At Water’s Edge

This book seemed like a pretty decent read. It was easy and fast-paced enough to hold my interest. I realized slowly that I did not much like the insidious chauvinistic undertones this novel carries. I was starting to get really angry towards the end of the book, however, the author did attempt to redeem the book and the protagonist.

Honestly, I cannot feign to understand authors today. I’ve been reading quite a few books by female authors these days and the one repeating theme I see is that each of them either paints the picture of a woman who is an alcoholic and a drama queen or a helpless damsel in distress who needs “saving” of some sort. Each woman is shown to be weak and dependent either on alcohol or on a man. This book was no different.

The book began with the character being a self-obsessed, self-absorbed stuck-up society girl, who grows into an empathetic woman and realizes everything that is wrong with her environment and the people she has been surrounded by. What I don’t understand is how or why she has to go on this journey of self-discovery by learning how to do housework, sweeping floors, and making beds. Understandably, it shows that she is growing sympathetic to the plights of the help; what I don’t understand is why she didn’t choose to go on this journey by instead learning to attend to soldiers hurt in the war (which, honestly, would have made me respect her a tad more). In any case, by helping around the house, she wins the love and respect of the manager of the inn. Another problem here: why does a man only seem to fall in love with a woman who tries to change herself by learning how to work in the kitchens? What kind of example are you trying to set? What are you inspiring female readers to become?

One other thing that drew my attention was that each of these books that supposedly are a journey of a woman on “self-discovery” in some way involve a man, who somehow acts as a catalyst for this woman to “better” herself. This man is always painted as a through-and-through hero, who, literally in this case, comes back from the jaws of death and who dispatches a few to the fate that was to be his. I don’t understand the need for these characters in this book. At least, The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl didn’t have a patriarchal figure who had to “save” them or help them improve themselves, and under whose watchful, encouraging <lustful> eyes the protagonist realized she could be and have so much more.

The book painted these characters to be so completely evil or so completely good, I’m surprised she didn’t discover their flaws earlier. Only after being hauled across the Atlantic ocean (and because she was sea-sick the entire time) did she realize how callous and selfish her husband truly is. The character came off as shallow. I loved the journey, to the extent that it was believable. Does it really take war and a life in squalor to humble us? And if she realized so much about herself, in being shallow, how could she not, upon reflection, not come to understand the position of her father and feel sorrow and pity for him?

What I did like about the book was that it made the character realize that the boundaries between the servants and the upper-class were man-made and just existed in her mind. She did become empathetic and sympathetic. Her self-discovery, like I said earlier, was enjoyable to an extent. The book was an easy-read and I finished it in about two days so I don’t feel too bad about reading it. I’d give it a solid 3.5 stars for solid writing style, even though there was a lot wrong with the characters, I thought.

Also, there wasn’t much about the Loch Ness monster in it. Which I was really excited and was hoping for. Disappointed.

Maggot Moon

This book is for kids? I beg to differ. This book is for adults. Yes, kids may read it. Will kids “get” it? I am not so sure. Yes, the language is easy to read and easy to grasp. Yes, the font is so huge, you’d think a blind person would be able to read the book. But this book is not just for kids. It’s meant to be read by adults too.

An alternate-reality science-fiction, this book is set in the time of the space race and nations trying to get to the moon. The book was so eerie, I thought it was set on the moon {also thanks to the title that deceived me into thinking so}. It was firmly set on earth but oh, what a dystopian future! The book was writ from the point-of-view of a 15-year-old, who can’t read or write too well but who’s intelligence is to be rivalled. He shows us his world, where ethnic cleansing is the norm, specially with the killing of those “flawed” in some ways. He told us of how people “disappeared” in the middle of the night, including his parents; where food was sparce, television was a banned commodity, a luxury not allowed; and where spies ran underfoot telling on each other, having “detectives” show up and take people away to be “re-educated” or to just become “maggot-meat”. The country was ruled by the likes of a regime analogous to the Nazis (there was no mention of a name except that the country had a black and red flag – very telling of the ideology in power) and whose morality and values, rife with oppression and authorotarian policing.

The book, however, told the story of this kid, who was bullied at school because he had heterochromatia (one blue eye and one brown), who had trouble breathing and who wore short-pants instead of the long-pants, that were a sign of esteem in his school. It was a story of an underdog, who in his own way, stood up and single-handedly brought around a hopeful revolution, bringing down the entire regime. The hero, who was the only solution and the only hope to a desperate people. And he did it not for himself, but to save his friend or his love. It was a heart-wrenching story and the message is as clear as day. You have to be a special kind of stupid, to take this story just at face-value.

Murder on the Orient Express

Oh, how I love this book! Just look at the cover!

Now that the movie is about to come out, I AM PSYCHED! And the cast is stellar too! I could gush about it for another two hours, however, this post is supposed to be about the book.

I’ve read this book about 4 times over the years. Now, the thing with the sheer number of Agatha Christie’s book, I read a lot of her books and promptly forget about them. I think this is a great thing. This means that I can return to these books and enjoy them again and again.

There’s something about Agatha Christie books that are synonymous with coziness. They just make you want to curl up on an armchair with a blanket, some hot chocolate and some dusty Cheetos puffs, stuffing you face with crumbs all over but who cares!? YOU’RE READING AGATHA CHRISTIE! They’re an easy read, and they’re so interesting, and you know no one you really care about it going to die. It’s awesome!

This is true for the Murder on the Orient Express as well. This book is not like the usual run-of-the-mill Agatha Christie, however. It’s not what you would expect. You cannot solve this by being smart and looking through the diversion techniques. It is spectacular. I won’t talk about it much, since the movie is going to come out. You should watch it or read it yourself!