Tag: classic

Book Review: Asylum by William Johnston

Asylum
Author: William Johnston

Published: December 4, 1972
139 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Black magic, murder, and madness-most-bizarre stalk the tortured inmates of Dunsmoor, a mental institution in which life is a torment of horrors and death is the most desirable escape…ASYLUM, A New Experience in Heart-Stopping Terror!

Kim’s Review:

Again, is anyone surprised? I saw it and wanted it and read it! And it was fascinating! Now I do hate it when I say that I can’t say much because I don’t want to give anything away, but I don’t want to give anything away! At its most basic, this is a book filled with psychological twists and guess work and it felt like my opinions and rumination were all a part of the story. Overall, I liked this book almost as much as I like Shutter Island … and that’s saying something!

Purchase Link:
Amazon US

Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale
Series: The Handmaid’s Tale #1

Author: Margaret Atwood
First Published: 1985
314 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Kim’s Review:

What an intense read! Like Orwell and Bradbury, Atwood is great with the cautionary tales! It does take a little while to get going and figure out what is happening, but then it takes off! I realize that as a woman, my perspective is going to be different. Listening to Offred comparing her life in Gilead to her life during the Anarchy, I was terrified. Leaving abortion out of it (I’m not going to start a political fight, we all love each other too much to do that), all the rights and freedoms pulled from women are the kinds of things that we’re even seeing today for everyone! Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten nearly as far as Gilead, but like I said, Atwood is all about a cautionary tale. Is it as good as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451? I won’t say that. I’ll also say that maybe it could have used a little more action. However, it’s and engaging and scary read and I think the majority of Americans should read it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle

We Have Always Live in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Published: September 21, 1962
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Kim’s Review:

I decided to roll with my Shirley Jackson kick. I listened to this on audio and the narrator definitely did the story justice. Jackson has this way of setting a scene filled with tension and discomfort and questions. This story is rife with it all. Constance and Merrikat are the weirdos that urban legends are made of. Their family was murdered, Constance was the prime suspect, but acquitted, and now they live in their old family home alone with their Uncle Julian who spent the last decade of their lives trying to write a history of murders. The townspeople jeer and stare at Merrikat whenever she goes into town, but Constance will barely leave the house to go into the garden. Everything about this story is disturbing, but its very subtle.

I spent the whole book wondering about Merrikat. Is she mentally ill? Developmentally disabled? Who killed the family? And then the one scene where my blood boiled . . . But that’s a spoiler so I can’t say it. This is such a great example of Jackson’s iconic style and I think everybody should read it! Awesome story!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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