Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Shorts

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee
published 5/2011

Synopsis from publisher:

Anjali Bose’s prospects don’t look great. Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family, she lives in a backwater town with only an arranged marriage on the horizon. But her ambition, charm, and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her charismatic and influential expat teacher, Peter Champion. And champion her he does, both to powerful people who can help her along the way and to Anjali herself, stirring in her a desire to take charge of her own destiny.

So she sets off to Bangalore, India’s fastest-growing metropolis, and soon falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people who have learned how to sound American by watching shows like Seinfeld in order to get jobs in call centers, where they quickly out-earn their parents. And it is in this high-tech city where Anjali — suddenly free of the confines of class, caste, and gender — is able to confront her past and reinvent herself. Of course, the seductive pull of life in the New India does not come without a dark side . . .

My thoughts:

This novel had a weak main character and it was a sticking point for me throughout the book. Anjali had so many opportunities to do...something! ANYTHING! And yet the only time she made any forward movement was when someone else forced her hand. I would have been significantly more interested in Peter Champion's story; Rabi's story; Hossaina's story - these secondary characters felt much more vibrant and interesting. I would read more by this author, because the story itself had promise, but I would need a much stronger heroine to keep me engaged for the long haul.

Finished: 6/2/12
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language, and adult situations
My rating: 6/10

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen
published 2010

Synopsis from publisher:

A spur-of-the-moment ski trip becomes a bone-chilling nightmare when a wrong turn leaves Boston medical examiner Maura Isles marooned—far from home and help—in the snowbound Wyoming mountains. Seeking shelter from the cold, she and her traveling companions stumble upon Kingdom Come—a remote village of identical houses that seems to have become a ghost town overnight. But the abandoned hamlet has dark secrets to tell, and Maura’s party may not be as alone as they think. Days later, word reaches Boston homicide cop Jane Rizzoli that Maura’s charred remains have been found at the scene of a car crash. But the shocking news leaves Jane with too many questions, and only one way to get answers. Determined to dig up the truth, she heads for the frozen desolation of Kingdom Come, where gruesome discoveries lie buried, and a ruthless enemy watches and waits.

My thoughts:

Jane Rizzoli and Maura Iles are two of my favorite modern fictional characters, and this was another great installment in their series. I enjoyed the return of Anthony Sansone, and hope that the delightful Rat will make an appearance in forthcoming novels. Tess Gerritsen hasn't disappointed me yet - I'm considering adding this series to my permanent collection!

Finished: 6/14/12
MPAA rating: R for violence and adult situations
My rating: 8/10

The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo by Darrin Doyle
published 2010
256 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

In this charming novel, Darrin Doyle paints a captivating portrait of the all-American family--if the all-American family's youngest child ate an entire city in Michigan with a smile, that is. Doyle has a flare for writing about family dysfunction with a twist. With a unique blend of realism and fantasy, The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo is the moving story of the hauntingly beautiful Audrey Mapes, who began her illustrious "career" by downing crayons by the carton only to graduate to eating an entire city one bite at a time. With vivid, acerbic wit, Doyle details the life of the world's most gifted "eatist" through the eyes of Audrey's sister, McKenna. Through her eyes, we see the real tragedy of the Mapes story is not the destruction of a city, but rather, the quiet disintegration of a family who just didn't quite know how to love.

My thoughts:

Well, I broke one of my cardinal rules - I kept reading a book that I really was not enjoying. Someone loaned this one to me (Mom? Maria? I don't know, but it was on my "on loan" shelf, so I know it had to be someone...) so I felt like I should keep going - I mean, if they loaned it to me, it must be because they liked it, right?

It's not even that it was bad in any particular way - it was just so unrelentingly sad. Everyone was horrible to each other, and to themselves, and there was never any relief. This was dysfunction taken to a whole new level, and it just did not work for me.

Finished: 6/21/12
Source: ?? on loan from someone
MPAA rating: R for sheer depressing-ness, if nothing else
My rating: 5/10


bermudaonion said...

The Tess Gerritsen book I tried was just okay but didn't feature Rizzoli and Iles - I need to try one out of that series!

Aarti said...

I think I'll avoid Miss New India, though I wanted to try it because most of my extended family lives in Bangalore :-) However, I am a bit tired of the whole call center thing.

Zibilee said...

I had been wanting to read Miss New India, but after reading your review, it seems that I would probably be left unsatisfied, so I think I will skip it. It sounds like it was a bit of a letdown. Great mini-reviews! I so enjoy this format!

mar10123 said...

I just remembered - I got The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo free from Goodreads - a pre-release. I think they actually sent me 2 copies (???), so you may KEEP this one!