Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Broken Glass Park...and others

Broken Glass Park
I just finished reading Alina Bronsky's Broken Glass Park on my co-worker's recommendation.

While I didn't like it quite as much as he did, this book was well done and a very good read.

Seventeen year old Sascha is the narrator. A Russian immigrant living in Germany, Sascha starts out by telling us that she wants to kill Vadim, the man who murdered her mother. She contemplates ways to kill him, imagining his suffering. She worries about her young siblings, and navigates the rough Russian projects they live in, while trying to make sense of her own life.

After seeing an article in the newspaper about Vadim, she heads down to the newspaper offices to have it out with the writer of the article. During that encounter, she meets Volker, and sees him as a potential way to escape the pain of her life.

Sascha doesn't always make the best choices - occasionally ending up in Broken Glass Park, an aptly named area of town known for drug use, violence and sexual encounters. Sascha is a fighter, and a compelling protagonist. I was rooting for her all the way through the book.

There are no chapters in the book, and almost no line breaks. It almost reads like a novella. At first I was a little put off by not having any chapters, but I think it keeps the story moving and adds to the feel of the book, a little bit urgent and struggle-y.
Definitely worth reading.

I'm in the middle of John Green and David Levithan's teen book, Will Grayson Will Grayson. About 2 boys who don't know each other named (can you guess?) Will Grayson, Green and Levithan skillfully weave their two stories together. The chapters alternate between each of the Will Grayson's narration.

I started reading it on the recommendation of a co-worker and friend, mostly to see how well (or not) they were able to pull off combining the two stories. I'm impressed by how well the books reads, I want to know what happens with both of the Will Graysons.

There are also some fairly brilliant bits of insight, for example when one of the Will Graysons responds to his mom saying "I really have to stop doing this. I need to get a life."
i (this Will Grayson writes all in lowercase letters) think she's directing this at herself, or the universe, not really at me. still, i can't help thinking that 'getting a life' is something only a complete idiot could believe. like you can just drive to a store and get a life. see it in its shiny box and look inside the plastic window and catch a glimpse of yourself in a new life and say, 'wow, i look much happier - i think this is the life i need to get!' take it to the counter, ring it up, put it on your credit card. if getting a life was that easy, we'd be one blissed-out race. but we're not. so it's like, mom, your life isn't out there waiting, so don't think all you have to do is find it and get it. no, your life is right here. and yeah, it sucks. lives usually do. so if you want things to change, you don't need to get a life. you need to get off your ass.


Next I'll be reading Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. I read Fingersmith by her as well and loved it. Didn't like Affinity or The Little Stranger quite as much, but I enjoy her writing, so I'm looking forward to it.

After that it'll be The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley, given to me by my sweetie. She's good at picking out books, I'm looking forward to this one too.

Ah, lovely to have good books to read!

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