Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Short Cuts

Not much to say about these books:
            A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

 In this Discworld book for children starring the young witch Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men (basically the toughest fairies of all time), Tiffany moves away from her home to study with another witch, but doesn’t realize that she is being chased by an ancient evil. Granny Weatherwax makes an appearance. Like everything Pratchett writes, it’s really funny, but it’s not his best and there are actual chapter divisions and fewer ridiculous footnotes. I love his footnotes.
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted       (YA)
This novel is a modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, with the Beast being Lucas, who accidently blew off his hands in a chemical explosion and is starting over at a new high school. Aurora is the Beauty, who has moved after her mother’s death. It’s short and sweet, but I feel like the author could have gone an awful lot further. The story isn’t particularly fable-like, with the first person point of view switching between the two main characters, so I feel like there could have been more realism around Lucas’ disability. Yes, Lucas does talk about wishing he could touch Aurora, and his shame around the explosion, but I would have liked some more information about how he used his hooks to do everyday things. Sometimes, I honestly didn’t understand how he was doing certain things. As well, Aurora could have had more personality. She’s beautiful and she’s kind, but because she’s new she’s going to go around with the popular crowd. I believe that, but I can’t believe that she doesn’t have more defining features.
                Thank you, Jeeves by P.G Woodhouse
                I usually love P.G. Woodhouse. I love the wacky hijinks, I love the silly names and I love how incredibly smart and sane Jeeves is, especially since he’s the personal valet to the (though often engaged) permanent bachelor Bertie Wooster. Most of this novel gives me exactly that, but unfortunately the entire last half of this plot revolves around black face. Bertie and other characters end up with boot polish on their faces, while they are masquerading as black musicians and can’t take it off for various comic reasons.  It’s a novel from the 1930’s, so it’s not entirely surprising but it did really ruin my enjoyment of the novel. Bertie is mistaken for the devil a few times with his face covered in boot polish, and although I hope it's because boot polish simply looks unnatural on skin, I don't think that was where Woodhouse was going with it.

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