Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

by Kelsey McGeough

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is realistic fiction following a young girl named Francie Nolan and her brother, mother and father and their daily struggle in the slums of Brooklyn, NY. Her grandparents were first hand immigrants from Austria, and we see as the Nolans and their extended family struggle to find their feet in America. The story is told through a child's perspective, and we get to watch her grow and mature as the plot develops. Betty Smith uses makes statements about themes such as love, family, education, poverty, and women. The story is easily relatable because of the child's perspective and the book definitely presents controversial topics as well. For example, we can see Francie and her mother and the complications they have as Francie matures, as well as the role of women in an industrializing society.

Although the book is almost 500 pages long, the language is relatively easy and Smith is able to keep you interested. However, if you are someone who needs a lot of fighting and action to keep you interested, I would not recommend this book to you. This book is more of a story about every day conflicts. In addition, this book does present controversial topics and often requires thinking, so if you are someone who likes an easy read this book may not be for you. I gave the book 4 stars because at times I thought some of the narration was unnecessary, but it is easy to move through and Smith picks the plot back up again. Overall, I loved this book and would recommend it highly to anyone that is looking for a new read.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

by Cassie Shao

Tennessee Williams is a accomplished playwright who wrote many well-known plays, one of which is this play--A Streetcar Named Desire. As I was reading the play, Williams's vivid stage directions allowed me to fully picture the setting. While the lines are well-written, I personally think that the true beauty lies within the stage directions. Throughout the play, Williams creatively uses the jazz and blues tunes played by the band on the street to enhance the mood of each scene, which I think is rather unique.

What makes this play a 5 star rating overall, are its precise language and its meaningful plot. It's a play that's unlike anything you've ever read. Once you pick it up, you will yearn to find out more and thus will never be able to put it down. Even when you finish it, its not-so-straightforward ending will make your brain lingering around. A Streetcar Named Desire is truly one of a kind.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

by Andrew Haimovici

When purchasing this book, I was expecting to read a sequel to the famous To Kill a Mockingbird. This, however is not what the book is, so if you are looking for a continuation of To Kill a Mockingbird, I do not recommend this book because Go Set a Watchman will not fill such a desire.

This book is quite different than To Kill a Mockingbird because Atticus Finch, the lawyer who defends a Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white girl, is a white supremacist. In To Kill a Mockingbird he is the book’s moral conscience and is one of Maycomb’s only non-racist people, but in Go Set a Watchman, he is on the board of the Citizen’s council, an organization that defends segregation and sinks to the level of the KKK. Ironically, in Go Set a Watchman, Jean Louise, Atticus’ daughter is the one fighting for equality, the very principles with which her father raised her.

Overall this book seems a bit like an unfinished draft, which is what it really is. There are details left relatively unexplained, and subtle, underdeveloped symbolism that could have added a lot to the work if it was brought out more. The plot of this book also seems a little underdeveloped, which makes the book less entrenching. Not all is negative though, there are some really cool moments when Harper Lee describes different scenarios in the perfect way. It is also interesting to see what To Kill a Mockingbird was originally supposed to be like because after all, this is an earlier draft of it. I would recommend the book to someone looking to learn more about what makes fiction good versus bad because there are moments of both in Go Set a Watchman and they are easy to discern.