Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Shorts

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
published 1980
112 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

Along with Wit, Charm, Health, and Courage, Princess Amy of Phantasmorania receives a special fairy christening gift: Ordinariness. Unlike her six beautiful sisters, she has brown hair and freckles, and would rather have adventures than play the harp, embroider tapestries . . . or become a Queen. When her royal parents try to marry her off, Amy runs away and, because she's so ordinary, easily becomes the fourteenth assistant kitchen maid at a neighboring palace. And there . . . much to everyone's surprise . . . she meets a prince just as ordinary (and special) as she is!

My thoughts -

This is a delightful middle-grade novel by the author of one of my favorite books, The Far Pavilions. In the author's forward, she writes, " was only after I had read at least twenty of the stories that I noticed something that had never struck me before - I supposed because I had always taken it for granted. All the princesses...were blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful....This struck me as most unfair, and suddenly I began to wonder just how many handsome princes would have asked a king for the hand of his daughter if that daughter had happened to be gawky, snub-nosed, and freckled, with shortish, mouse-colored hair. None, I suspected."  The Ordinary Princess is Kaye's answer to that question, and it's wonderful. Read it with your child, and rejoice in the wonderful-ness of being ordinary.

Finished - 12/13/13
Source - my shelves
MPAA rating - this is about as G as it gets
My rating - 8/10

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a 13-year-old Boy with Autism by Naoki Hugashida (translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell)
published in Japan in 2007
135 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights — into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory — are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

My thoughts -

Hmmm. The idea of this book is quite interesting - I just question how much "freedom" the translators took in their translation. Some of the wording seemed odd for a young boy from Japan. It is certainly brave of the young author to write these words, and it is a unique perspective on the mind of autism.

Finished - 12/14/13
Source - South side library
MPAA rating - G
My rating - 6/10

A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James
published 2010
372 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides hes anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman; a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiance; which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

My thoughts - 

I'm honestly not sure how this ended up on my shelf - it is really not my typical genre. I have to say, though, it was pretty darn entertaining. Obviously nothing was a major surprise, but the banter was fun and the story a unique twist on the Cinderella tale. If you are looking for a quick, fun read you could certainly do worse.

Finished - 12/17/13
Source - my shelves
MPAA rating - R, kids. It's a bodice-ripper.
My rating - 7/10


bermudaonion said...

The Reason I Jump caught my eye - too bad it was disappointing.

Aarti said...

Oh, The Ordinary Princess sounds so sweet! I have MM Kaye's The Far Pavilions on my shelf. It's been sitting there forever, and I have not picked it up. Maybe 2014 :-)

Becca Lostinbooks said...

The Ordinary Princess sounds sweet, just like Aarti said! Too bad The Reason I Jump seems to not be fully authentic. Have you read Temple Grandin's book? I have not though I enjoyed the movie. I've worked with autistic children and I would enjoy a book written from a child's perspective like this, so boo to the publishers for taking freedoms.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I love hearing praise for The Ordinary Princess! It's one of the books I had as a kid that nobody else ever seems to have read, but it remains one of my very favorite childhood books.

mar10123 said...

Have not heard of The Ordinary Princess - but if it's M.M.Kaye, I'm sure I'd love it!ickhft