Book Wrap Up #1

Sunday 3 November 2019

I’ve been really bad about keeping up with my book reviews. I’ll be the first to admit it. So I decided that not all books need a full review written because, frankly, they’re not all worth it. So instead of having a “short book wrap up” which I previously used for books less than 200 pages, I’ll now change it to this. A book blog with three reviews of books that I don’t think need a stand-alone review. Does that mean that each and every book in these wrap-ups will be bad? No. Not at all. But this first one? Well… they’re not winners.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is kind of a retelling of Cinderella and part of a series of kind-of-retellings. This one is about a girl named, wait for it, Cinder, who is the best mechanic in New Beijing. The downside is that she’s a cyborg and has no rights and is basically a slave to her evil stepmother. But one day the handsome and single Prince Kai stops by her shop and nothing is ever the same.
I could go deeper into the premise but it’s all the same. As basic as Starbucks, Uggs, and Sex and the City. The real shame here is that this story had a lot of promise. Meyer took limited bits and pieces from Cinderella, so at least it felt like she was trying to do her own thing. The problem was, the story she developed was boring, sluggish, and predictable. Meyers tried her hardest to foreshadow aspects of the ending and Cinder’s secrets but she ended up casting a spotlight on everything so nothing, except one aspect of the end, was a surprise. Even the one thing that surprised me had a predictable outcome. Most of the characters were awful. They were either just stupid or just the embodiment of a trope which is an unforgivable sin.
This may be a YA book, but that’s not an excuse for writing this sloppy. The only saving grace is that this wasn’t as bad as Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire and as long as a book can stay clear of being that level of awful, I will at least say a few good things about it. So here we go.
Cinder had promise. it really did. There were two characters that weren’t either terrible or forgettable and luckily they were the main characters, it managed to surprise me once, and it did stray from the typical Cinderella story. But none of that is enough to save what could have been a good book.
Cinder gets a 3 out of 11
Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger by Lee Israel
Does this sound familiar? If you listen to my podcast, Future Flicks with Billiam, then it should because this memoir was turned into a film that I was somewhat excited for that starred Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel in a non-comedic role. When I found that my local library had this I was stoked. Only on CD? Sure, whatever. It was narrated by Jane Curtin of SNL and 3rd Rock from the Sun fame. So I thought I’d give it a shot.
If you’re not familiar with it, this book (which I’ll shorten to: Forgive Me) is about a failed biography writer named Lee Israel who turned to a life of crime by both stealing and forging letters from old famous people and selling them. Turns out that there’s money to be made in the world of letters from celebrities from the past that most people in the modern world have never heard of. She eventually got caught, paid the price, wrote it all down, and had it turned into a book and eventually an unsuccessful movie.
This book is super short. It’s only 144 pages and the audio book clocks in at just over 2 hours. And you know what? It’s good that it’s short because it’s a boring story. It is interesting though but it’s drier than an alcoholic’s martini. Her prose is so purple that it could have come out of Tinky Winky’s ass. We get it, Lee Israel, you want to be a writer, but her language is so unnecessarily flowery that it attracts bees.
I enjoyed this for the story, not the writing. If you’re interested in what happened, then check the book or movie out. If you’re just looking for a nonfiction book to read, stay clear.
Could You Ever Forgive Me By Lee Israel gets a 4.5 out of 11.
Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton
Rumble Fish comes to us from famed author S.E. Hinton who also wrote the famous middle school/high school required reading book The Outsiders. I loved The Outsiders and Tex so I thought, why not Rumble Fish too? Here’s the premise: “Rusty James wants to be just like his big brother Motorcycle Boy – tough enough to be respected by everyone in the neighborhood. But Motorcycle Boy is also smart, so smart that Rusty James relies on him to bail him out of trouble. The brothers are inseparable, and Motorcycle Boy will always be there to watch his back, so there’s nothing to worry about, right? Or so Rusty James believes, until his world falls apart and Motorcycle Boy isn’t there to pick up the pieces”
This book is hot garbage. There. I said it. S.E. Hinton had two hits with The Outsiders and Tex but swung and miss with Rumble Fish. She missed so bad the bat slipped out of her hand and killed the umpire.
First off, the characters were awful. Rusty James is not only an idiot, but an annoying apathetic one to boot. The Motorcycle Boy had no personality, he had no character, he was a nobody. All of Rusty’s friends were shadows of actual people. The only one was wasn’t awful was Rusty’s best friend Steve and he wasn’t enough to save the book. And come on, those names were awful. The Motorcycle Boy? You never learn his real name. It was so annoying reading Rusty James and The Motorcycle Boy over and over.
The story was terrible too. You learn that Rusty James is basically a little ass hat who aims to be just like his older brother and gets into constant trouble. His brother, The Motorcycle Boy is having some sort of existential crisis that’s never fully developed and only serves as a very weak plot point to take us to a very unsatisfactory ending.
This book was utter crap and I can’t recommend that anyone ever read it.
Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton gets a 2 out of 11

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