Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Turtles all the way down- John Green

Looking for Alaska, the last one by John Green had left me so impressed that I waited eagerly for his next one to be out, a plethora of questions running through my mind;  for instance- what would he write about next, will it be as good as  Looking for Alaska, how would the story go etc. But, I can now say the wait was worth it.

I have to give it to the author for thinking so differently when it comes to the story. There’s always a tinge of gloominess in it and yet it makes you like it, because it is meaningful and potent. Saying so, yet again his story and content was dynamically strong just like his characters. Set under the cultural references of Star Wars and The Tempest with sprinkle of fan fiction all over, it is a story of a sixteen year old, anxious girl who is consumed by her thoughts, it’s like they never leave her. Aza who has an obsession of microbes always finds herself trapped in a whirlpool or a tightening spiral because of her contemplation, it’s like they are two people- Aza and her intrusive thoughts. She meets an old friend Davis Pickett, whose father has disappeared the night before the raid, as there was a search warrant against him. Aza and her best friend Daisy set out on a quest to find the billionaire missing man to earn the reward which has been announced on his name. The billionaire’s investigation takes a side step when Aza falls for Davis. She feels heavily for Davis’ younger brother Noah who desperately wants his father to come back and is having problems dealing with his disappearance. Fighting her tumultuous friendship situations with Daisy and her own strenuous and obsessive thoughts she decodes the mystery of the missing billionaire. And how? Well, that’s the mystery solved in the book and how brilliantly! The story has a convincing end which shows Aza winning her best friend back, solving the mystery of the fugitive billionaire and learning to take control of her tightening spiral.

I love the characters John Green builds; you come to know more about them once the story starts peeling them. To think of a character like Aza would have required so much brainstorming. She will not come across as a likeable character rather you might feel indifferent of her, but once you move in the plot her persona grips you and you really feel for her. Her best friend Daisy is quite the opposite of what Aza is, bubbly and cheerful. The other characters aptly described are that of Davis and Noah. The brotherly status between them shows for itself that they have always been devoid of fatherly love. The bond that Aza and Davis share has been described very beautifully. Quoting intermittently from The Tempest in their conversations makes it impressive- amazing write up there!

Every book always has a part where the reference to the name is explained. In this one, the explanation, the reference and the way it has been described left me spell-bound. It relates beautifully to the protagonist Aza, justifying her dark and complex life.

I am all sorts of impressed with the book, be it the writing which is impressive, captivating and creative; the characters which will not let you forget them after you have finished the book; the story which is a brilliant compilation of mystery, emotions and thrill.

A recommended read from my side. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Secret to Hummingbird cake- Celeste Fletcher McHale

Two things caught me into reading this book, first was the book cover- A pretty cake sitting on its throne; the second was the name of the book- very inquisitive; such that you'd want to know the 'secret' immediately. Although I read this book over kindle, I plan to buy a hardcover of the same for keepsake and to enhance the beauty of my bookshelf. Books with such pretty covers are keepers.

I really liked this book for a couple of reasons; reasons which I will elaborate shortly. But, I have to admit that at times simplicity feels underrated. This one is such a simple book with a simple story of three friends. The story is not unique, you will feel you have read books on similar lines before; yet this one steals your heart.

The protagonists are three females; thick friends, such that they know when the other one has skipped a heart beat, but strikingly varied personas. Sometimes it so happens that you just need a moment to connect with someone and what lasts is a strong bond of friendship for decades to come- this kind of friendship has been showcased in here; the one all hope for and some find. The book starts with an ongoing introduction to the three characters- Carrigan, Ella Rae and Laine. While Carrigan and Ella Rae are the one's with the wild streak, Laine is the softer, wise and subtle among them all. She is often found advising Carrigan on her marital issues which apparently she is dwelling in since sometime,  while Ella Rae has nothing much to say to her except - whatever makes you happy; such vivid are their responses and hence their personalities! The book starts off a little slow and feels dragged initially and you wonder when the hummingbird cake is going to make an entry, the excitement perks up when there is just one line about the hummingbird cake in the early pages and then you have to wait a long time to read about it again.

The story is quite plain, Carrigan, Laine and Ella Rae are dealing with a situation they best can. It speaks about the void that is created after your loved one's are gone, it shows how with a little love and more understanding relationships can be sustained. I can't give the slightest hint of what the plot is because that might give away from the excitement of reading the book, and also because it might mislead the readers to predict the story. So, let me jump over to the writing of the book. Like I said before, it starts off slow, paving up the story and characters but it is just to build up what is coming ahead and make it more relatable. The words are so well put, that when Carrigan pours her heart out you will feel her hurt, when she is angry you will feel her anger and when she is emotional, it is going to choke you. And, why I talk about Carrigan more is because the narration is her perspective. The humor sure is going to make you chuckle once a while. This book is a masterpiece combination of emotions, humor, love, life and friendship put together with dexterity. I got near to tears at more than one places, and often thinking during reading this book- who my Laine and Ella Rae are? I haven't got the answer yet. This one here, just shows how perfect a simply put story with a sprinkle of emotions and skillful writing can turn out to be. I am not usually a chick-lit book picker, but this one surely adds up into my list of the one's I have liked. 

I don't know if I have done a fair job writing this review, because while reading the book there was a storm of emotions running inside me, from time to time I disliked Carrigan's behavior or was not able to understand Laine, though I loved how they understood each other flawlessly, at times I felt the book was being dragged and some parts were unnecessary. But, when I reached towards the end I realized may be all that 'formed' the book and it wouldn't have looked so good without all the build-up. 

And the secret to hummingbird cake? well, lets just say if you 'love' reading the book you might find the secret yourself.

A must, must read!

Goa- A new revelation. All credits to this dainty place- Literati Bookshop Café   The ceiling-high bookshelves I was in Goa last m...