Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well. Maybe, in honor of the book's format, I'll do a bulleted list of pros/cons/and observations.
1. I read the book in a few days, interested in finding out what the heck it was going to do/where it would go.
2. The format is an interesting one, but sometimes fiddly/unnecessarily confusing.
3. The book was sexually explicit in a weird way: almost as if an actual 15 year old boy had written it. I was not 100% comfortable with that. I wonder who would be. I don't think actual 15 year old boys would be comfortable with that, in fact.
4. The characterization in the book was extremely uneven: I couldn't really get a sense of many/any of the characters except Nate, the stoner brother. Darren was hard to read, and the pivotal character, Zoey, was even more confusing or underdeveloped--in a classic case of the author "telling, not showing," I could understand the events and conflicts, but I couldn't really feel them deeply.
5. Overall, I think this book needed less style and more developed content. It treats some serious issues shallowly and, therefore, cheats the readers a bit.
The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Stephen Briggs as a reader: Terry Pratchett as author: Tiffany Aching as main character: what's not to love?
This is not Pratchett's strongest outing. It IS his last, and it's a huge bonus in light of his diagnosis with Alzheimer's. There's an afterword that sums up nearly everything that I thought as I was listening to it, but the gist is as follows:
--this is Terry Pratchett's last book. It offers some poignant, funny, honest insights on life, humans, humanity, change, and death.
--there is a lot in the book: elves, trains, Ank-Morpork (sp), Vetinari, witches, goblins, and the Nac Macfeegles all intersect, but the novel is not the 500 pages it deserves (and wants) to be--Pratchett just ran out of time. Preston gets very short shrift, as does Vetinari! Unfortunately, the Wee Free Men are short-changed, too.
--I think each reader needs to decide if s/he feels it's worth it to visit one last time, even if the master is diminished, or if s/he would rather stick with the more complete and polished works.
Ultimately, "it is what it is." I'm glad I had a chance to read Pratchett's last--though definitely not his best--work.
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