Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tome Tracts

I had promised Monday's Interesting Reads, but I decided Tuesday's Tome Tracts is a tantalizing title! Henceforth, tune in on Tuesdays for a brief synopsis of what books are playing on my MP3, sitting on my nightstand, or have somehow caught my attention.

Here are two of the titles I promised last week:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: This was an audio book I checked out of the library on CD to upload to my player, out of desperation for something to listen to on my double shift coming up at work. I am a per diem employee and can listen to the player as long as the job gets done! As you have likely surmised, it was not high on my list of books, however, every time I went to the library I was drawn to this title and rejected it. This time I checked it out, and I am awfully glad I did. This is the story of Lily, a 14 year old white girl, in the south, who was raised by an abusive father and a black housekeeper (Rosaleen) after the death of her mother when she was four years old. Eisenhower signed the civil rights act and Rosaleen decides to register to vote. Lily accompanies Rosaleen to town and there is a scuffle which lands the two ladies in jail, with Rosaleen beaten so badly she is sent to the hospital while in police custody. Lily is of course released to her father, after which she hatches a plan to spring Rosaleen and run away to safety. The story continues with Lily and Rosaleen seeking refuge in the home of three black women who own a beekeeping business and live in a house painted in a startling shade of pink. It is a beautiful story with the delightful surprise of Catholicism sprinkled in. You will not find the traditional celebration of Catholicism portrayed in The Secret Life of Bees but the way these beekeepers celebrate the Blessed Mother is beautiful and touching. I just loved this book.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: Trying to keep up with all the book releases in the Young Adult section of our library is a task since I really do not prefer to read most current fiction. However, being the parent of two teenagers with more on the horizon, I need to keep up with the trends. My children love to read and when books come along that have the under 21 population in a frenzy, especially when there is an accompanying movie, I feel obligated to make my own parenting decisions rather than rely on the opinions of the masses. Therefore, I embarked upon the Twilight journey when unexpectedly called in to cover a shift for a co-worker who needed to attend a funeral.

This book left me with two impressions overall. First, I thought the book was terribly predictable, to the point of being boring, until very late in the story. Second, I understand why every teenie bopper in America is going beserk. Edward is every teen girl's fantasy boyfriend. I remember being a teenager and writing long missives in my diary that could rival many passages in Twilight. Thankfully they never saw the light of day. My young girl's heart would have melted to read this story, my middle-aged muscle mostly groaned at the predictability and the sappy sentimentality of Edward. Edward and Bella perfectly illustrate obsessive love and call it true love.

I will read the other books in this series because I want to see where Miss Meyers intends to go with this story marketed to today's youth. I approved the book for my sixteen year old because it is not your typical vampire story, Edward and his family of the undead believe that just because they are vampires does not mean they must be monsters. They do not hunt humans, they hunt animals. They move around to make sure they do not wipe out the wildlife of any particular area. For an intelligent teenager, who has had a moral upbringing and some common sense, this book presents only a few hour's entertainment. I am very much interested in my daughter's opinion, and will likely devote more time to this series of books after I've read them all, since this series is an undeniable part of today's teenage landscape. For a highly suggestible teen lacking in solid parental guidance and role models, this book romanticizes vampires and makes Bella long to be one herself. I foresee an upsurge in Goth dressing and behaviour as well as vampire cliques forming in high schools across America. I do hope to be proven wrong, that there are more well adjusted teens than I seem to think. I keep remembering the Rambo movies and their fallout among a small population of American teens.

1 comment:

Mary Bennett said...

YOu should try Sullivan's Island. I'm not sure how I feel about the book, or Isle of Palms by the same author. Light and fluffy, but... I can't really put my finger on it. My dh HATES them and calls them "those stupid books." LOL!!