Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Little Boy Blues : A Memoir
by Malcolm Jones

Jones grew up in North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s with parents who accepted, quite willingly, racism. He was basically raised by elderly relatives. His parents' marriage was dismal and eventually led to divorce mostly because of the father's long absences from home.
I barely lasted thirty pages with this book. The writing is blah, emotionless, and the worst part, studded with metaphors.
Don't bother.
Americans in Paris : Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation
by Charles Glass

Right before World War II, there were 30,000 Americans living in Paris. When the Germans entered that number dropped to 3,000.
The ones that remained were of the wealthy class. Some became collaborators while others joined the Resistance.
Sound like a good book? I thought so. But, no, it's not the case. The Introduction and the first chapter were the most interesting parts and then, it went downhill, fast.
The problem is that it reads like one giant gossip column with a million names tossed in all over the place and you're trying to figure out why these people are mentioned anyway. Also, the book is quite large at 400 plus pages.
So much for the author, Charles Glass, being touted as a first-class journalist. What a joke!
Not recommended.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Mountain of Crumbs : A Memoir
by Elena Gorokhova

This book has had so much fanfare for months. The reviews have been over the top. I really should stop reading them.
The author grew up in Leningrad during the 1960s. She tells of the deprivation her family went through. I suffered just trying to read the first couple of chapters.
Elena Gorokhova always loved the English language and always wanted to write. Her mentor was Frank McCourt when she took a class taught by him.
Nothing irritates me more than when an author uses metaphors constantly as is the case here. All it is is filler and doesn't add anything to the story. It detracts from it.
No gorgeous writing as many critics have exclaimed. If anything, the writing seems forced and not natural.
There are many more excellent books about Russia, so don't bother with "A Mountain of Crumbs."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Born Round : The Secret History of a Full-time Eater
by Frank Bruni

Being addicted to food, to the point where your life is totally consumed by it, is what Frank Bruni generates throughout this book. He was a chubby child and became a quite large adult. Born into an Italian family, the meals were of gargantuan portions.
He was constantly on a rollercoaster ride with his weight.
In 2004, he became the food critic of The New York Times a challenge in and of itself.
I so thought that I would totally love this book and place it on my other blog. Twice, I renewed it, placed a hold on it to retrieve it from another library (the first copy was due and had to be returned) and read it from beginning to end.
The first sections were really interesting, the middle started to drag and the last parts were a yawn. He writes like a reporter (his background and previous career) and almost nothing, of what I read, is funny.
Bruni has received plenty of accolades from several reviewers praising him for being honest, unflinching, warm, amusing, endearing, etc. Give me a break. Did any of these people actually read this thing?
Not recommended, at all.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thank Heaven : A Memoir
by Leslie Caron

While she may have been entrancing as an actress, Leslie Caron is certainly not entrancing as a writer. I lasted three chapters. In better hands, presumably a well-established author, (who gave her the idea in the first place to write her autobiography), maybe the book would have been readable.
Skip this one.