Book Review

Book Review: Someone Knows

Book Review: Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

SPOILER ALERT:

Allie Garvey, Sascha Barrow, Julian Brown, Kyle Gallagher and David Habrinski were fifteen years old, they participated in a prank that ended with one of them dead. The other teens hid the secret, stopped being friends and now twenty years later another one of them is dead.

Allie Garvey – Her older sister Jill died at 17 years old from Cystic Fibrosis (a disease where mucus clogs the lungs making it hard to breath). At 15 years old, Allie was overweight, missing her sister and had a huge crush on David. Twenty years later, Allie is married to Larry Luchey and Larry wants a divorce.

Sascha Barrow – At 15 years old, Sascha was the captain of the running team, had great grades, beautiful and rich. Twenty years later, Sascha did not finish college, she travels the world using her trust fund and writing PR pieces about fashion.

Julian Brown – At 15 years old, Julian’s parents are divorced, he is a peeping Tom, rich and likes Sascha. His best friend is David. Twenty years later, Julian runs part of the family business with his dad, Scott Brown (who owns Brown Land Management).

Kyle Gallagher – At 15 years old, Kyle just moved from Ohio with his mom (Barb) to get away from the scandal that happened involving his dad. Kyle’s dad is in prison for molesting children with cancer at the hospital that he worked as a pediatric oncologist. Barb changed Kyle and her name from Hammond to her maiden name Gallagher. Kyle is great at basketball and has a dog named Buddy. Twenty years later, Kyle is still dead and his mother misses him every day.

David Habrinski – At 15 years old, David has an abusive dad who called him a “faggot” and pushed him into the pool. David secretly questions his sexuality – is he gay or not? David kisses Allie to see if he is attracted to her. David’s best friend is Julian. David has three younger siblings – Jason and the twins (girls). Twenty years later, David is married with a pregnant wife and a boyfriend on the side.

Themes I saw:

Wanting to fit in – Allie wanted to fit in so she did not walk away when she felt that playing with a gun was wrong. Kyle put a gun to his own head as a dare to get in with the cool kids because he wanted to fit in.

Keeping secrets and punishing yourself – Allie felt so guilty over Kyle’s death that she stopped overeating, developed Colitis (stomach issues) and became skinny as an adult. She got married but was always distant from her loving husband (Larry) and continued to take birth control after telling her husband that she wanted children too but she felt that she did not deserve it. Sascha did not end up going to law school nor did she become a fashion designer. As an adult she would take Ambien to sleep, other medications for anxiety, alcohol, and fluttering from country to country. David did not live his truth which was he is gay, instead he married a woman and then had a secret boyfriend on the side.

It was a good book and made me think about the fact that not telling because you fear getting into trouble but then punishing yourself so much worse and in the end you don’t live your life so you should have just told in the first place.

Book Review

Book Review: The Widow

Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

A baby named Bella Elliot is taken from her backyard while her mom (Dawn Elliot) went inside the house for a few minutes. Bob Sparkes, a detective is on Bella’s case. Kate Waters is a reporter looking into the case. As the investigation continues Glen Taylor becomes the primary suspect and is later charged with kidnapping Bella. When the case goes to trial, Glen is not convicted and ends up suing the police. Jean Taylor is married to Glen Taylor and she remains with her husband through this entire ordeal.

The book is told from the points of views of several characters, each chapter is from a different character’s point of view – The Widow (Jean Taylor), The Reporter (Kate Waters), The Mother (Dawn Elliot), The Detective (Bob Sparkes) and The Husband (Glen Taylor).

It was interesting to see how a reporter works a story – having a hunch, digging, talking to people and then it could turn into something or it is nothing.

I did not understand the dynamic of Jean and Glen’s marriage – from how Jean described the marriage, it didn’t feel like it was a great marriage.

There is pedophilia, child abduction and death in this book. The ending was not predictable at all and I was surprised.

Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King

Fun fact – This book was written by Stephen King and his son Owen King.

One day, all the women and girls in the world fell asleep. A mucus web like cocoon formed over each woman, this sleeping sickness is called “Aurora”. Women who were awake fought hard to remain that way but the human body can only go without sleep for so long. If you try and wake up a sleeping woman, she will get up and attack the person who woke her up, only stopping when the person dies then the woman goes back to sleep. Women who are mothers of boys fell asleep, woke up, picked up their boy children and handed them over to the nearest man then went back to sleep. Doctors cannot figure out why this is happening. Rumors begin and women hating men say that God is punishing women for “moving away from their place in the kitchen.”

The events in the book happen within a span of five days and are focused on what happened in a small town of Dooling, West Virginia. When all the women in the world fall asleep men panic since now they have to take care of their sons. Fathers flood 911 with calls asking what to do with crying boys.

The women fell asleep and woke up in Dooling in the near future, there are only women and girls there. The women name this Dooling as “Our Place”. They begin to rebuild society, everyone has a job and it is harmonious. The women are given a choice they can stay in “Our Place” or go back to present day Dooling.

List of characters:

Lila Norcross – sheriff of Dooling, West Virginia and wife of Clint
Clint Norcross – psychiatrist at Dooling Correctional Institute for Women and husband of Lila
Eve Black – she is magic
Terry Coombs – alcoholic, deputy under the sheriff later promoted to sheriff; commits suicide
Frank Geary – animal control officer, later becomes second in command under Terry Coombs; has anger issues
Warden Janice Coats – warden of the Dooling Coorectional Insitute for Women
Don Peters – rapist, guard at the prison who abuses his power as guard forcing the prisoners to sexually satisfy him; later he puts a Xanaz in the warden’s coffee forcing her to go to sleep. He murdered his mother while she slept by burning down the house with her inside. Later on he becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side and is killed.
Eric Blass – teenage boy poised to become a rapist, later becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side, murdered the homeless woman
Jared – Lila and Clint’s son, has a crush on his friend Mary
Mary – Jared’s friend
“Our Place” – looks like the town of Dooling but maybe in the distant future
Magnificent tree – portal between the current Dooling town and “Our Place”
Elaine Nutting – Frank’s ex-wife, very religious
Jeanette Sorley – inmate
Vanessa Lampley – guard at the prison, she is an arm wrestling champion and very strong, she decides to commit suicide instead of falling asleep, ends up pushing herself to chase two criminals and take them down
Michaela – reporter, Janice Coates’ daughter
Angel Fitzroy – inmate
Willy Burke – volunteer, helps Clint’s side
Nana Geary – Frank and Elaine’s daughter, she is scared of her dad but later wants to go back home since she misses her dad

A big theme of the story was fear. When we let fear take over then we all make really bad decisions. Frank mobilizes the deputies with the goal of capturing Eve Black, torturing her until she gives them the cure for all the women. Frank is motivated by fear and believes that this will bring his daughter back.

Because men now have to take on the work women do (which they thought was not real work) they (men) were able to understand that it is work, it is hard work and it should be respected.
A few key things change in the aftermath – universal day care is passed. Women are more assertive and voice their opinions. Men have a smidge more respect for women.

I would not have chosen to come back because in “Our Place” I would have the opportunity to reach my full potential without fear, without having to disguise my ambition and having to change myself into a less threatening, smiling woman so that society (aka men and some women) can accept me. But the book was written by men and maybe that’s why the women in the book decided to come back.

I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to others.

Book Review

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Written by Ruth Ware

Harriet “Hal” Westaway is a 21 year old college dropout trying to make enough money to afford to pay for her apartment, pay off her loan shark and to eat. Hal took over her mom’s tarot reading booth on Brighton Beach. Hal’s mom (named Maggie) died three years ago after she was hit by a car in front of their apartment and the person left the scene.

Hal is really struggling financially and she sees no way out. One day she receives a letter from a lawyer named Mr. Treswick. In the letter Mr. Treswick tells Hal that her grandmother (Mrs. Westaway) recently passed away and left Hal some money so Hal should go there for the reading of the will. Hal believes that the letter was not meant for her but she decides to play along so that she can get a little money to help with her debt.

When the will is read, Mrs. Westaway’s grandchildren and maid are given money and the rest of the estate is given to Hal! Mrs. Westaway left nothing for her sons – Abel, Ezra and Harding. Abel is gay and his partner is Edward Ashby so Mrs. Westaway disowned him years ago and he was not surprised that he got nothing in the will.
Mrs. Westaway had a daughter named Maud (she’s also Ezra’s twin sister) who left years ago and no one knows where she is. It is important to note that Hal does not know who her father is.

Themes I saw:

Family shame – Mrs. Westaway locked Maggie up when she found out that she was pregnant. This was done in the hopes that Maggie would tell her who the baby’s father was. The pregnancy was the shame.

Friendship – Maggie and Maud are good friends and runaway together so that they can have a good life away from Mrs. Westaway.

Love – Maud loved her friend Maggie so later on when Maggie does not come back, Maud raises Maggie’s daughter as her own.
Mrs. Warren the housekeeper loved Ezra. She never told on him for the murder.
Mrs. Westaway loved her son Ezra and never turned him in.

Self-preservation – Hal found an opportunity to make some money by inheriting some money and she ran to take it. Ezra killed Maggie because she came back asking for money to raise his infant daughter. Ezra then kills Maud so she will not tell Hal that Ezra is her dad and that she suspects that Ezra killed her mom (Maggie). Ezra attempts to kill Hal because she was figuring out the truth and he kills Mrs. Warren because she knows most of the truth even though she (Mrs. Warren) would never have told anyone.

I think that Mrs. Westaway wanted to do the right thing by her daughter but still not hurt her most beloved son so she left all her money to Hal. Also, family secrets cause so much pain and they have to be addressed in order for healing to finally start – which is what ends up happening in this book.

All in all – I loved this book because in the end Ha’s situation is better than she started which I absolutely love!!!!

Book Review

Book Review: The Shape of Water

Book Review: The Shape of Water 

By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus

It’s the 1960s and Elisa Esposito works as a night janitor at an aerospace research center in Baltimore. Elisa cannot speak, she can hear and uses sign language to communicate. Elisa has two friends – Zelda (her co-worker) and Giles (her neighbor). One day an amphibious man is brought in to be studied and dissected afterwards. Richard Strickland is the one who caught him. Elisa and the amphibious man fall in love and she will risk everything to set him free.

Below are some spoilers; you have been warned.

Here are the main themes I saw:

Friendship
Elisa’s friendship with both Zelda and Giles is tested when the two (Zelda and Giles) have to decide whether or not they will assist Elisa with helping her man escape.

Stuck
Elisa Esposito is stuck. She is a woman and her choices of work are very limited especially since she cannot talk. Elisa is stuck at a dead end job doing the same thing over and over.

Zelda Fuller is stuck. Zelda is a black woman who dreams of saving enough money to open her own cleaning company and attain a better life.

Giles is stuck. Giles is a gay man during a time in history where homosexuality is illegal and you could end up in jail. Giles was fired from his job due to his sexual preferences and he is trying to make a living for himself and he stuck with limited options.

Amphibious man is stuck. He is a wild God like being who is powerful, mysterious and stuck in a tank with no way out.

Richard Strickland is stuck. He is stuck under the thumb of his boss (General Hoyt) and he hopes that by seeing through the research being done on the amphibious man, that he can finally be free of his boss.

Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck. He is a researcher tasked with studying the amphibious man. Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck having to pass along secrets to his Soviet handler……….YES he is a reluctant spy.

Elaine Strickland is stuck. She is stuck in a marriage to Richard Strickland where she tries her best to be a “good wife” which means cooking for her husband, cleaning, ironing his clothes and taking care of their children. Eventually Elaine gets a secret job as a secretary and she works, takes care of the kids and comes back home in time to make dinner and take care of her man.

Love
Elisa falls in love with the Amphibious man and because of that love she follows through a daring plan to set him free. It turns out that the Amphibious man falls in love! I was worried that the love could have been one sided since Elisa is free and he is a prisoner. I knew that the Amphibious man loved Elisa when she gets shot and he immediately kills the person who hurt Elisa then he saves her life. I loved the part where the Amphibious man turns Elisa’s neck scars into gills, thus enabling Elisa to breath underwater just like him.

All in all – I loved the book!!!!