May Book Club Review

This month we completed our five-part challenge of 2016 by reading a book that has been banned. We read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

Overall, everyone in the book club seemed to really like this book. We all agreed that it was unfortunate that this book had been banned and it really shouldn’t have been.

What really got me confused was the fact that it was banned because it spoke about masturbation. I get it, some mothers and fathers out there didn’t want their children to have access to a book that talks about masturbation. What I don’t get is the fact that masturbation wasn’t really a subject matter in the book. I mean it was hardly mentioned at all, only in passing. I think it was meant to reflect the true thoughts of a young man, the protagonist of the story. I don’t feel it was done in untasteful or inappropriate manner at all. It felt true to the story and the boy’s voice, allowing the character to seem real.

So why was it banned if it hardly even mentions the subject?

Your guess is as good as mine.

My guess: People with too much time on their hands wanting to control what others can and can’t have access too. (I am 99% sure this is an accurate guess.)

What was really compelling about this novel was the boy’s coming of age story about his life on the Indian reservation. This book does delve into some deep aspects about life, poverty, alcoholism, and family. That is the real gem about this book, it is real to everyday life.

It is told in an often funny tone with art depections. The art in this book was so much fun and felt so real to the things my friends and I use to draw as adolescents. The use of art as an expression for the boy in this book gave me a new appreciation for the book as a whole.

I gave this book a rating of 4 of 5 stars. I would highly recommend to middle-school readers up to adult. There is a lot to get out of this book from any age.

 

 

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The Butterfly Garden

I would like to give a special thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer (publisher) for providing me with a free copy of The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

I finally got approved for my first NetGalley book! As a new blogger I am stoked to have been chosen to give a review. I got so used to seeing my requests denied that I didn’t quite know what to think when I saw an email saying my wish had been granted. “They like me, they really like me” pretty much sums up the huge grin on my face.

First thing is first, if you like horror or thrillers, you NEED to get his book stat.

I first saw this book on Amazon and added to my to-read list on Goodreads immediately. I was back and forth on purchasing it, looking at it on Amazon every other day trying to decide. The only thing that was holding me back is the fact that I have 150+ books on my shelves at home to read and I tend to get a little carried away with over purchasing. This month I have been trying to rein in my book addict purchases. Logging in to NetGalley to request a few books, there it was again, calling my name. I decided to request it and lucky me I got approved. I feel like it was some sort of book fate that this book landed in my hands.

I downloaded it immediately and got started. Once started I couldn’t stop. What an addicting read! I flew through this book in 2 days. A book of this length would typically take me 3 to 4 days based on the amount of time I can dedicate to reading. But I found myself glued to the couch reading way too late into the night, unable to put it down, dreading work in the morning due to lack of sleep. I had to know what happened in the butterfly garden. I had to know about the Butterflies. I had to know about the Gardner.

This book put a strong grip on me. It’d definitely been a long time since I was so intrigued with a novel in the horror genre. I love horror and/or thrillers, but lately I found most the books I read lacking an undefined uniqueness and tended to stray away from them after the last couple of lackluster reads. This book has me itching for another great horror read.

The writing was quick and easy to read, but don’t let that lead you to think the story wasn’t complex. The characters each had their own depth and complexity. The author was able to project such clear ideas and scenes. I saw the garden, knew the Butterflies, and felt the presence of the Gardner. In fact, at times I felt like I was one of the FBI agents and wanted to scream “Tell us what happened in the garden Maya!” It was during these times that I kept telling myself I would go to sleep after the next page, the next page, the next page.

I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend to anyone that enjoys a great horror/thriller. Just make sure your schedule is clear when you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down.

The kindle book is a steal at $4.99 on Amazon and is available free for Kindle Unlimited members. So go ahead and break your book budget, you won’t regret it. I know now that I would have really regretted passing on this one. Dot Hutchinson is on my radar now, I can’t wait for another book from her.