Category: Review

Tattletale

Author: Sarah J Naughton
336 pages in Kindle

Published: March 23, 2017
Dates Read: March 13-31, 2017

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:

For fans of Disclaimer and I Let You Go, Tattletale is the debut psychological thriller you can’t miss.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who believed in fairytales. Now she is out to get your happy ending.

One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.

One day changes Mags’ life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind.

But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit…

My Review:

As I started Tattletale, I was pulled into it from the beginning. There is some confusion as it just takes off without explanation as to what is happening, but you figure it out as you continue reading. Once you realize who the main cast of characters is, Tattletale gets easier to follow.

The characters that you need to know are:
Abe- in the hospital
Jody- Abe’s fiancé
Mags- Abe’s sister
Mira- Abe and Jody’s neighbor

I wanted to like Tattletale. The description intrigued me but the novel just wasn’t for me. Tattletale has multiple points of view, which I enjoy and those come from Mags, Jody and Mira. Also in the chapters are flashbacks of Abe, Mags, and Jody’s lives, which are relevant to the story.

***Be warned that there are graphic scenes of child abuse and also sexual assault in this novel.

I think novels with unreliable narrators may not be for me. I have had some that I have enjoyed and others not so much. You have no idea whose side to believe in Tattletale, which I applaud Sarah J Naughton for. I sadly found myself not attached to any of the characters. Mags was not likeable at all for me, I did begin to feel some sympathy for Jody as the novel progressed, I wanted to know more about Mira and her life, but the one character I would have loved to hear about and get to know was Abe, whom unfortunately we are unable to do.

I struggled around the halfway mark but continued, but then I almost gave up with Tattletale at 82%. What kept me going was the curiosity as to what exactly happened to Abe. It was good that I decided to continue as when I reach 85% then the novel went somewhere for me. From this point on I didn’t want to put Tattletale down. It goes in a direction that I did not see coming and I had no idea what was going to happen. Things do get unbelievable and unrealistic towards the end. I can’t really say why without revealing some spoilers.

Even though Tattletale was not for me I would be willing to read another of Sarah J Naughton’s books in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and TBConFB for my copy.

I Must Say Review (and Happy Birthday to Martin Short)

Author: Martin Short
AUDIOBOOK

Published: November 4, 2014
Dates Read: March 15-25, 2017

My Rating: 4 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:

In this engaging memoir, written with heart, wisdom, and a huge helping of hilarity, Martin Short shares stories of his life, revealing how a Canadian kid obsessed with American show business became the comedian s comedian (“Vanity Fair”).

Martin Short is one of few celebrities in show business who has continually worked hard, found success, and maintained a normal, happy family life. His memoir is a reflection on his diverse collection of experiences, both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Short takes us through his career, from his early years with Second City Toronto and “Saturday Night Live” to his movie, stage, and television stardom. He recalls how he developed some of his enduring characters manic man-child Ed Grimley, elderly Tin Pan Alley songmith Irving Cohen, slimy lawyer Nathan Thurm, and the blubbery and bizarrely insensitive Jiminy Glick. Here, too, are his movie and television appearances, from the classic ” Three Amigos!” to his Emmy-nominated role in “Damages,” as well as his stage productions, including his Tony Award winning performance in “Little Me.” Throughout, such friends and luminaries as Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Lorne Michaels, Nora Ephron, Frank Sinatra, and others share the spotlight.

This deeply private man brings us into the circle of his family life, from raising his children to the legendary parties he and his wife hosted in their Los Angeles home. He recounts the pain of losing a brother and both parents by the time he was twenty and of the devastating death of Nancy, his wife of thirty years, in 2010. Despite the hardships, Short s life has been full of laughter, and he remains perennially upbeat. In this wise and entertaining memoir, he shares his irrepressible joy.”

My Review:

I listened to I Must Say in the audiobook format, which I highly recommend!  Martin Short narrates I Must Say himself. I will go into why I say to listen to it versus reading the memoir later in this review.

I Must Say is Martin Short’s memoir and he has definitely had a life so far!  He was born March 26th, 1950 in Canada (Happy Birthday today Martin Short!). From the beginning of his life you can see that he was always meant to be in the entertainment industry. He would tape record family arguments/ conversations as well as recording himself.  Despite most people believing he is Jewish, Short is actually Catholic, but was surrounded by Jewish friends and neighbors.

Martin suffered a lot of loss in his early life: He lost his older brother to a car accident when he was just twelve and by the time he was twenty he had lost both parents.  These losses greatly affected him.  He became friends with Eugene Levy, who was responsible for Martin getting into Hollywood.  Martin gave himself one year to try out show business. We all know how that turned out!

Martin goes through this career from early days to current as of him writing this memoir.  He goes into abundant details. He becomes friends with many Hollywood A-List celebrities and he mentions them all. At times the constant mentioning did feel like name dropping, but If I knew Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Kurt Russell, and more I would also mention those names!   He talks about his relationship with Gilda Radnor whom he dated for a few years before he dated his wife Nancy Dolman.   You  get a feel of what the Hollywood lifestyle is like as Martin describes with language the sex, drugs, and even rock-and-roll (Yes, he met George Harrison once).

Martin married Nancy on December 22, 1980 and they were married for almost 30 years until her death on August 21, 2010. You get the sense of how much he loved Nancy and still does today. Towards the end of the book when Martin is describing Nancy’s battle with cancer you can hear in his voice the emotion he still feels of this time in his life.  It is very touching and you can’t help but tear up listening to it. You can tell how much he still loves his wife today.

There are many reasons I recommend the audio version of this book. Again, Short himself narrates his memoir.  Who better to read your memoir than yourself?  His characters he is most famous for also make appearances in the audiobook. Hearing those characters’ voices makes the listener laugh as it is very enjoyable. Short does some singing as well and there is a piano accompaniment.  He also does impersonations of his friends very well.

I grew up knowing him best from Innerspace and also Father of the Bride, so I really enjoyed the memoir when he was talking about those movies. I learned a lot about Martin that I did not know.  For me, in some instances in the book he is giving too much detail into his life and some parts were a bit TMI (To Much Information). Some parts of the audiobook tended to drag on and I found myself tuning out at times.

Despite a few issues I had with the memoir, I highly recommend the audio version of I Must Say. It is worth listening to for hearing his characters and impressions alone!

[Top]

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon
AUDIOBOOK

Published: July 31, 2003
Dates Read:  March 7-14, 2017

My Rating: 5 stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher’s mind.

And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon’s choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.

Review:

Christopher is our narrator for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. For the rest of the review it will be referenced as The Curious Incident. Though not mentioned by name in the novel, Christopher has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. He is fifteen and one day he finds his neighbor’s dog has been killed. The Curious Incident is his journey to find the dog’s killer, but it becomes much more than that: It is a tale of a boy trying to find his place in our very complicated world.

Mark Haddon used to work with autistic individuals and his writing perfectly shows us how a person with Asperger’s may think. Haddon really gets us inside Christopher’s head. I became fully involved in the journey and was with Christoper every step of the way.

I chose to read this book as it is next in a book club I have joined. Since my reading list is very full I had to listen to it on CD versus actually reading it. This review is for the audio version. I knew there were pictures throughout the novel, so I was prepared to get the actual book as well. I was worried I might miss something by not seeing the pictures. The narrator did a great job in his narration and I do not feel that I missed anything by listening to the audio version. I was actually able to get a copy of The Curious Incident at my local library book sale, so I was able to see what the pictures looked like in the novel.

One thing I was confused about as I started listening to the CD were the chapters. The novel did not begin with chapter one. They are instead numbered differently with prime numbers. Once that was explained I was fine. At first I thought the first chapter was skipped in the CD I was listening to!

Some other things to keep in mind if you are going to read The Curious Incident. Christopher is very detail driven in his narration. At times it could be seen as if it was dragging on, but this is who Christopher is and he can’t help it. He is very literal in his thoughts and explanations. Math is mentioned a great deal in The Curious Incident. For those of us that are not mathematically inclined, this can seem to keep going like the Energizer Bunny.

Christopher also doesn’t like jokes as he can analyze them, but he doesn’t understand them. He is writing a book on his mission to find out who killed the neighbor’s dog, and he says the book will not be funny, but he is so literal in this thinking that at times he is funny without realizing it and you can’t help but giggle a time or two.

This was a very enjoyable read for me. It is a shorter novel around 220 pages that could be read very quickly, though it may not be for everyone. It seems The Curious Incident is either a love it or hate it kind of novel.

The Curious Incident is highly recommended.

[Top]