The Vengeful Polyglot

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

This is yet another book I picked up because I felt I thought the movie sounded interesting and I just can’t see the movie before I read the book (that is just not how my mother raised me). Set in Jackson Mississippi in 1962, the story switches between three PoVs: Skeeter, a young white woman who aims to write a tell-all book about the stories of how black maids are treated by their white employers, and the two maids who first risk their livelihoods and personal safety in helping her out, Aibileen and Minny. I won’t waste anyone’s time on summary — either you’ve seen the movie trailer or looked at the back cover, or you can just as well on Amazon.

The writing is well done, in general. The plot is well-structured, and the author captures the tension between the races, especially at the climax, quite well. It’s also a quick read, even though the book looks fairly meaty — I started it yesterday and finished it today. The first thing you notice is that while the two maids’s characters are excellently fleshed out and their voices are distinct and lovely, their sections are written in an obvious dialect. I’m someone who is easily off-put by accents in books unless it’s done unusually well. I find it to be a distraction. This, unfortunately, wasn’t entirely an exception.

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Are there people out there who only read one book at a time? I’m just kind of curious, because I don’t think there’s ever been a prolonged period in my life where I’ve been in the midst of fewer than four or five books. I usually have around that many that I’m actively reading — usually I’m also in the middle of somewhere between 5-10 more which I’ve put on hiatus for various reasons (left them at home, lent them out, got bored or creeped out) but intend to pick back up again once my queue opens up.

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I think everyone has a few key issues in their life on which their opinions will never change. Maybe it’s the existence of God, or your political affiliation (though having gone to college, I’ve seen a lot of people change such “immutable” opinions every other week). Maybe you love Carl Sagan, and really think that if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you first have to invent the universe. For me, it’s that books will always be better than their film adaptations. Any book. Any film. I’m more than happy to debate heavy issues, like politics or religion (well… maybe not “more than happy”), and I’m fairly competitive so I tend to get really invested in arguments like that. But you’ll never see me more snotty than when someone mentions a new movie coming out and I turn up my nose and say, “Well, but it won’t be better than the book.”

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Blog by a programmer cum linguist cum writer cum total geek. One who pretentiously uses "cum" in place of any other logical connectives. Direct questions to the Ask Lauren page!

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