Category Archives: Book Reviews

Oliver Twist

What a sad book this was… I often thought of putting it down for good but the hope that things would improve for poor Oliver kept me going. And improve they did, at the very end. Still in my mind lingers the images of hungry, mistreated children. Those whose story did not end well or will not end well. Because such tragedies still happen today.
As a teenager, some of my favorite books were Emile Zola’s. He’s a French humanist writer. I don’t think I would enjoy his books as much now. Having children made me a lot more sensitive to the suffering of innocent people.
The kids moderately enjoyed the book. Claire kept saying “Poor Oliver!” in echo to my own voice and all were glad to see the bad guys punished and some of the misled kids back on track.

Arabian Nights

In French it’s called the Thousand and One Nights. Fifty and One Nights would have been fine with me! I actually stopped reading after seventy or so nights… The stories were beautifully written but I got somewhat bored with the recurring themes and most of all I became more and more disgusted with the foolishness and barbarism of the men portrayed in the stories. Scheherazade might have chosen those stories to help the Sultan Schariar come to the realization of his wrong doings… I don’t know. I think reading just the most popular of the tales (Sinbad the Sailor, Alladin & Alibaba) is the right way to go here.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I loved the movie and decided to read the book. I loved it too although it was quite different.

Interesting concepts: Dantes believes himself to be God’s avenging angel… I think that although God often uses people to “punish the wicked” in his own due time, these people, if acting out of revenge, are actually comminting a sin. Dantes realizes that to some extent when things get out of hand and his enemies punishments end up being a lot harsher then Dantes intended. Feeling repentant, Dantes pardons, Danglar, his third enemy before his punishment is carried out completely.
Things I liked better in the book than the movie: I loved the way Alexandre Dumas describes the expression and the body language of the characters. The reader feels that much more involved.
In the book, you see Dantes doing good around him, especially toward the Morrell family.
Things I liked less in the book than the movie: I like fairy tales! In the movie, Albert is actually Dantes’ son and Mercedes only married someone else upon Dantesimprisonment because she was pregnant. When Dantes, comes back he gets both Mercedes and Albert back. ‘
My favorite parts: I really enjoyed the wisdom of the Abbe Faria.
The end of the book, when all “the dominoes fall” was very exciting, especially when Benedetto reveals, in the middle of a court session, that he is M. de Villefort illegitimate son.
The way Monte Cristo shatters most of the remainder of Danglar’s fortune is hilarious although the reader is brutally brought back to soberness upon the recall of Dante’s own starved to death father.
The reuniting of Maximilian and Valentine was of course sublime. From the time of Valentine’s “death”until her reappearance, the author does a fantastic job of cruelly playing with the reader’s emotion. He had me both anxiously hoping and desperately wondering.

Great read!!

Tom Sawyer

We loved this book! It was very interesting and it ended well (for me, that’s a must for a good book). The kids loved the adventures Tom had and they often asked me to read just a little more. I particularly enjoyed the part where the boys of the town, trade their treasures to be able to white wash Tom’s fence. The fact that Tom talked them into beleiving they were getting a good deal is entertaining in and of itself. But I enjoyed reading what the treasures were– random pieces of junk really but treasures to the boys. It reminded me of Michael and the things he picks up everywhere. Boys stay inherently the same throughout the ages it looks like :)