Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: State of Wonder

state of wonderFrom Goodreads:Sometimes being on the vanguard of scientific progress thrusts you into the teeth of danger. For Minnesota pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh, that means being sent into the remotest region of the Amazon jungle to track down her former mentor. Finding Dr. Annick Swenson promises to be perilous: The last scientist assigned to find her has disappeared too. What follows is the most ambitious novel yet by Bel Canto author Ann Patchett as its adventure story opens into a penetrating study of personalities, loyalties, and ethics.

My Review: I had heard wonderful things about this book so when I saw it at the library I had to get it. I was not disappointed. This was a riveting read. With Anne Prachet’s writing one is drawn into the lush jungles of The Amazon complete with how life is really lived there.

The superficial story is the Marina the main character goes to the Amazon to find out what happens to her co worker who has died. But it goes much deeper than that Marina finds a kind of salvation through her work there. She has been haunted by an accident that she had during medical school and her old professor is the same woman who she goes to meet in the Amazon. First she is terrified but then as the story weaves tales of Amazon way of life and interactions with her old teacher she is in a way relived of the burden.

There is also exploration of ethics that one must choose when confronted with a different non Western way of life. I feel that the author got to the heart of this and through a story beautifully told she also showed that human no matter where they are or where they came from are not fallible and can make what would seem at home a blatant display of wrong ethics seems almost right in a  strange environment.

This is a story that borrows from the book Heart of Darkness but while there are similarities in themes the author makes it her own book. This is a testament to the authors writing. This book comes highly recommended.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: A Cousins Promise

a cousinf promise From Goodreads:Willkumm to the Amish country, where a tragic accident and an old beau complicate the lives of two young lovers.

My Review: A friend lent me this book. I normally would not pick up Amish Fiction but I have to say I am glad I did. This book is the first book in a trilogy. It starts with a car accident and goes on to explore what happens when a normally abled bodied person become disabled.

I liked this aspect of the book. It showed a realistic grieving process while at the same time keeping with the faith and lifestyle of the Amish community.

This trilogy was given to me because all three deals with disabilities and in one book there is a Deaf person in the storyline. I haven't gotten to that book yet but if the first book is any indication I am looking forward to the next two books. I feel it is important to portray disabilities in books as they happen. Here the man who lost his leg in the car accident did not all of a sudden come to terms with it. The grieving process was accurately shown. While I wanted to slap the main character Wayne a few times the reader comes to understand that accepting becoming handicapped takes time and even with a person of supposedly deep and unwavering faith you can still make what seems like stupid decisions. In the end though one must accept what has happened and go on to live the best life possible. This is exactly what happens.

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