September 2012 Book Review
October 2, 2012
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
– This book should have been named, “The Good Repressed, Passive-Aggressive People!” The Good Earth is the story of a man and his relationship to the Earth and to his family in nineteenth century China. I enjoyed the book, although it was frustrating at times that the people in his family hardly ever talked directly to each other-I felt like they needed a recommendation to a good family therapist! It was also frustrating to read all the sexism-for example, when females are born they are referred to as slaves! The main character is an example of how the patriarchy hurts men too in that he does love his daughters and his wives, but he is too concerned with appearing unmanly and so has a very hard time expressing any of his love. I am concerned that the characters sometimes seemed as if they are only stereotypes, instead of deeply thought out characters. The book did win the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and enable Buck to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces,"
but I wonder if these “descriptions of peasant life” are colored by her white lens. I do think it is interesting that Buck was a huge champion for interracial adoption in a time when that topic was probably considered taboo.
The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner
– This was the book selected by my book group and I really liked it, but then I loved studying Modernism
in college. The book is told from the perspective of four members of the Compson family. The style of writing varies from person to person and ranges from stream of consciousness to a third person narrative. I liked how Faulkner played with those elements in order to give us a clearer vision of each person. I’ll go ahead and tell you that the title is taken from a soliloquy
in Macbeth. One of my fellow book club members’ thought that the book was way too dreary, but I didn’t mind watching the Compson family decline-it seemed fitting to me that a family that oppresses its women and Black workers should go into decline, with the women-except for the mother-running away to freedom, albeit an unhappy freedom, and the feeling that the Blacks are the ones who are really in control. The Compson family’s story is the story of the American South at the time, the Whites who had been so powerful before are going down without the free labor of slaves and both women and Blacks are quietly preparing for the revolutions that arrive in the 1950s and 60s. I liked it, but if you want a book where you don’t have to think, then the next book may be for you…
Once Upon a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
– What a boring book! It took over half of the book for the werewolf to appear and despite reading the whole book, I never really felt like anything happened. I don’t know why Schreiber’s books are so popular! Celeste is a popular high schooler who cares way too much about what her friends think. She falls in love with a boy from the wrong side of town and clichés abound. Ugh! There are even cheesy romantic scenes between her and a werewolf! I mean, come on. If you like Twilight, then maybe you’ll like this book. Maybe.