Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Five Book Reviews

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Russel is gay but dating girls and playing straight. He and some other students start the Geography Club as a place to meet and get support. Things are complicated by their friends and themselves. Russel has problems with his friend Gunnar who keeps dragging him into blind dates with girls.

Things get out of hand when rumors about Russel race around the school and it seems Gunnar is partially to blame for them.

This is an interesting story about being gay in high school. It deals with acceptance and friendship and many other issues. Russel is an likable character and an interesting narrator. I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin

Gabriel Noone is a radio storyteller and writer. He is gay and middle aged and going through relationship problems and writer's block. One day he finds out that one of his young listeners has written a book and he is asked to review it. Thus begins an unusual long distance phone relationship that Gabriel gets caught up in. Gabriel tries to ignore the inconsistencies surrounding Pete but has to ask himself: Is Pete real?

This is a well written story with full developed characters. It is easy to get caught up in Gabriel's life and in his relationship with Pete. Part of the story is about a man facing mid life changes. The other part deals with a growing mystery. The author handles both aspects well.

Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates

Darren Flynn is a good looking sixteen year old swimmer who likes having people (well SOME people) look at him. Darren thinks about sex a lot but is still uncomfortable with it.

One day Darren has an "incident" with a teacher and that sets in motion a series of events that define the novel. Darren must decide what to say and who to trust. The book takes a hard look at high school rumors and cruelty. It also looks at how one sees oneself and how others see a person.

Parts of this book can be hard to read but it is worthwhile to do so. It will make you think.

Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

I have enjoyed books by these authors before but this one was difficult. The story of a serial killer being hunted by the police is fairly good and the characters are fine but several things made me set this book aside three times so I could finish other novels.

The first problem is with the narrative style. The narrator goes off into a meandering monologue that addresses the reader directly and this seems out of tune with other sections of the story. Then there is the problem of the alternate world that could work but has been overused by King in the past.

I finally finished the book but only because I had nothing else to read.

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava

This is an interesting story of a small town trying to cope with a serial killer of the worst kind. The murders point to a man who was recently executed for similar crimes in the same town. Police are confused and under pressure to find the killer and ask the FBI to help. They send a profiler that has her own problems.

This is an interesting mystery with several plot twists. Mystery lovers will enjoy it if they can handle the more gruesome aspects of it.

1 comment:

LJ said...

I have a collection of short stories by Peter Straub (I think - or a well known horror writer anyway). Would you be interested in having it? I don't do short stories. I need something to sink my teeth into.