Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

The Catcher in the RyeThe Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Book Summary: Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Liana's Summary: Holden Caulfield is kicked out of Pencey Prep School because he was failing four courses, basically all but English. English, he passed. This story revolves around the journey he takes between getting kicked out and going back home to his parents. Caulfield narrates with a very interesting voice and is a very interesting character.

Rate(1-10): 8.7

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck ClubThe Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Book Summary: For readers of Amy Tan's bestselling novel, The Valley of Amazement, revisit her classic tale of mothers and daughters

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.

With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

Liana's Summary: The Joy Luck Club is a story following the past and present of four mothers and daughters in a struggle to bridge the culture gap between Chinese people and American people.

Rate(1-10): 8.5