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Archive for February, 2008

Well another book club has come and gone.  This time our book was My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  Now, I have read other books by Picoult, so I felt I knew what to expect.  I was not disappointed.

Ms. Picoult is an expert on creating a fascinating story.  The bare bones of her novels never disappoint.  The stories she creates are always compelling and My Sister’s Keeper was no exception.  In this novel, Picoult brings the reader a fascinating story of a family in turmoil as a daughter struggles with a rare form of lukehemia.  What makes it fascinating though, is not the character’s, Kate’s, fight against this disease, but her sister’s (Anna’s) fight for independence.  The real crux of the story is that Anna was conceived to be a genetically perfect match for her sister, thus providing Kate with the blood, tissues, etc. she would need to conquer her illness.

Picoult masterfully weaves the stories of all the characters in what is, at times, a heart wrenching novel.  We see the story from the perspective of each family member, with the exception of Kate, and even the perspectives of Anna’s attorney in her fight for medical emancipation and a court appointed guardian.  The story complicates itself at some points by involving the latter two, whom are not only involved with this terribly intricate court case, but were involved with each other as teenagers.  Apparently their’s was a true love that did not fade with the passing of 15 years since they’ve been apart.  While the perspecitives of these two is interesting since it provides an outsiders view into the world of this dysfunctional family, it is overly emotional as each flashback to their teenage romance.

The main story telling device of this novel is the first person perspective.  While this is a useful and intimate narration, Picolout pulls out one of her tricks by having nearly half of each character’s chapter be a flashback to some emotionally telling exeperience.  At times these flashbacks are revealing of a character’s motivations, and at others this is an overly cheesy way to pull at the reader’s heartstrings.  As typical for Picolout the narrations swing between fascinating, fast moving story telling, and overly emotional, hit you over the head symbolism, drivel.

I did enjoy this novel for it’s interesting story, but as usual I was disappointed by Picoult’s overly obvious literary devices and cheesy romances.  As a law geek I loved the court aspect of this novel! Yet as an overly sympathetic reader, I couldn’t see this from every perspective, only the moral incorrectness of it.  To cap it all off with, the ending is somewhat of a doozie and I will leave that to you, dear reader, to determine if you like it or.  As for this reader, I felt a myriad of emotions only truly evoked when a story has touched my heart, as cheesy as that is.  🙂

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My attention to this blog, as well as many other things has faltered of late. I’m not reading as often as I usually do, my interest in books has flagged. My usual attention to household duties is distracted and everywhere dust bunnies are appearing, laundry is piling up, dry cleaning sits in the back seat of my car. Even my fastidious beauty and fashion habits fell to the wayside. I no longer apply all my creams and lotions at night or in the morning. I bought a pretty new purse that I did bother to put my old things into it until this weekend! What is wrong with me?

And I realized, it’s that time of year. Usually two or three times a year I get a very bad case of wanderlust. My mother-in-law attributes this to the fact that I come from a long line of sailors, including my great great grandfather, captain of his own ship. Since then, at least one in every generation has become a sailor, until these last two. Maybe it skips generations, or maybe others in my family feel the same urges. But all I know, is that a couple times a year all I want to do is go.

Go where? It honestly doesn’t matter.  I want to sleep in a bed that isn’t mine and wake up to a room I don’t have to clean.  I want to eat at free breakfast buffets and swim in heated pools.  I want the flutter in my stomach as I board a plane going anywhere.  I want the excitement of seeing new things, visiting different attractions, wandering unknown streets.

I spend a good part of every day thinking of new places to go.  I fantasize about trips to exotic, romantic, or mundane places.  I’ve never been to the Northwest or any where in the South.  I can easily imagine myself in driving from small town to town along some dusty, lonesome highway, staying in eccentric bed and breakfasts or chitchy motels.  I can clearly envision myself sitting at a counter in some far off place, sipping coffee while I sample the local specials and pour over guide books.  I can see myself on the move.

So where does these day dreams leave me most days?  With hours lost and wasted, chores ignored, writing left half done.  But at least I have those fantasies.  At least I have my imagination in which to wander distant shores.  Until I can move where the wind takes me, I’ll contain my lust to dreams.

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I have always felt passionately about politics.  Blame my grandmother, a political junkie.  She was constantly watching various news shows and reading every news magazine available.  It seemed like every time I saw her, my grandmother would have articles clipped out for me or a new book on the Kennedy family or FDR.  Come election time, she would read the full background on every candidate and every ballot measure or bill.  She would read each side of the argument, fully investigating every aspect of every issue.  Granted, she was a New Deal liberal so she leaned forever to the left.  This didn’t keep her from having an open mind.  If she thought some politician was full of crap, she let you know.  This political passion was the reason that while she was alive nearly every person in my family would call her for advice on which way to vote and why.  My grandmother wasn’t just a party line voter so she would always justify her voting advice with solid reasoning.

I attempt to do the same.  However, I am aware I have my biases.  I have my bleeding heart that wants to care for every person and every cause in the country.  I have the desire to make sure everything is fair to all people, not just those in the majority (which is a very unpopular opinion in some circles).  And in the last few years I have become more and more concerned with focusing on domestic policy and caring for our own before we take on the rest of the world.   And I’ve found a growing concern for fiscal conservatory on behalf of the government mixed with the need to see social programs run successfully.

And yet with all of these political views and desires, I find it increasingly frustrating to discuss politics with people who disagree.  I feel like the majority of people, on either side, who feel strongly about their politics have difficult time engaging the other side in civilized conversation.  There’s no communication between party followers because the belief that one side is so clearly wrong (and that wrongness is often associated with evilness) that it’s impossible to see any common ground.  I also feel like many people are one issue voters and fail to see the big picture, voting only for their own issue and not caring to justify anything else about their party.  For all these reasons, and several more, I find political discussion with opposing view points nearly impossible.

So to wrap this up tonight, I will not urge you to vote one way or another.  I just would like you to vote with  the whole picture and the best interest for the country in mind.  If you can justify voting for one person over another, then vote for them!  Most importantly, just vote!!

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