The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: A Book Review

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Along with her The Blind Assassin, this is one of the most convoluted and elaborate novels I have ever read. The story is too cloudy to understand that it requires your powers of concentration, especially if you are not analytical enough to grasp its complexity, the style I have proven Atwood bears the hallmark of.

Instead of analyzing it in a broader literary context with intellectual bravado since everyone can turn to Wikipedia, I’d rather review it in a manner of  what I found out in her writing styles: I’m envious of her skilled mastery for turning into beautiful prose her train of thoughts or whatsoever plays  in the figment of her imagination. Furthermore, she is an unfathomable female writer who can be as genius as any writers mostly celebrated in world literature.

This novel from the first pages to the last is strewn with vivid, beautiful, elegant, graceful, sumptuous sentences which I enjoyed reading rather than   gripping its main idea. The sentences are so lyrical that I chanted them again and again. They melt in my tongue like sweet, dark chocolate, or smell good like a garden,  full of a variety of colorful flowers hovered  above by a swarm of butterflies.

Under an unlikely scenario, if there were still such a world that men were superior to women over skills in writing stories or any literacy pieces, and Atwood were into such a literary show-off ,surrounded by supercilious writers looking down on her feminism, I bet my life that Atwood could dominate or catch up with them at any cost of literary bouts. Don’t dare her write one because this her The Handmaid’s Tale has proved me   wrong that there is something Atwood could make her rather genius. Her novels may appear complex, much more if she writes a simpler or more intricate one. In other words, there is nothing to find fault with her more; it’s crystal clear that she is an extraordinary writer. Roll down the red carpet and pay homage to Her Majesty.

Now, I freely  acknowledge that reading another Atwood’s books could be challenging since I have now the clearest idea of her writing style. Sometime in the future, if I have a great deal of time, perhaps when I reach my mid-life , no longer preoccupied with how to embellish my life with youthful experiences, hers would be one of those books I want to read again and again.As American musician and filmmaker, Frank Zappa put it , so many books, so little time to read.There are still thousands of  books in the world I haven’t read yet.

Also, the best course of technique I should use when I happen to read Atwood’s other books  and others books which have little resemblance to her style  would be a matter of full concentration ( regardless of  how poor my reading comprehension skill is .) Then, I will seat myself at a coffee table with a voluminous dictionary and colorful highlighters scattered around , par for the course in my reading repose. Ho-ho!

P.S . It is now being adapted for a TV series  broadcast live on  Hulu.

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

The Maze Runner by James Dashner: A Book Review

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I have never read a great deal of science fictions yet despite that   my major in psychology inculcated me in scientific schools of thoughts; I am more into books that have to do with philosophy, autobiography, politics, children’s life, agriculture, and history. The very first sci-fi that I read and eventually caused me to love this genre is The Martian by Andy Weir. After that, I failed to try another one, for there are too many books  lying around to read.

I got the good chance to read one when my student decided to read it in my reading class. I was exhilarated upon his book choice because this was one of the books I had wanted so much that I could not afford. He was the one who provided my own copy.Voila!

I first enjoyed it a whole a lot because the story is new to me. The settings are awfully fascinating: The people are trapped in the middle part of a mysterious and huge maze, and the challenge for them is how to get out of it by finding the exit. It is not about how to outwit or outplay one another. Kinda  survival of the fittest.  It is about testing who is cut out to be the maze runners   to solve the puzzle . In addition, the gargantuan   walls of the maze are so monumentally impressive and indescribable. Imagining them while reading sent  a chill   through my spine. I would even feel like jumping to my feet whenever I imaginarily heard the echolalia of the Grievers , the  bionic monster created to sting whoever dares to find the exit, and the  heavenly roar of the gates when they close  after twilight. As a matter of fact, what I liked most of the setting is that the characters have been living in the dead center of the maze, a wide  community which is called Glade, where everyone has access to everything they need. Eventually, I came to understand that the concept of this story is about experimentation on how humans can be used in  saving humanity.  For instance,  the  Flare  ,with its  deadly consequences like the contagious disease  , which is the cause of  human and earthly  destruction.

However, little did I realize that there seems to be something wrong with it; it is misleading and mesmerizing.  I forgot that what I look for in a book is consistency. Is the concept realistic or   conceivable?  Is there something   readers might miss  while being rendered amazed at it?  The answer could be yes because the story shows that   the earth is in a dystopian and ultramodern era or   no because it is unimaginable for a science ignoramus like me to believe that the Sun could be the reason for a  widespread viral disease. Perhaps, James Dashner   did not justify the ideal scene of  what he really wanted to paint a picture of. Take the movie   Elysium for instance ,written and directed by Neil Blomkamp and starred in by Matt Damon. It perfectly  depicts a dystopian world.  Rather, Dashner  focused on the maze itself.  Besides, it  occurred to me  that  he may have thought the trick would do that the reader would not realize that  the Gladers could  make a bigger difference   than  finding  the exit in the maze   by using their  mind  power inventing  something to fly out of the place  just the like of a parachute. What do you think?  So what happens is that   the reader only focuses on the book title: The Maze Runner. The characters are all absorbed in the idea of getting out of the   maze. I know  that you may contradict my  hypothesis because I  was even surprised to find out  that the maze  must be massive. It is even ridiculous of  me to suggest that the Gladers could have tried the  famous  suicidal game Angry Bird where the  Angry Birds use a huge, wooden slingshot  to pull themselves away.(laughs)

Despite my literary musings,  I can’t deny that the book has still considerable impact on me. First, it is   page turning. I only concentrated on the mission of the runners. Second, it is head- bashing. I had to think of answering the why’s in my mind. What is the purpose of  putting the people in the maze? Why  most of the characters are male? How did they survive the maze without sexual needs for two years? I wonder if there is such an  intimate relationship developed among them ? Pardon my prurient question! ( laughs) Finally, the ending is heart-breaking. I did not  expect that  there was such a thing,  tragic ending where readers have been attached to the brethren relationship between the two characters  all along  given the fact that obviously, it is a trick writers  usually use as a literary device – an old music that  still turned out to be marketable.

Like the other writers, it also took  Dashner   years  to finish it ,and was even  turned down by some publishers.I wonder what made them not to do so. Nevertheless, due to its sensational popularity and box-office movie adaptation,  Dashner should be grateful for gaining a toehold in writing its another sequels: The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order, and its coming-soon The Fever Code.  In fact, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure have also been adapted for movies. Huwaw!  Congratulations, Mr. Dashner!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

The BFG by Roald Dahl:A Book Review

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Oompa-loompa, everlasting gobstopper, snozzberry, whangdoodles, hornswogglers, snozzwangers, vermicious knids, scrumdiddlyyumptious, eggdicator: These are some of the examples of the wonderful words  in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that Google helped me jog my memory about, my first experience in  discovering Roald Dahl’s leanings for inventing new nonsensical words. At that time, I had to turn to a stack of different dictionaries in my house , or to the internet as the last straw to grasp their meanings. I wonder if native speakers who have read it have the same cognitive trepidation.

 The BFG , short for The Best Friendly Giant , is  another one  I was boggled at.  It is definitely   more rabid than the former one in that I almost wanted to toss it up in the air. It is riddled with many, many  nonsensical  words Dahl coined himself. My student and I since   it was part of our reading class called it TGL short for The Giant Language. Thus, the biggest challenge for us was how to understand it   because we are not native speakers . Our knowledge of English   vocabulary is limited.  In this case, we just try to guess with the context  clues  hidden  not anything but near the other sentences,  or as usual  with  my  comrade in time of   nasal hemorrhage  or  with a dictionary app  installed in our android phones.  However, most of the time, we just skipped them , for in doing so was a waste of time.

For  the newbie, to understand what I have been blabbering about, try to guess the meanings of the  following words  and  sentences.

Buckswashling

“Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!”

“Delumptious fizzy frobscottle…”

Gruncious

Hopscotchy

Propsposterous

Rotsome

Sqiubbling

“I cannot be squibbling the whole gropefluncking dream on a titchy bit of paper.”

You will be coming to an ucky-mucky end if any of them should ever be getting his gogglers upon you.”

“How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! l is all of a stutter.”

To  the  readers who have read it, you may be pleasantly  squinting at the words  until now.  For me,  my favorite words  that my student and I made fun of were “ I watch telly telly bumkin box”, and “ scrumdiddylicious” which was also spoken in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ^^

If you are such a logophile, maniac for  patting  down  all the words  in the book, you could  serve as  an interpreter  for  TGL.

Apparently, the   nonsensical words are the mainspring of having a hard time enjoying it to bits as to what I went through in Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Such literary device   may deaden or spice up   the excitement of the story depending on the   taste of the reader. In a metaphorical situation, I was like a stranger, lost in a lost world, fear-stricken of the thought that I would not be able to get back to where I came from because of the strange things, needless to say TGL , I had to be inured to until I was part of this “disgusterous, sickable, and rotsome” world of the giants.  But the truth is I don’t want to enter this story anymore, especially during witching hour: I am scared to have met the giants and talked to them in their language anymore; it would just put me in a nose bleeding and bone-crunching position.

Despite that the world I entered is creepily “disgusterous”, I found it amusing because of The BFG. He is such a naive but amusing character. I was like Sophia, the main character , enjoying his company because of  his funny hobbies and stories. I would hate but try eating his favorite food “snozzcumbers” which taste is beyond recognition. I would for sure enjoy his ejaculatory whizzpopper, a drink resembling a soda drink, but equivalent to farting reaction in our world.  I would not get tired of his thousand jars of dream collections. I would be fascinated by his elongated ears which have the ability to listen to sounds  a million times  far  away, and could serve as a hideout for  a small human bean  from human-bean eaters. Indeed, The BFG is not a giant everyone should be intimated by.

If I survived the world of the giants in that I was neither crunched nor gorged on , I would not just bear in mind the memories I spent with the BFG but also his sophisticated character. You might not realize that the BFG   has a literary symbol. For me, he is the anathema of the desire to change the old ways. Little did I realize that Dahl may have suggested that his story is about civilization and barbarism.Only the BFG has the willingness to be weaned on the currently revolutionary life , keeping behind the   old ways of the other giants. He exerts a lot of effort to educate himself by reading books, especially Charles Dickens’ works. Likewise, he does not want to eat human beans because of his “civilized conscience.” As a matter of fact, the story  indicates  that we can learn break our  uncivilized habits  like what happened to The BFG and other giants who have eventually been taught to lead the life civilized  people do. Now, this could be a question for a social science scholar: Is civilization a learned development?

The BFG is another book to reduce me to awe for Dahl’s mastery in storytelling although I am now at the stage of cognitive development when everything is no longer beyond a child’s understanding. Rather, I can cringe at the juvenile and puerile stories because such things can be deduced with logical explanations. However, I reckoned that we are dictated by society when we should act our age. In other words, there is no limitation to what books a reader should   read.  Thus, Roald Dahl is now my favorite children book writer. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

 

 

Matilda by Roald Dahl: A Book Review

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I got the chance to finish Matilda by Roald Dahl on a  busy Sunday since all the Filipinos, including my family, were   preparing for the New Year’s Eve. I was just curling up with it at a bamboo chair in our living room, catatonic to the people bustling around. My absorption and enthrallment in it may have been so deafening to them, or they may have been intrigued   by  why I made different facial reactions whenever I turned the next pages. Then, it occurred to me that I had an important appointment with my best friend! But it was still past 2 O clock. Relief flooded over me and I kept at it. When it was already 4 O clock , I was on the verge of the last pages, but I was agitated.  I really had to go. She must have been waiting for me for minutes on end.  I dismissed   this guilty feeling, apathetic to whatever comeuppance I might get. Bahala na si Batman!

When I finished it, I blurted out ,“ I WANNA READ ANOTHER ROALD DAHL’s BOOKS!!!”  My younger sister and her friends who happened to have been playing in front of me gawked at me in surprise. I found myself clasping   my hands and   turning my head up. It was a childish and silly moment.

Although I have read some Roald Dahl’s books, I still was not his big fan. By golly, it has just occurred to me now that the only children book author I look up to and consider as my favorite one is Genaro Gojo Cruz, my countryman writer. Gee! I see. Anyway, I first read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory upon being fascinated by its movie adaptation. I liked the book so much because of the “psychological character” of Mr. Wonka played by award –winning Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. Thereafter, I wanted another one. However, I was disappointed when I read Charlie and the Glass Elevator because of its only-elementary-students-would-appreciate impact.  After all, I was anything but childish. Nevertheless, I still hung in there. I read and enjoyed Boy: Tales of Childhood . It’s not a fantasy, but a memoir of his childhood. The laconic  account of his miserable  but mischievous  childhood’s education  drove me nuts, reminding me of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. However, I was not falling in love with Dahl yet. In fact, I gave one of his  short story  The   Landlady a very low rating . I was no longer  interested  in his other stories given that I had planned to have Roald-Dahl-stories marathon, except my hidden desire for  Matilda and The BFG. As you know, I could not afford such books yet.

In light of Matilda, I now consider Roald Dahl as one of my favorite   children books writers. I enjoyed it a whole a lot. First, I loved her character as a precocious child. I am pretty sure that even book worms out there would be exhilarated by her early interest in reading books, especially that she even read the adults ones which are supposed to be heavy for  a young reader whose  IQ  is still underdeveloped. Thus, I am ashamed to say that I did not have the chance to read the books at early age  such as The Secret GardenGreat ExpectationsNicholas NicklebyOliver TwistJane EyrePride and PrejudiceTess of the d’UrbervillesGone to EarthKimThe Invisible ManThe Old Man and the SeaThe Sound and the FuryThe Grapes of WrathThe Good CompanionsBrighton RockAnimal FarmMoby DickIvanhoeThe Red Pony and Peter and Wendy.

The most exciting part about the book is Matilda’s tricks. Since she is a brilliant child, I  can’t wait to know the next situation on how she will play tricks on her apathetic dad, on  how she will engage in an argument with Mrs.  Trunchball, and on how she will help Ms. Jenny to get her house and money back by scaring  the living daylights out of her. It is a whodunit scene.

The book is worth reading because it is replete with moral lessons.For instance,  Matilda embodies intellectual humility granted that she is still innocent. It is our perception that a gifted child is supposed to have la di da attitude.

One of the things I have observed since I read Roald Dahl’s books is that most of his stories’ theme is about parents’ negligence   and wrong educational system. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Wonka psychologically paints a picture of being an orphan, his hidden desire to get a paternal attention. In Boy: The Tales of Childhood, Dahl recollects his school life when he went through his teachers’ ill-treatment. In Matilda, Matilda’s parents are not responsible for their kids, depicted as apathetic and lazy parents. They are not even aware of Matilda’s brilliance mind. Furthermore, they don’t teach them good values. Rather, they inculcate their kids in the essence of business competition. Matilda’s father is a crooked businessman whereas her mother prefers pulchritude to intelligence.  Fortunately, despite her young age, Matilda is smart and mature enough to understand what is good or bad. Also, she is sensible and sensitive to the people around her.   On the other hand, the book   describes the rotten education system   represented by Ms. Trunchball. In this case, Roald Dahl appears to have used the same rhetoric patterns. It seems that he deeply drew  most of his stories from poverty, some kind of Charles Dickens style.

Supposedly, Matilda was part of my reading class with my Korean student.  My student was so generous to fault that she bought   me my own copy. In fact, we came to terms that I should not read it on weekends,except in our class. However, I could not hold back the temptation. (laughs) Whoa! I still have this tinge of Roald-Dahlic excitement. (laughs)

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling: A Book Review

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A million thanks to my Santa Claus from the US 🙂

This may be a revelation to my Santa Claus who gifted me with it: I am not a certified fan of HP series. I could   have been  when it was initially released in 1997 or  adapted for a movie in 2001. I could have been one of those fanatics  burgeoned  around the world  mimicking  covens of wizards , waving our replicas of  magic wands while enchanting  the magic spells we memorize by heart, ostentatiously displaying our   black garbs  riding our brooms, or puzzled by how we should use the other magical objects.  But I never  am! Perhaps, I was mesmerized by my best friend ‘s  bewitching addiction to it. Whenever she grumbled about it  and shrieked in disappointment  or excitement without any ideas of her idiosyncrasy, a sparkle of curiosity  would linger in my mind. Whenever   she  was a spoiler  since I was not interested in it at all, I would not brush off the idea that it could be a good read. So, I made it!!! I read book 1, 2, and 3 even their movie series. As a matter of fact, I just borrowed them from her given that I was almost so kleptomaniac to claim them as mine. Thereafter, I quit keeping up with all the series; my urge to be part of the covens of wizards in Hogwarts caved in. I let myself be part of the “Muggle”, denied of the right  to be wriggled under  the Sorting Hat.

When  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released last year, I was one of those bookworms who pretended to be interested in it.  I was, but I threw doubt on it ;I was aware of the fact that I was a “Muggle “ . In fact, I even broke the news pell-mell to my friends on Facebook with my screenshot   from Goodreads as if I were such a certified HP fanatic.  Well, I was still excited I could hardly contain myself.

Since I could not afford  its price, I accidentally searched its free pdf on VK, one of the largest European online social networking services based in Russia.

The first questions that had bothered me before reading it were:

  • Can I understand the whole story although I have not read nor watched all the series yet?
  • Is it a sequel or prequel for the first Harry Potter series?
  • How does it differ from novelization since it is a screenplay?

Surprisingly speaking, I could totally relate to the whole story   because   I happened to read the first series and watch  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I swear that from the beginning to the ending, I committed the scenes and acts  to my memory. I can even recite it in a nutshell   now   if you ask me what the dickens this book is all about! But don’t expect me to do so with a photographic memory. I was not born to be a precocious child. (laughs) I did so when I ate lunch with my friend who is also a big fan of HP. I could not believe   my ears what I was telling him about. Voilà! The most interesting is that even the magical objects namedropped  are still fresh in my memory despite that I searched them on Google to beef up their imaginary pictures. Now, the question is : Would you still understand it if you have not read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yet?

The first comment   that had instilled in me when it was such a fever in the market was it was the prequel for the first Harry Potter series. I had been conditioned with this idea before I finally gave it  a hand. The revelation? It is a big NAH! I was fooled! I was made believed! I was disappointed! I was spoon-fed! What a shame! As the story went deeper, the feeling was like  knocking  the living daylights out of my gullibility. So, I dreaded reading the next stories to happen. I worried that I might not be able to understand it since I have not read all the series yet. But good grief! Thanks graciousness! The Harry Potter and The Goblin of Fire was my savior! Now, the next question is: Which one is supposed to be better, it were a prequel or sequel?

When The Harry Potter fanatics found out that   the book  turned out to be a screenplay, they  miffed.They may have not been used to reading Harry Potter series in a screenplay. They may have thought that they would not enjoy it; novelizing a story has a kaleidoscope of literary elements. Well, count me in them! Nevertheless, it is not that bad. Reading it is so light! You could finish it for one day. Believe you me! Alas, I read it for a week because my job steals my valuable reading time. Now my verdict: It could be more exciting if it had been novelized.

As far  as I remember, I quit reading fantasy books when I started studying psychology. My major taught me  that everything in the world happens for a logic . Then, I no longer believed in magic. For me then, fantasy could be contrary to the Natural Laws of the Universe. Rather, the only books I read were based on scientific and philosophical   discussions. However, when I was tempted to read the first Harry Potter series, I slid back to my childhood  , fascinated with all the mysteries in the universe. Such reaction must be the initial effect when anybody, regardless of age and religion, tends to get hooked on it. My co-teacher left behind The Harry Potter  can bear witness to this ; recently, he has watched its movie series and now he is playing  like a child imitating the wizards of the Hogwarts , casting a spell ,whatever comes to his mind, on whomever he meets by chance , just for fun! ^_^

Now I wish to read  all the series in 2017.( crossing fingers)

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson: A Book Review

 

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Reading another Marilynne Robinson’s work is another heavenly and fulfilling achievement. Her novels are arresting because they deal with family situations, imbued with suppressed  feelings we may relate to , conveyed in unconventionally recoiling ,but  creatively poetic prose- her writing style  which turns out to be acceptable  in literature.

For me, Robinson is one of the writers I have known so far whose prose is so powerful that I could be overwhelmed with the covert feelings. No wonder I had been looking for this novel for a long time. In fact, I don’t even brush off the idea of why Gilead  has been the pandemonium among literary readers on Goodreads whenever her name is being brought up. I wish to find it at an affordable price and in pristine condition.

Since her novels Home and  Lila had a great emotional impact on me , I have found that there seems to be preternatural effects while reading her work. I am not sure of her other works, but three of hers are enough to bear witness to my delusional claim. The hidden and adamant emotions tend to ooze out despite they are coated with her unorthodox or unconventional prose. Unorthodox or unconventional prose because Robinson writes sentences beyond literary rules. Compare hers with Irish writer Colm Tóibín‘s in his impressive The Master for instance. For this reason, reading her novels may appear to be hard, heavy, nose-and-brain bleeding except her Home because I was so into it and lost track of time, the springboard for my interest in reading another Robinson works. Thus, reading her works may require a matter of multi-tasking concentration. I wonder if native speakers get what I am jabbering about.  Nevertheless, I could feel the ghostly restricted atmosphere of the story: the gloominess, the sadness, the sense of loss, the joyfulness, the hatred, the desires – all the feelings that have   been harbored for a long time because of the past that should have been left behind the presence.

Housekeeping, aside from being in the Guardian’s 1001-Best- Novels-You-Must-Read-Before-You-Die list, is included by TIME magazine as one of 100 Best English-language Novels since 1923 to 2005. Lila and Home   have been added recently by the Guardian if I am not mistaken. Comparatively and subjectively speaking, Home is my favorite. I cried over it a lot. I felt the withered or dormant emotions Robinson wanted her readers to blow up. I felt the cathartic tears flowing down my cheeks. It was a therapeutic experience. The story is psychologically realistic after all. Besides, it really reminded me of my cold conflict with my father then. However, with respect to creativity, magical mastery for writing a novel, Lila and Housekeeping stand out. They have proven Robinson’s unparalleled, incomparable writing skills- her ability to dramatically animate the story despite it is covered with bricks of “suppressible” prose, and that is something I would say Robinson’s trademark. Gotcha?

The big challenge for me next time since Robinson is known for her heavy prose is how to finish her novel. I admit that it took me a few days before I managed to finish it given that it is not that as ambitious as her other works. I was like an adventurous book traveler lost in a chimerical book land trudging through different places to reach its revealing denouement. Good grief! I made it, but the experience is not traumatic. Rather, the proverb,” The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” popped into my mind, and I mustered enough courage to do so. There it is! Eureka! Marilynne Robinson is a gifted writer, indeed, someone all literary readers should celebrate about. So, count me in!!!

Ironically, Gilead ( 2004), Home (2008), and Lila ( 2014) are supposed to be a trilogy , but I first read Home and Lila consecutively. Housekeeping is Marilynne Robinson’s first novel.

When I reviewed Robinson’s Home before, I predicted that she would belong to my roller or  walk of favorite writers. It was like letting her first pass through the hole of my needle before she meets my standard. Taray! (laughs) However, after reading her Lila, her application for that is still pending. (Figuratively laughing) To put it bluntly, I have aversion to reading books dealing with religious convictions no matter how good they are. Apparently, most of Robinson’s novels are steeped in religion or faith. Who won’t forget Rev. James and Rev. Boughton? Ok fine! I am biased! (laughs) Nevertheless, Housekeeping is another stepping stone for me to explore Robinson’s great mind. I have learned that there is no such a perfectly standardized novel. What matters most is the deep connection between a reader and a story, and that’s something I will learn to practice on my writing styles. As what Virginia Woolf put it, “ A book has a soul.”

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

Pincher Martin by William Golding: A Book Review

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I included British writer William Golding in my favorite –writer list on Goodreads , along with one of America’s best novelists Toni Morrison andE. L. Doctorow , Dutch writer Ian McEwan, famous American educator Frank McCourt, one of America’s best essayists Richard Rodriguez ,one of the best Black American revolutionary writers Richard Wright, atheists Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens , and Filipino children writer Genaro Gojo Cruz.

His classic novel Lord of the Flies demonized me to ostentatiously display him up there. I don’t know how I ended up considering him as one of them. I just remember that the novel ‘s main characters broke my heart. I won’t forget Ralph, the boy who led the group but was outplayed and outwitted by the domineering Jack along with his adherents; Piggy, Ralph’s loyalist, the hero of the story who died of his principle for pacifism and unity; and Simon, the boy who was mistaken for a monster and eventually killed by Jack’s group. But I came to understand that I did not make a mistake after discovering that there is a deeper way of how to understand it in the context of politics. Thus, there is a reason why William Golding deserves to be celebrated as one of the best writers in the world of literature, and Pincher Martin is another testimony to this claim.

Pincher Martin bears little resemblance to his immortal and classic Lord of the Flies. Both novels bear on how to survive being a castaway on a far-off island. The only differences are that the former one focuses on one character while the latter one is on a group of children, young students in effect. Besides, the deeper lowdown on the former one on the one hand is on existentialism, individualism, objectivism- steeped in philosophical and psychological questions. The latter one, on the other hand, is on politics aptly portrayed by young characters.

Pincher Martin is a just a taciturn novel for me since it involves one character, apart from the other ones flashed back in the character’s memory. Reading it is like being a castaway, silent, putting yourself in his shoes, musing over the possible approaches to surviving the island. At first, I would feel the trauma and confusion about ending up in that uncivilized place until I woke up to the grim reality. However, as time passed by, I would come to the end of my wits that everything imaginable would fail, so all I would have to do is to beat my head against a stone and realize that the best way to survive is to use my intelligence, education , and training. At the same time, using the three necessary traits to survive, I would suffer from philosophical crisis in that I would doubt my existence on this planet. By the same token, out of physical and mental pains, I would be subject to psychological conditions like mirage or any forms of delusions.

Pincher Martin is another revelation for me that William Golding was such a skilled writer. In this novel, he showed the real quality of a gifted writer that writing a novel not only focuses on the characters’ papers they embody but also on the other perspectives. In this novel, Golding tried to paint another portray of being a castaway. He perfectly described what a castaway could be, being alone on an island. It is not just about how to survive but also how to help oneself get over the possible philosophical realizations one must face since no one is an island. However, Golding’s intention is not as conspicuous as his Lord of the Flies which I thought that I was just reading an adventure. The novel turns out to be deeper than its story. In other words, Pincher Martin, to put it bluntly, is like a brochure handed out by a flight attendant which will give you tips on what the possible things you might experience and do when you are a sole survivor. To make the brochure worth reading, it is inserted with beautiful quotes.

Admittedly, I had a hard time reading it despite that it is said to be lightly written. I guess what the book reviewers are referring to is its narration centering around Pinch Martin’s surviving scenes. But in terms of philosophical realizations, they are not at all. I am sorry. I am not that really smart. I am just a smart ass. Enough said, Joey!

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)