Pageviews last month

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Plain Truth

Here is another gripping novel from Jodi Picoult, featuring an ethical dilemma and the steps to its resolution. A dead newborn is found in a barn on the property of an Amish farmer. Evidence leads to the baby being the child of the farmer’s daughter, Katie Fisher. Katie is accused of murdering the child. High profile lawyer Ellie Hathaway, in the throes of an emotional crisis herself, decides to defend Katie.

The story combines an in-depth observation of Amish culture with the elements of a legal thriller. As the author enables us to view the various characters’ perspectives as to what is right and wrong, we also find ourselves becoming emotionally involved with the story. After several twists and turns in the plot, the reader is presented with a complex ending.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

Author Carlos Eire presents a memoir of his upper middle class childhood in Cuba, spanning the years between Batista’s rule and the ascension of Fidel Castro. Eire describes his early youth as one of privilege and enjoyment; the reckless pleasures of rough play activities with his friends and father is contrasted with the strict religious education he receives from the monks at his school. His family members and friends are depicted lovingly and humorously; the portrayal of his father the judge who believes that he is the reincarnation of King Louis the Sixteenth is hilarious. The characterizations of people that Eire does not like explode with rage.

As Castro comes into power, Eire’s family finds that their range of freedoms narrows. In 1962, their parents send Carlos and his brother Tony to the United States during Operation Peter Pan, where they endure life-altering changes. Eventually their mother joins them but their father remains behind in Cuba.

Eire’s lyrical prose accentuates the emotional timbre of his account, allowing the reader to empathize with his plight.