Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review: Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

"The first rule about Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club."

I was really excited in starting to read 'Fight Club' because it was the first book read in my English A2 class. My english teacher is really interesting person. He is not like the other teachers and he told us that Fight Club is one of his favorite books so I was really interested to know will I like it too. And I must say that I was positively suprised.

The narrator of the book (his name is not mentioned) is depressed and he has insomnia. He attends several support groups and fakes different diseases to get some comfort. That way he can sleep. One day Marla attends one of the support groups. The narrator notices that Marla is also there as a faker. They have to make a deal and the narrator is not able to attend all the groups anymore. His insomnia comes back. One day in a bar he meets Tyler. Suddenly Tyler asks the narrator to hit him hard and sooner or later Tyler and narrator are fighting on the bar parking lot. After the fight the narrator notices that fighting gives him relief and pleasure.

The narrator moves to Paper Street with Tyler. Tyler is a total opposite of the narrator and the reader really sees that while reading the book. They form a fight club and meeting after meeting the group gets bigger and bigger. Men come to Fight Clubs to get rid of their stress and show their masculinity. After a while Fight Clubs are not enough and Tyler invents Project Mayhem. It's goal is to destroy the history. But in the end everything gets out of the hands and the narrator understands that Fight Clubs and Project Mayhem must be cancelled. But there is problem... Tyler thinks that it is not necessary and Tyler has become extremely close to the narrator.

Fight Club harshy critizices the modern day materialistic society. Before meeting Tyler the narrator is extremely materialistic. There is one extremely funny part when the narrator is listing all of his IKEA furniture from his apartment which blew up in an explosition. Tyler on the other hand lives in a house which is falling apart. For him it is not about the material, it is about the substance in life.

The book has many motifs, for example listing, soap and materialism. The book is otherwise pretty chaotic but by listing the narrator gets some order to his life. Soap represents something materialistic; we use it once and then wash it off. The effect of soap does not last, it is only temporary. Materialism and its criticizims is one of the main motifs of the book.

It is interesting to examine the difference between the narrator and Tyler. In the text the narrator does not have quotation marks. Everything he says is just written normally. That means that the narrator does not really have an identity, he does not have a voice. The narrator is really a human wreck before the fight club. Tyler has quotation marks and it means that he really is a person with a voice. At the last chapter of the book the narrator for the first time gets quotation marks to his words.

There is so much stuff I could write about because we basicly went through the whole book at my English class. But I just decided to write about these main points. I must say that Fight Club is one of the best books I've ever read because it's so different and it has a deeper meaning. There is a lot under the surface and while reading it you really has to think about what is happening.

Have you read the Fight Club? Have you seen the movie based on the book?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book Review/ARC Review: Feddie Girl by Nona David

TITLE: Feddie Girl: The hilarious Adventures of an American Teen in a Nigerian Federal School

AUTHOR: Nona David

GENRE: Women's fiction, International Adventure, Thriller

PUBLISHER: Bernard Books Publishing



TARGET AGE: 13 and above

ISBN: 973-0-9824526-0-8

AVAILABLE FOR ORDER: Amazon, Bernard Books

Review: Carlotta Ikedi has never enjoyed being in school. She did not do well in San Fransisco. Her family moved to Oklahoma but her studying did not work there either. Her parents, Richard and Shelley, are desperate. Suddenly Richard gets an idea which chances Carlotta's life completely. Soon Carlotta notices she is in a trap. A trip to Nigeria with her mother turns into a nightmare when she learns that her parents are going to put her into a boarding school which is in there, Nigeria.

The girls only boarding school FGGC Uddah is like a weird planet for Carlotta. The strict school rules and regulations, rising bell, lights-out, manual labor, inspections, dining time, prefects, punishments, mean bunkmates and visiting days soon become the center of Carlotta's attention. With time she learns the traditions of the school, gets new friends and even starts to enjoy her time in FGGC Uddah.

Back in USA things are not going well between Carlotta's parents. Shelley fights to the last bit to save her marriage but understands that maybe fighting isn't enough and eventually kicks Richard out of her life. Suddenly they both notice they are in a middle of organized crime and that all they can do is to do exactly what they are told to to make sure that nothing happens to their daughter.

My take of the book: The whole book is well researched. The author took influence from her background, friends and experiences in Nigeria which is visible in the whole story. The author really brings up the cultural traditions, foods and people of Nigeria. Reading this book was like travelling to Nigeria and really experiencing all those things Carlotta does. I loved the international feeling of the book and I loved to learn something about a totally new culture to me.

I must admit that I almost gave up with this book. The first 100 pages go on really slow and I felt like the story does not develop at all. Finally when Carlotta gets to FGGC Uddah the story starts to speed up and gets really interesting. I think that the only major minus of this book is the whole organized crime thing. It is in the shadows of everything else and I feel like the story does not need it to be exciting. Luckily it is only a minor part of the story so I did not bother that much.
I want to thank Bernard Books Publishing for sending me the review copy of Feddie Girl.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Book Review: Pretty Face by Mary Hogan

Hayley- A girl with a pretty face.
That is what she has always been.
She is witty, funny and she has a great sense of humor but someway the boys just don't see her as a potential girlfriend canditate.
They just see her as a friend.
And Hayley is more than sick of that.

Hayley is not like "ordinary" girls in Santa Monica, California. She does not fit to the scene with the all blond, super skinny California girls. She is a little fat, not much, but just the way that putting a bikini on and going to the beach sounds like the worst nightmare ever.

At the end of the school year everything starts to go wrong. Drew, a guy Hayley has liked for a long time, sees Hayley just as a friend and tells her that he is interested about Hayley's BFF. Hayley's mother is weight obsessed and keeps feeding tofu and other healthy stuff to her family. She pushes Hayley about her weight constantly and Hayley feels bad all the time. When she hears that her parents are going to send her to Italy for the whole summer she first thinks that is is just a bad joke.

At Italy Hayley opens her eyes to a totally different world. There being curvy is seen beautiful. There people enjoy eating and pasta and pizza are not seen as creations of the evil. Hayley starts to see herself in a whole new light. When she feels confident about herself she understands that maybe not is the time for the true love. She even has a hot Italian guy in her mind... someone who sees a lot more than just a pretty face.

I really was able to identify with Hayley. When I was 16 I left my home for 10 MONTHS and started to see myself in a whole new light. I fell in love with a guy who is so amazing and I still miss him more than anything. Those 10 months away from home educated me so much. I got to know myself so much better. I became a lot more independent, I knew that I was able to do some things alone. I think that my decision to leave home at that point was the best decision I've ever made.

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games and its sequel, Catching Fire, are all over the book blogs. Book bloggers are praise these books and the books have gotten great reviews. I had never heard of Suzanne Collins or these books but after following the book reviews I decided I also have to give a try to these books. I was really suprised that the local library had an English copy of the Hunger Games. I loaned it and read it in two days... it was as good as all the reviews promised.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen lives in the District 12. District 12 is one of the districts of the nation called Panem which lies on the ruins of North America. Capitol is the place which rules all these districts, the glorious center of the Panem. The Capitol is cruel and rules the districts harshy by forcing them to send one boy and one girl between the ages 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games. Hunger Games is a reality TV show where the kids are sent to an game area. The only way they can win is to kill others. There is only one winner-- the fighter who stays alive.

Katniss lives with her mother and younger sister Prim. After her father's death she has been the one taking care of the family. She hunts and gathers food and makes sure everything is going well. When the whole population of district 12 gathers to hear the names of the new Hunger Games fighters, Katniss has to make a decision which will chance her life completely. When her sister's name is called she takes Prim's place at the games and becomes the female tribute of the District Twelve. The fact that the male tribute, Peeta, is a guy who helped her a long time ago, does not help her at all. She knows that eventually she might have to kill him.

Without really meaning to, Katniss becomes the favorite of the public. But if she is really to win she has to start to make decisions that weight survival against humanity and life against love.

The whole book is filled with tension and excitement. You just have to keep reading-- putting down the book is extremely hard. The Hunger Games has all the elements of a great book: likeable heroine, great plot, good and bad guys, some love, action, adventure and a conclusion which makes you think... and want to read the second book, Catching Fire.

As I recently read 'Fight Club' by Chuch Palahniuk I must say that I someway see The Hunger Games as a 'teenage edition of the Fight Club'. The books inself don't have that much in common but the fighting theme is the same. I read from somewhere that there is going to be a movie about this book. I am really curious to see how they do it, because the book is really violent but also meant for young adults. So obviously the movie cannot be rated R. It is interesting to see how they will bring all the violence of the book for the eyes of the teenagers.