The TWIST Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult. Contains SPOILERS

Don’t read this untill you have read the book. I have enjoyed other Piccoult’s more; but equally for me lot better than Mercy which found wishy, washy. So if you like Piccoult you should get something out of it. If you have read what did you think about the book / the twist?

Did you see the twist coming?

There was no hint untill sickle cell gene mentioned; then I realised, that was indicating that baby Davis had some African Americain genetics. I wondered whether his Mother Brit had conceived the baby with someone other than her husband. Therefore I was not necessarily expecting that Brit’s Mother was African American.

Was the twist needed?

I think it was an interesting twist, showing you can not truly judge someone by the colour of their skin. But the story had so much going on anyway that it perhaps impact got a little lost.

How could the twist have been more powerful

I think narrative strand from Brit would have been interesting. It would have brought an insight into,  how she had felt, growing up without her Mother and her views of her Mother.

I think it was cruel lawyer Kennady allowing Brit’s Mother to be revealed in public and the reveal did not impact the case; so it was not really necessary to do that. The revelation evidently sent Brit into turmoil but this was covered in just a couple of sentences in the epilogue; how it led to her suicide. The twist felt like an after thought rather than something planned from the beginning. Again a narrative from Brit would have allowed climax to build before the reveal and the impact to be explored, on the other hand this would have taken focus away from Ruth’s story; but is it a bad thing to have two big focuses in a book? The lives of Ruth and Brit could have been compared and contrasted.

A boy made of blocks by Keith Stuart No Spoilers

A Nick Hornby style book. The themes of the book are around the trial separation of the parents of an autistic boy and connecting with the boy via the video game minecraft. A potentiality gritty story , especially as author’s son has autism however, it never goes that deep or heavy. Instead although presenting struggles,  it goes with a lighthearted, heartwarming, positive angle. The plot is simplistic and at one point I was not sure always flawless for example; when talks about deciding on a fancy dress outfit in a morning, but having a mask for the outfit bought online by the same afternoon. Overall a very readable  page turner, when not wanting anything too heavy.

Insomnia by Stephen King No Spoilers

I liked the first hundred pages or so and the epilogue, but not so keen on the middle and there was a lot of middle! The book was 760 pages in total.

There are three main themes. The first is about a retired man, rebuilding life after death of wife. This was an interesting theme to think about.

The second theme was about women refuges and abortion clinics; so if these are sensitive subjects, do not read.

The third theme is the paranormal / sci fi theme. I would have enjoyed the book without this because the man’s story was so interesting. Plus this theme did not engage me  because too far fetched for me and as so much of it, made the book drag.

This was my first Stephen King. Is it typical?

Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier. Part 1: The audio book and prelude to watching the film (No spoilers)

I have just finished the audiobook in time to watch the film. The audiobook lasts about 12 hours; I would have thought I could fit reading the book, into less 12 hours. I could probably read for longer sessions, than I could listen therefore as well as taking less total time, I could have compressed into less time.

After listening to the audiobook I’m  curious to see the film. I think the book has an interesting plot albeit not action packed therefore think, it would be possible to fit into two hours. I think, the characters could be brought more to life than in the book. I’m not a big fan of reading or watching costume dramas. However, I found the language in the audiobook very accessible albeit a little wordy for example; not sure it was really necessary to always state Cousin Rachel rather than just Rachel. I hope the film is not too stuffy and overly focused on creating period atmosphere; I ideally want the characters and storyline to shine through. From stills I have seen they? have perhaps literally decide to sex film up.

For me ending was marred by barely last syllable being uttered and a message thanking for listening to audio talked over. In book although would have known was reading last sentence, would literally have had blank space to reflect.

Book Scavanger: What I did not have on my shelf….

Book Scavanger: What I did not have on my shelf….

  • An audio book. Last time I listened to an audiobook was as a child; casssettes borrowed from the library. Now the way to do it is to listen with phone; so there is nothing to put on the book shelf. I downloaded audibles, for a free trial which took about 10minutes and that was at the same time as cooking. I’m now listening to Cousin Rachal by Daphane De Mairier which is another one being turned into a film this year. As it is just one narrator rather than dialogue, you have to make sure you listen and concentrate; no looking at anything else on phone!
  • Looking at my book shelf most is caucasion, women like me. But that is swung a little by having so many Jodi Piccoult and Tess Gerritson. But my shelves do not represent everything I read; they represent what I have kept minus books that my sister has in her to be read collection. So I have nothing against reading books by someone of a different gender, ethinicity, religion, ability etc to me.
  • I think I have got into reading other books because of them having the tag ‘If you like Jodi Piccoult’. Of course Amazon also acts as an enabler to keep in one genre but hey it’s what I like; not too difficult to read but good characters and a dilemma to ponder.
  • Through going to a book club I definitely do read things, I would not naturally pick; however; that probably shows I know what I like as not many become keepers. Therefore on that basis this challenge has not tempted, me to read any steam book or any fantasy novels
  • For book club over last couple of years I have read a couple of 800+ page books; Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which had some good bits , but weirder as it went on and for me too detached to realities along with length I was not enjoying it by the end. I borrowed it from my Dad, but if it was my book, I probably would not have kept it. Also for book club read Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, which I mighthave enjoyed if it had not been dragged out so much; what did all the repeated drug binge scenes achieve?

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Discussion points: contains SPOILERS

Warning topics covered include rape and suicide. I appreciate that these are complex emotive subjects and I have made simplistic comments as prompts for discussion.

  •  As mentioned the book has lots of narratives. Also I think Hawkins does not make the family relationships particularly distinct. With Katie’s family, Katie was not introduced straight away, making, making difficult to see how the family fitted in. At one point when,  it was unclear who Katie was I may have got Shaun and Josh, confused because both young boys. I got particularly confused about Patrick’s family. Lauren was not named much; she was often just referred to naturally by Shaun as his Mum. Then I think at some point I was thinking of Helen as Patrick’s wife because she lived with him.
  • If you have been eager to read this book, then the temptation is to tear through this book but perhaps, it needs to be read slower, to get familiar with the characters; I still think a character list would help; hence me providing one in my review. Unlike with Girl on the train where it is about the end destination perhaps this one is more about the journey; and time should of be taken to appreciate all the characters and sub plots.

A reviews of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Author of Girl on the Train). For those reading it or thinking of reading it onwards. Including a character list (without spoilers) which I think would have been handy at the front of the book.

  • I think more could have been made about the rape of Jules. It is certainly statuary rape, because she was below age of consent. The book did not go into enough detail about the actual event for the reader to really engage. It could have been made dynamic; perhaps she partly did it as revenge against her sister for not standing up for her or at least allowed him to kiss her to get back at her sister / feel better about herself but he then kept going further. That would have made the story more interesting.
  • I also felt that the relationship between Mark and Katie; could have been explored in more detail. Was it love? Was she taken advantage of?  More could have been made if the juxtaposition between Jules and Katie. Was Jules more innocent then Katie? Did Katie seduce Mark albeit she was too naive too anticipate full emotional impact. As men are less mature the age gap between a young man and mature teenage can seem smaller than it is. Yes of course he, should have had more sense but these things happen and exploring it more would have been fascinating.
  • So hard to understand why Katie thought things, were so bad she had to kill herself. Not sure how well researched that was; but perhaps such deaths can often seem illogical, so it is realistic. Perhaps the history of place but suicide in mind. This week I was thinking about how when places get a reputation as a suicide spot; it can be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Mental Health Awareness: Suicide Reporting Guidelines

Also did Jules went to kill herself; pergapas that juxtaposition could have been explored too.

  • I do not think it was ever revealed why Nell had been so keen to talk to Jules. Had she suspected Patrick was a murderer? Or was it one of her routine calls to Jules?

A reviews of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Author of Girl on the Train). For those reading it or thinking of reading it onwards. Including a character list (without spoilers) which I think would have been handy at the front of the book.

It’s a unique book rather than being a copy of Girl on the train. It is not centered around a unreliable narrator. In fact it has several narrators. Different narrators are in different time zones and some narrators speak from different time zones. I could not remember Lauren’s name at the end because I just thought if her as ‘Shaun’s Mum’. The chapters just had people’s first names, not surnames so it was difficult to remember who was related.  I felt I could have done with a character list at the front of the book to flick back to therefore I have provided one below. 

I do feel that the book could have been more streamlined with less narrators; for example do not think needed narratives from Nicky or Erin. I think chopping and changing between characters, prevented suspense building, whereas of course Girl on the train built a lot of suspense. I also think the book incorporates some interesting topics. However I would have liked some of those topics to be touched upon deeper; I will write another post with those thoughts, so as to not present spoilers here. It is unfair to judge any book against Girl on the train because that was exceptional. It was an interesting, enjoyable read but I think it has not reached the potential in that although author writes in an engaging way and it flows nicely, it lacks impact. Although  I have read reviews from those who were were underwhelmed by Girl on the train. To be fair I think I had got Girl on the train dissed by the end, yet the suspense was still there; dramatic last pages and you were not sure whether there was gone to be a last twist. Whereas this book is more about story telling; the last part tails off in an attempt to tie up lose ends. That being said; Both books are good holiday books for the summer!

Reference character list

Libby  Seeton suspected witch drowned in the pool 1679.

Anne Ward died in the Water 1920. 

Prior to 1983 the book mentions the following had also died in the pond but does not give details of when although possibly they were between Libby and Anne: Mary Marsh, Ginny Thomas, Lauren Slater.

Lauren Townsend found dead in the pool 1983.

Patrick Townsend. Lauren’s husband. Policeman before retirement.
Shaun Townsend Lauren’s son a child at the time of death. By 2015 a policeman.

Katie found in the pool June 2015
Louise Katie’s Mum.

Josh Katie’s brother

Nell Abbott found in pond August 2015. She has been researching the other deaths in pond. She had a daughter (Father unknown) and a sister.

Jules Abbott Nell’s sister. 

Lena Abbott: Nell’s daughter

Mark: Katie and Lena’s teacher.

Nickie Sage Local tarot card reader, seance host.

Jeanie Sarge: Nickie’s daughter I think (correct me if I’m wrong). She is a police lady.

Erin police lady