Friday, June 29, 2007

The Speed of Dark & Fun Home--Two Book Reviews

Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark was a really interesting read about an autistic man, Lou, and his quest to understand his diagnosis and his relationship to the "normal" world. What was compelling to me was the similarities drawn between autism and "normal"--seriously I sometimes thought I could be diagnosed as autistic. My favorite chapter dealt with Lou and his reflections on his church and how God sees him.

My not so favorite things were the ending of this novel, which is a little too perfect for my taste. Also, the notion in the title "the speed of dark" (and light) was referred to way too much in the novel. I felt like I was being hit aside the head each time it was mention--let me rephrase that, each 10 times in every chapter it was mentioned.

I think this book definitely would appeal to those interested in autism, moral dilemmas, and the potential of science in the future as well as those interested in reflecting on what is "normal" in society, which, according this novel and my point of view is a very skewed and really close-minded notion.

I'd give it 3 1/2 Hello Kittys. That repetition of light and dark really ticked me off.


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is a fantastic graphic novel. The story line is for bookies who especially love Fitzgerald, Wilde, and Joyce. Bechdel does a great job of paying homage to these big dogs and threading them into a contemporary storyline that attempts to come to terms with Bechdel's sexuality and her relationship with her deceased father.

This memoir is riveting in its honesty, intellect, and emotion. Where I think sometimes graphic novels rely too much on the graphics and not enough on the language, Bechdel's narrative is just as strong if not stronger than the illustrations. Her power with language and unwavering ability to connect with literary texts upped the ante for other graphic novelists to focus just as much on the writing as the illustration frames.

I adored Fun Home, but the only drawback was that, at times, it was almost too literary. Sometimes I wanted more personal--I felt like Bechdel sometimes hid behind the literary to get out of the personal.

Regardless, it's a fabulous read!

4 Hello Kittys.

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