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An intriguing point of view of an insane individual, presented from the perspectives of known personality disorders, makes this book of poetry and prose--as well as this work of horror--a rare find. De Choudens takes you to unimaginable places, makes you shiver your bones, and uses the empathy card from time to time, all cleverly tricking you to read more, sequentially. The book is split into four sections: "INSIDE A SINISTER SOUL," "BEYOND THE GRAVE," "CREATURES ARE EVERYWHERE," and "SOMEWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE." The main plot begins in a prison cell, at the hand of a very sly and diabolical man. The author cleverly balances the disturbing topic with a little dark humor and twisted love. It's a story within a story you can't miss. It all wickedly boils down here, in this imaginative book.
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An old maid, that's what I'm to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps...
Shannon McLoud is an aspiring writer and English teacher from little ol' Rhode Island. Her plays have been performed in Providence, Rhode Island and San Antonio, Texas. When she is not chasing after her very active five year old son, or enjoying a quiet moment with her husband, Shannon can be found at her local Panera doing homework as she works towards her M.A. in English and Creative Writing with Southern New Hampshire University.
Little Women: A Tale that has stood the Test of Time “I like good strong words that mean something…”
And really who doesn’t? These words spoken by Louisa May Alcott’s heroine Jo March are as pertinent today as they were 145 years ago when Alcott penned them. These words of course have contributed to one of the many reasons I wanted to become a writer. I remember reading this book for the first time as a child, home sick with strep throat, which for a kid who liked to talk is a travesty! And then I met Jo March, and realized there was an entire new world out there, waiting for me to write it!
Little Women is the tale of four sisters; Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. Their tale is timeless, and has even been transposed for the Broadway stage! It is set in Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, a pilgrimage; I remember dragging my family to when I was very young! Alcott blends a tapestry of love in this family as their father is away fighting in the Civil War and their mother (Marmee) tries to keep the spirits of her daughters up while maintaining as normal of a household as possible. The girls are as diverse as four sisters can be. Meg is the oldest of the four girls and at sixteen is able to run the household when she needs to for her mother. Beth is thirteen and always thinks of others, and Amy, the youngest, is the artist and when the book begins is twelve years old. However, it is the second eldest, Josephine, or Jo, that is the character that stays with you the most. Jo is a writer, so one can only surmise that Alcott saw bits of herself in Jo, and has trouble curbing her temper. Jo is the character I most identified with as a child not only for the simple fact that she was a writer, but in the world of Barbie she was a strong female character to look up to.
Chapter 8 of this novel has stayed with me throughout my childhood, and even now as an adult. Without giving away too much of the plot, a grave injustice is done upon Jo at the hands of her younger sister Amy. As events fold in this chapter, Jo sees the danger in her stubbornness and quick temper, and goes to her mother for guidance. As a child I was so moved by this piece that I had a drawing hanging in my room that reminded me of the scene. I thought it was great that Jo could confide in her mother without reservation, and as a naive ten year old I of course romanticized the notion for my own life. As a mother reading this chapter again, I am reminded in the type of mother I strive to be, as Marmee says in this scene; “He [Jo’s father] helped and comforted me and showed me that I must try to practice all the virtues I would have my little girls possess, for I was their example” (Alcott). As a mom this of course is something I strive for, although admittedly not always succeeding. I am glad Alcott’s words are there for a reminder!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a tale that has stood up to the test of time. The story’s poignant themes of love, a woman’s struggle in the world and the poverty of the working poor, are themes we can still relate to today. If you’re compiling a literary bucket list for the summer, be sure to add this to your list!
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. 1868. Project Gutenberg. August 2010. Accessed 7 July 2013. <http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/514>
**Project Gutenberg offers Little Women and thousands of other novels completely FREE to download into a plethora of reader's like Nook, Kindle, PDF, and more.
Krystal Williams is a self-professed nerd and lover of all things pertaining to the study of language and story. She is a stay-at-home homeschooling mother of three. She enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball, and training with kettlebells. Krystal has a B.A. in English, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in English & Creative Writing online at Southern New Hampshire University.
Genre: Literary Fiction - Contemporary
Rating: 5/5 stars
What age range is recommended for reading this book? Ages 13+
Where to find this book and price?
Amazon (kindle) / Barnes and Noble
Synopsis: Tom Sherbourne has just finished his tour in World War I when he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Isabel Graysmark. They get married and move to the uninhabited island of Janus where Tom has been working as the keeper of the lighthouse. They are eager to become parents, but fate is not on their side. Isabel has two miscarriages and gives birth to a stillborn baby.
Then, one day, a dead man and a newborn baby wash ashore in a small boat. As the lighthouse keeper, Tom is obligated to report it. But, at Isabel’s insistence, he doesn’t report it so that they keep the baby and raise her themselves. And the consequences of their actions take them down a path that they could have never imagined.
Review: Wow! The Light Between Oceans is a superbly-written, poignant story about the blurry line between right and wrong, and the far-reaching effects of our personal choices. The book is beautifully told from the third person omniscient point of view. It boasts a story that is thought-provoking and original, and characters that are sympathetic and well-developed.
Being over there changes a man. Right and wrong don’t look so different any more to some.
There were so many things that I liked about this book. One of the first things that delighted me was the writing. I can come up with only one word for M.L. Stedman’s prose: beautiful. The prose is carefully-crafted, yet, pleasing in its simplicity. It is elegant and lyrical without being pretentious or contrived — a hard feat to pull off, in my opinion.
The wind had kept up its sullen howl. The late-afternoon sun continued to shine through the window, laying a blanket of bright gold over the woman and her almost-baby. The old clock on the kitchen wall still clicked its minutes with fussy punctuality. A life had come and gone and nature had not paused a second for it. The machine of time and space grinds on, and people are fed through it like grist through the mill.
Character development is another strong point of this book. The characters are all beautifully flawed, and they were endearing to me because of both their strengths and their weaknesses. The characters are well-rounded, complex, and realistic. They are compassionate but selfish, mature but childish, daring yet fearful. They are wonderful in their complexity and shameless vulnerability.
Tom, the male protagonist, carries the weight of his actions in World War I around with him like an invisible albatross. His time spent in the war weighs on his humanity and makes him a more complex character and sympathetic soul. And, Isabel, the female protagonist, is an impetuous force of nature who sees the good in Tom despite the things he’s done. They are the quintessential yin and yang. Or, as Tom puts it, Izzy is his “other half of the sky.”
Suddenly Tom realizes he is crying. He weeps for the men snatched away to his left and right, when death had no appetite for him. He weeps for the men he killed.
My favorite thing about the book is how provocative it is. The choices that these characters make throughout the story and their motivations behind those choices are so compelling that they will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. Their actions will haunt you, and your feelings toward their actions will spur you to introspection and reflection.
The dialogue of the book is another strong point. The voice of each character is unique and further adds to the characterization. Despite the heavy themes explored in this book, some of the characters are quite jovial and witty. And others, like Tom, are more morose and solemn. This uniqueness of character voice is a refreshing mix.
Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes: so tangled up that you can’t tell which is which until you’ve shot ‘em both, and then it’s too late.
I also enjoyed the use of symbols in the book. I noticed almost immediately the symbolic use of elements like light and darkness, wind and water. And, I began to look for more uses of symbolism, finding many occasions where it was interwoven seamlessly into the story like beautiful touches of embroidery on fine tapestry.
A Light Between Oceans envelops you. It permeates your heart, your intellect, your humanity. It puts you in the judgment seat, where you find yourself coming to terms with the fact that the line between black and white is not always as easy to find as you once believed.
As a future author, and writing artist; a sense of community is a big deal in order to put yourself "out there".
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