Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

To begin, a caveat; I'm going rogue here.  I haven't discussed this round with my group, so I speak only for myself...

The reasons why I preferred The Gospel Truth, by Caroline Pignat, over One, by Sarah Crossan, can be condensed to this:

  1. I found the plot of the former more plausible, it had a natural inertia, whereas the latter seemed to need 'a push'.  It was contrived.
  2. The free-verse format was employed more skillfully by Pignat.  Phoebe's voice rises from the page, replete with a Southern drawl; not bad for an Irish-Canadian author.
  3. It spoke to me...
Feminism is alive and well in much of what I read, and why not?  Is there any debate that girls and women are generally better-read than their counterparts?  *shame*  Counting myself among the latter -- though at forty-something my House of Testosterone is descendant -- I find valuable insight in the fears and desires secreted in these pages, but I'm troubled by what I read (think Beloved, Secret Daughter, The Glass Castle).  This old-hat, yes, but it still smarts to read in print.

And what to do about my young brethren, whose self-imposed illiteracy robs them of this much-needed perspective?  Coming back to The Gospel Truth, at one point Phoebe's den-mother Bea proffers the following: "white men are all want and nothing but trouble."  Ouch.  But in fairness, how far have we come since those Antebellum days, given the new POTUS's plans to grab his female constituents'... attention?  Sigh.  Forgive my belated outrage, I know more that half of you are all too familiar with this conundrum.

But, here's a thought!  Perhaps GTA should be bundled with a paperback copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

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