Our Souls at Night is a gentle and quietly beautiful book. Addie and Louis are neighbours, who find comfort, adventure and love together, late in life. It’s about small town life, how people are more than the facts of their lives and about choosing happiness.
Well, it’s hard to say, really. The Waves is not so much a story as a flight through the heads of six friends as they live their lives, from school to death. In their heads you find nonsensical, profound, affirming, sad and intriguing thoughts; about life, status, friendship, love and death. It’s beautiful but discombobulating.
I must have watched the film a lot, as a teenager, because I have never read the book before, but the dialogue came flooding back. It’s the story of Ponyboy Curtis (yes, really), a fourteen year old boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He and his family and friends are ‘greasers’, and they are in conflict with the ‘socs’. One night Ponyboy and his friend are cornered, and a soc is killed, whichleads to more tragedy. It’s typical teenage angst, in some ways, but ultimately, it encourages us to understand others; to see that everyone has their struggles and not to give in.
A thoroughly modern, gentle Australian story. It could of easily slipped into melodrama and misunderstandings, but doesn’t thankfully. Glenna’s knowledge of orchard life shines through and the characters were engaging making for an enjoyable read.
Gustav is a young boy, growing up in Switzerland after WWII, his father having died, his mother cold towards him. A Jewish boys starts at Gustav’s kindergarten, and they become close friends. The book is beautifully written; quiet and pensive. It’s about the impact of the war on Switzerland as a neutral country, and about the nature of friendship and love.
Several months after her mother’s death Summer returns to her mother’s narrowboat cafe. We are transported to life on the river and the communities along the towpath. I enjoyed the flow of the story and the characters. A sweet read of friendship (and love) with hints of mystery that kept me reading.
To the Lighthouse is rather hard to describe. There isn’t a great deal of plot, or even dialogue, at least not spoken out loud. The Ramseys summer at their house on the Isle of Skye, and they have various visitors, before WWI, and then some of them return ten years later. It is largely internal musings of each of the characters; floating from one to another, waves of emotion and scenery, now glorious, now oppressive. It is beautiful, perplexing, kind of like its profundity is just out of reach, and that doesn’t seem to matter.
I am well and truly captivated by this series now. Lena and Lila grow apart as their choices and opportunities take them on different paths, but the darkness of their Naples neighborhood has a power that is hard to break free from. This book is about oppression, money, violence, power, love, lust, learning and yearning to be free, but I could sum it up as bring simply about spirit, that spark that gives a person drive and passion, and life.
Everything, Everything is the story of an eighteen year old girl who is allergic to the world. She lives with her mother in quiet, sterile seclusion, reading her books, until new neighbours move in. It’s a coming of age love story, very easy and quick to read. It is sweet and keeps teenaged angst to a minimum. The resolution was a bit unsatisfying for me, but I can see why it would be popular with fans of young adult fiction.
I was on the verge of abandoning this book, it really didn’t hold me, but I kept going just in case. After beginning in India, it is set in Victorian England where Gemma Doyle has been sent to a stuffy finishing school after her mother’s mysterious death. Gemma and her friends discover a way into a different realm and struggle with that power, and the evil that awaits. It wasn’t quite convincingly Victorian, or English, enough for me; the girls were too modern, but the real problem was that I didn’t find the plot that exciting. Plenty of nasty girls and angst plus a little bit of mystery, magic and steamy dreaming. I’ll give the rest a miss.