)


I am all about character development, so I really enjoyed the portraits the author created in this book. In the beginning all of them seem so clear cut: a crazy mother obsessed with the well-being of her favorite child, a cocky lawyer, a 13-year-old who was neglected wanting attention, and a father who wants to stay out of it, so he goes along with his wife on all accounts. During the course of the book though, all the characters had changed so drastically.

The most interesting transformation was Anna though: in the very end when we realize what her motives are, she seems a completely different person, very adult, unlike a girl she is made out to be a few pages go, with the description of her having to give an oral presentation in 3rd grade and vomiting on her classmates. For me, the most compelling point in the book where I identified with her most, is when she wants to go to hockey camp, but she can’t go because her sister might need her blood, bone marrow, or something else. She is mad, because she can’t be a normal kid.

In the end the court decides in her favor. I was very interested to see what she would decide to do, now that she can choose what to do. Having understood her, I presume she would have chosen to donate her kidney anyways but we will never know. I don’t think this could have been written any other way. After the conflict throughout the book, I feel like it would take another book to describe Anna’s trials and tribulations, so in a sense in dying she was spared that decision.

One particular aspect of the book that I found fascinating was the family dynamics. The Fitzgeralds seem to have been such a wholesome family before Kate’s illness. We find ourselves thinking what we would have felt have we been in their shoes. The family seems very split about the decision about Anna’s donation and I was afraid the author would leave us with a broken family, yet with Kate’s help they manage to put themselves back together, even Jesse finds himself as a part of the family yet again.

For me personally this book was hard to read (yet so gripping, I found it hard to put it down), because I felt so bad for Sara (the mother). It must be SO hard to know one of your children is so sick that she has a very low survival rate. I think I would have done anything I could for her. But on the other hand, I found myself wondering how she could ask of her other child to give so much! What a horrible position to be in.

I found the ending interesting, because in a sense Anna has served her role in saving her sister, and it is as if she was never there, but I feel like she has left a huge mark on her family. I don’t know how else to say this other than to say Anna didn’t belong, and was not really noticed until she was gone.

I am sorry, I am very rusty in my book-reviewing skills – haven’t done this really since high school. I do look forward to reading more books by Picoult.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Welcome to my reading blog! I am going to keep this blog as my journey through world literature progresses with my reflections of each book I read. I have read so many books already, and I regret not having written down anything, because I wish I remembered what I read about! So from now on, every book gets an entry!