Book Review: Bad News

Bad NewsBad News by Edward St. Aubyn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After being totally enthralled with NEVER MIND, Edward St. Aubyn’s first book in THE PETER MELROSE NOVELS, I was underwhelmed with BAD NEWS, Book #2. That’s not to say that the writing was any less lyrical or impressive, rather the story about Peter learning of his father’s death and traveling to New York to pick up his ashes is one in which I was underwhelmed. Nearly the entirety of the book was trying to figure out Peter’s state of lucidity as he binged on alcohol and drugs. Understandably, Peter has been driven to this point by the difficult nature of trying to play the part of dutiful son and saving face in the midst of haughty society while managing his vile hatred for a man who abused and violated him as a young boy. However, there is little personal discovery or redemption for anyone - including the reader - who endures the self destructive rantings and behavior of a junky for 14 chapters. As I closed the book, all I could help thinking was “I hope Book 3 is more engaging like in Book 1 because I doubt Peter nor I could survive another one like BAD NEWS.”

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Book Review: In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

In the Skin of a LionIn the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A compelling story that had me hooked, but I was frustrated by Ondaatje’s writing style, which is often more poetry than prose. In some instances, this is beautiful from a pure literary sense, but it did nothing to help me with the urgency of wanting to have the story unfold. I also found the jumping around in time and from character to character jarring in an unpleasant way. I understand this is Onjdaatje’s style, but it is not one of my personal favorites. Five stars for the storyline and character development, but 2 stars (or less) for the ordering of the tale and the ghost-like quality of the language.

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