Tuesday, April 2, 2013
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an interesting, addictive read. Another Hunger Games spin off, but very well executed. This society is based on 5 “factions” that basically focus on one (and only one) character trait. Anyone who doesn’t fit into these categories ends up factionless and lives like a rejected hobo. I was mentally fighting the concept from the very beginning because I know I would never fit. But I guess that’s when you know you have a dystopia on your hands. It was fun to read along as characters began to question the arrangement.
I’ve already read the next book. I couldn’t stop reading long enough to write this review before going on to the next book. Both books are certainly life-suckers. You’re not good for much until you have them finished!
Certainly plenty of violence. I’m not sure if I would say it has the same amount of violence as Hunger Games or if I would have to say there is more.
Language: I don’t remember any swearing except for the occasional taking the Lord’s name in vain. I love it when an author can convey the mood or meaning without having to resort to swearing! Besides, realistically the words considered swearing probably could have changed by then.
Sexual content: There’s plenty of kissing and clinging in this book, but our main character has a fear of intimacy that keeps things from getting too out of control.
Friday, March 29, 2013
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn’t know what this book was about when I picked it up. I like to find out just enough about a book to know I want to read it and then forget all that info before I get around to picking up the book. The first sentence sucked me in. It says, “It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.” What a cool concept! The catch is that the cure (brain surgery) can’t be administered before 18 years of age for it to be safe. So they have a bunch of teenagers running around being told not to fall in love. Imagine how that works out for them.
As a Hunger Games spin off, I found this book really interesting. It felt like it was directed toward a lower reading level just because it was more predictable than Hunger Games. That being said, it wasn’t completely lacking in surprises. The end was not exactly what I expected. I enjoyed this enough to read the next book. We’ll see where it takes me.
Content (stuff I might want to remember when my kids are teenagers and want to read this):
Language: There is some swearing sprinkled throughout, but it isn’t profuse. I would say it’s about the same as a PG-13 movie, but I think there were two F-bombs in there. Pretty light on the swearing, although I think any author is limited if they have to include it at all.
Violence: About the same level of violence you would find in the Hunger Games except not as often. Namely, people clubbing people over the head, shooting, and dogs biting at people.
Chastity (or lack of): The two love birds do plenty of kissing, and they spend the night together several times. I’m pretty sure they just slept the nights they spent together unless I blocked out some hint in there. There is one time when she decides to take her top off and let him admire in awe and wonder. Personally, I’m not thrilled with the influence this book could have on teenagers in relation to chastity.
It should also be mentioned that the main character and her friends have to lie to their parents/guardians on a regular basis, sneak out, and basically reject all that they’ve been taught. It’s understandable in the situation, but is there an underlying message that it’s okay to lie to your parents if you think they’re clueless and love is more important?
Monday, March 4, 2013
Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hmmmm, I have to say I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I was given this book when my 1st child was a baby, and I remember reading it and thinking so much of it made sense. When I saw other parents doing things love and logic warns against, such as counting to 3, I felt like I was so much smarter than them. I wasn't going to adopt the Fays' practices in entirety, but I thought it was a useful guide. I had it all figured out. My kid would be so great.
Fast forward 7 years and add 2 more kids, all of them great. I've been telling myself for a while that I need to go back and reread this book, mainly because my 4 year old has really been pushing limits. I know the Fays say it’s a mistake to say your child is going through a phase, but age 3 and 4 are a pretty rough phase. That doesn’t excuse it, and I realize that something has to be done to change it. Reading the book for the second time with more real-life parenting experience, I wanted to chuck the book across the room most of the time I was reading it. There are so many aspects of it that are just not realistic! Sure, I have loads of friends who want to drop everything in their life just to hang out in a grocery store parking lot just in case my kids act up in the store! Sure, if I let my child stay up all night at a sleepover and then send them on a sleepover encouraging them to do it again, they'll decide not to because last time they got too tired. Oh, and sure, teaching my child that lesson will TOTALLY be worth it because it's not like they'll make my life miserable the whole day following while they are exhausted. And if you can't tell, I'm dripping with sarcasm here!
I just don't understand how giving a child choices all day long is supposed to shut them up when you say it's your turn to make a choice about putting them to bed. That might work for 10 seconds on my kids before they start complaining or popping out of bed for random reasons. It really bugged me that they didn't even consider the possibility of kids acting up after that assertion that it's the parent's turn to make a choice. What do we do after that when the kids turn on the light and start jumping on the bed? What besides sing Uh-Oh do we do? Tell me that, Mr. Fay!
I agree with some of the other reviews that said they found it annoying how dramatically the Fays push their method. They make it sound like all children who aren't raised with L&L will end up in jail.
All that being said, there are some helpful tips and methods found in this book. They just have to be sorted out from some of the other unrealistic stuff. I realize that I already use a lot of Love and Logic in my own parenting, I just haven’t acknowledged it all the time. I wouldn't discourage others from reading this book, but I would say to take it with a grain of salt.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Right now, I struggle with coming up with consequences that fit the infraction. I feel like I’m not creative enough. It doesn’t help that my 4 year old is untouchable. No punishment seems to get to her. Put her in time-out: she doesn’t seem to care. Take away toys: she says, “Here, I don’t want this one either.” Take away privileges: she shrugs it off.
What’s your biggest parenting struggle?
Sunday, February 24, 2013
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this classic. For some reason, I didn't read it in school as so many other people seem to have done. I always meant to get around to reading it.
I did hit a slump in the beginning of the book. I got started reading it and then had to hurry and read a book for book club. The Secret Garden got put on the backburner, and it took me a long time to pick it up again. I was a little disappointed at first because I wanted it to be a book my 7yr old daughter could read. While it was easily appropriate for her, I thought the Yorkshire dialect used in the dialogue would be too challenging. I found it awkward myself, and it might have been the reason I set the book aside for so long.
But I'm glad I returned to it. The book was very enjoyable. I found it reminded me of a younger charactered version of The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Straton-Porter. The story has a lot of heart. I'm not a gardener myself, but I found the love of nature and the fascination with the garden and its creatures to be quite infectious.
I was a little wary when there was so much talk of magic as the cause of things, but I realize the book is about children. We all want to believe in magic when we are kids, don't we? I liked what Susan Sowerby (Dickon's mother) said when asked if she believed in magic. "'That I do, lad,' she answered. 'I never knowed it by that name but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany . . . Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it -- an' call it what tha' likes.'"
Whoops, I forgot to mention in the review that I read a few snippets to my 7yr old, and she really enjoyed it. I decided this book would make a great read-aloud. She thinks she’s ready to read it on her own, but I think she would lose interest trying to get through all the dialogue. She doesn’t always follow through with finishing her chapter books, especially the long ones.
Right now, we are reading Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. My kids have never seen the movie, and I’ve promised a movie night once we finish the book. I’m having a hard time keeping up with reading our chapter books out loud because my 4yr old (who I am trying to get more interested in reading) doesn’t want to listen to chapter books. She prefers picture books—and books about spiders—go figure! Anyone have any tips on how to use our family reading time in a way that I can satisfy both preferences?