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The Week in Books Summer Edition, Week 4

June 13, 2010

Well, this week I at least finished four books, which is double last time.

The first of which was a reread: White Oleander by Janet Fitch.  It’s a powerful story about a girl whose mother thinks that art and beauty transcend everything, including murder, leaving the girl to a series of terrible foster homes while imprisoned for her crime of passion.  The daughter is struggling with identity, family, and love while her mother manipulates everyone, even from behind bars.  I guess I didn’t remember the end correctly, because I felt depressed afterward, and didn’t remember being depressed before.  I really love the book, and I’ll be rewatching the movie this week for my book club.  I’ll probably talk about that in the next WiB, even if it isn’t a B.

The second book I read was the first volume of the Battle Royale manga.  I’m not even going to link it to Amazon for my three-penny kickback or whatever it is because I thought the manga was ridiculous, not worth reading to the next one.  I realize that setting up a series in manga can be far more difficult than with other media but my God, it was like “The Worst of Chuck Palahniuk.”  The subtlety of the movie in creating this psychological freakshow is not present in this first manga; it’s all murder to the face and rapey rape rape rape.  I remember loving to hate the program director guy in the movie; in the book, he’s an irritating caricature.  I have no desire to read the next volume at all.  I can totally see why someone in my book club said that The Hunger Games is what Battle Royale should’ve been and failed to be.  But he was referring to the novel; if I can get over to pick it up in time from the library before the hold expires, I’ll read it just to read it.  Or attempt to.  But bleh on the manga.  BLEH I say.

Finally, I read the first two Who Killed Peggy Sue? books: Dying to Win and Cross Your Heart, Hope to Die.  This four-part ’90s murder mystery series by Such Devoted Sisters author Eileen Goudge is everything you’d figure it would be: sanitized, good girls go with mysterious, dangerous, good-hearted guys and bad girls become better.  Nothing gets too deep and things are rushed, but it still manages to be somewhat enjoyable after all these years.  Now that I have all four books again, thanks to Paperbackswap.com, I can pass them on to my daughter, who thinks they’re “awesome.”  Wait till she finds out whodunnit.

Next week: the other two Peggy Sue books, a little about Scott Pilgrim, and whatever catches my fancy.

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