Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Reviews

Please Look After Mom
By Kyung-sook Shin
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 237 pgs. Fiction

On a train station platform in Seoul Korea, Park So-nyo disappears. Her husband and four children search for her without results for weeks. They run newspaper ads and walk the city’s streetshanding out flyers offering a reward for information leading to her recovery. The emotional journey this tragedyforces the family to take is told through the voice of a son, a daughter, a husband, and a mother. Each must deal with a lifetime of regrets built by daily taking those closest to us for granted.

This is a powerfully poignant book perfect for Mother’s Day. It aptly demonstrates the sacrifices so many mothers make as they struggle to raise children, support husbands, and fulfill the myriad of responsibilities and tasks required when keeping a home. Several of the sections of this book are written in 2nd person taking the reader on a strangely personal journey with the character. The last time I read something in that tense it was “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. This book was infinitely better and can easily be recommended to anyone. Perfect for book clubs.

Caleb’s Crossing
By Geraldine BrooksViking, 2011. 306 pgs. Fiction

Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk was born a Wopanaak chief’s son on the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard) in 1646. Colonists from the mainland had just settled on part of the island and some felt they had a Christian responsibility to convert as many native islanders as possible. Bethia, the daughter of one such missionary and religious leader, tells Caleb’s story which leads him from the warrior traditions of his people to the halls of Harvard as the first Native American to graduate from that institution.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks has penned another amazing work of historical fiction. Little is actually know about Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk other than a bare sketch of his existence and achievements. But despite sparse
facts, Brooks has imagined an impressive representation of what he may have been like and the struggles he would have had to face. Brooks has a gift for depicting vivid characters and a true sense of time in her work, totally immersing the reader in a breathtaking journey to another era. Caleb’s Crossing is another great work by a spectacular author.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand
Random House, 2010. 473 pgs. Biography

As World War II broke out, Louis Zamperini was an Olympic hopeful and a favorite to break the illusive four minute mile. The war would put all those dreams on hold and instead he found him self bombing the Japanese in the Pacific theater. After a run of successful bombing raids, Louis and his crew members are shot down and the survivors will have to live through weeks adrift on the unforgiving sea with inadequate supplies. When rescue finally comes it is in the form of the enemy and Louis's amazing tale of faith and perseverance begins in earnest.

This is a fantastic book. It keeps moving and paints a vivid picture of the strength shown by soldiers who survived the ultimate degradation. It always seems depressing to read of how evil men can be. But, this story is handled with such skill and respect that you can't help but be uplifted by the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend this book especially to anyone interested in World War II history.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Can I just say that I'm so grateful for your book reviews? I've found that if I open up a tab for the Orem Library while I'm reading your blog, I totally get the good books. Sidenote: I know Provo Library is the better of the two, but proximity has pull.