Posts Tagged ‘stories’

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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Without endings

I am as much of a modern literature fan as anyone these days, but sometimes I yearn for the old ways of writing.  I yearn, in fact, for books and movies to have endings.  Now I know that literally all books end, factually the pages run out and the back cover closes.  But in the literary sense of the word, many books today don’t have a sense of finality.  There is no realization that the main character has come to, the wrong is left unrighted, the romance ends with questions instead of a marriage or a breakup.   Instead, we, the readers, are treated to an open ending.  A conversation occurs that unveils previously unknown facts and the words on the page run out without an explanation or resolution.  A new plot twist occurs, sometimes a car crash, a death, and our beloved characters are left scrambling to pick up the pieces.  In these cases, and in many others, it feels that the characters (and us, dear reader) are left in perpetual limbo, never moving forward or, conversely, coming to accept that things will never change.  There is just…

I’ve noticed this trend in movies as well.  Granted sometimes it is my own fault that I expect an ending without knowing enough about the movie.  For example, I recently say The Golden Compass, which for all intents and purposes was a good movie.  But in the spirit of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, had no ending for it’s first installment.  It merely showed the main characters moving off into the distance while we are left on the far shore watching them fade into the distance.  Now, when I saw this movie, I did not realize that this had been a series of books.  I thought that it was one book, and I set myself up for disappointment when I expected at the end of 3 hours to be treated to a resolution.

Yet this kind of non-ending is accepted in the case of movies that are made to have sequels or are a part of a trilogy. There are many other movies that end with the sense that there is more to the story without it being explained.  Take for example the movie The Kingdom.  It is the fictional account of a group of American intelligence agents going somewhere in the Middle East to investigate an attack on Americans living in that country.  The movie is entertaining, if not slow and at times under-developed, but it ends with the question of what will happen in the future?  Now I would guess that the director and screen writers created this ending for it’s dramatic effect, but, while I appreciated the fact that there is no ending to conflict in the Middle East at present, I longed for the resolution to be some what stronger.  I longed for the director to give me a tidy ending, an answer to the problem.  I know this is an unrealistic hope, as so many movies today aim for realism rather than resolution.

I’m sure there are a million other movies or books out there without endings.  If you, dear reader, are as tired of stories without endings as I am, let me know about them so we can warn others so they can stave off disappointment!

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