Friday, 14 December 2012

Mini Reviews: Moranthology and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

I've been reading quite a bit lately. And when I say a lot, what I really mean is acquiring a lot of books and very very slowly reading them. Moranthology took me two weeks to finish, despite all of the Caitlin love that I have going on. There were a load of quotes that I wanted to talk about but I returned it to the library without making a note of them anywhere. Cos I'm a genius, obviously. I've seen some mixed reviews of it, and while it was definitely no How to Be a Woman, I really enjoyed it. My favourite essay was the one about libraries - I'm sure those who have read it will know exactly the one I'm talking about - where she talks about how libraries are totally essential to not only the intelligence but also the self-esteem of people, especially teenagers. I also giggled a lot at the columns that were her bedtime discussions with her husband, because hilarity. They kind of reminded me of the bit that I adored in Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, where she has a conversation with her husband using the cat as the method of communication. Both Lawson and Moran make me laugh in public. A lot. So basically, I read Moranthology and my love of Caitlin remains undiminished and I am ALL THE JEALOUS of Laura for having a signed copy!

The other book I've finished in the past couple of weeks is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, which has been on my TBR for literally about ten years. People are forever and always talking about it in America, where it seems to be a teen rite of passage much similar to my reading of things like Catcher in the Rye and I Capture the Castle. This one I did remember to write down the quotes I liked - I've decided I really must keep my notebook to hand while reading - but basically it was just great. I loved the way that it was told through both words and pictures, like an amalgamation of a standard novel and a graphic novel. Because it had a teen protagonist, the drawings made it feel more real to me. Essentially it's the story of what happens to the main character, Junior, when he decides to transfer from the school on the rez to the local white school; full of high achieving, rich white kids who basically look down on him because he's an Indian, but it isn't really as focused as all that. He flits from what's going on in his family, to how his relationship with his best friend Rowdy is affected by the move, to the changes in the way the kids at school relate to him, really easily. I can't currently find my notebook (of course), so I guess I'll just add the quotes in whenever it turns up! I'm really glad to have finally read this, as it was definitely as good as everybody said it was. My major problem with a lot of YA is that it can be quite shallow and not really about too much, and while The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian reads as easily as something that isn't about much, there are a huge number of themes - racism, alcoholism, abuse to name a few - underlying it. 

So yay for awesome books and kind of half-assed reviews. They were both library books too, so that's pretty cool as I feel like I'm already starting to get myself disciplined for the ban of book buying for next year. I may slightly have bought a fair amount of books in December as well, but that's for another post! 


  1. I seem to be reading super-slowly at the moment, I don't know why. Pre-Christmas fatigue? The slightly heavier-going book choices? Dunno. But yay for awesome books and kind of half-assed reviews indeed! You're doing far better than me - I have ALL THE QUOTES but no actual reviews! And dude, if they make people want to read the books, they've done their job and actually are totally not half-assed at all. So there.

    I've pre-ordered Moranthology in paperback (I then had to order a hardcover copy for a customer and I did have a TINY flick through, hehe) and I've had TATDoaPI on my shelves for aaaaaages, so, y'know. Should probably get round to that at some point. Only there's this lovely copy of Howard's End is On the Landing that arrived yesterday and, well, it's kinda CALLING to me right now... ;)

    1. I really liked Howard's End is on the Landing! Nearly as good as Ex Libris :)

  2. Hey man, I don't just have a signed copy, she actually TOUCHED ME! It was epic. She's EXACTLY like you'd think she'd be. Amazing.

    Ahem. Anyway... I'm glad you liked it! And YES to the book buying ban. For reals, I got like... 13 books in the post this week? And I also bought another one? When actually I don't have room for the ones I've got already AND I'm getting more for Christmas, obvs. So yeah, we will have to support each other on this! You're going to be my NO BOOKS therapist, ok?

  3. I have a signed copy too and one of How To Be A Woman :) although I didn't get to meet her! I love the bedtime conversations with her husband too and you're right that they were also what I loved about Jenny Lawson's book!