Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #58 - Christ in Concrete

Today's review is for a book called:  Christ in Concrete

It was under the category: A Book About an Immigrant/Refuge to the US

This book takes place in the 1920s.  Although it is written as a fictional story, it is based on events that happened to the author as a boy.  The main character is a 12 year old boy whose father dies in a horrific building collapse and is entombed in concrete on Good Friday.  The father has a brother, Luigi, who promises to help the family, but he goes to work and is injured to the point that he can no longer work.  The 12 year old boy, Paul, has to go to work as a bricklayer to support his mother and his siblings.  He has to leave school and work construction - not the life he had envisioned.  Because Paul is so young, he gets paid very little as a bricklayer.  He soon overworks himself trying to make enough money, and has to leave a job.

Soon he finds a better paying brick-layer job and then later beings working on skyscrapers.  He talks about working above "the toy world below".  A close friend of his, and mentor falls to his death while working at one of the job sites and Paul decides at this point he no longer believes in God.  With the death of his father and then of a close friend, he finds no reason for faith.  His mother is upset with his decision, and Paul tries to make it up to her.

This book is labeled a classic, and I tried to like it.  I liked the idea of it, and a lot of the story.  I had a hard time with the writing.  I keep coming back to these books - written in the late 1800s and early 1900s and think I can make it work, but I can't.  I struggled with this one, even though it wasn't even 250 pages.

My grandparents were Italian immigrants.  They came here and worked in the mines and in the mills of Pennsylvania.  There lives were hard, so it did ring true to me how hard immigrants who come to America have it.  Some make it - like my grandparents - and some don't.  All work was dangerous, low pay, and unforgiving.  So I was drawn to this story because of my own background.  However - that darn writing style.

Anyway - if you aren't a big baby like I am, and enjoy the writing style of the early 20th century - don't pass up this book.

Stars: 3

Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 Challenge- Book #57 - The 500 Years of Resistance

Today's review is for a little book called

The 500 Years of Resistance

This was under the category:  A Book About an Indigenous Culture

This book was about the Indigenous people's resistance to the Europeans coming to America.  It covers the time from Christopher Columbus to the year 2006.  It is a graphic novel depicting the Native Americans fighting back against the white settlers who took their land.

Not much to say about this short 80 page graphic novel.  The author - who is Native American - glosses over 500 years of Indigenous people history.  He moved so fast from one event to the other, it was hard to make sense of the book.  I think if he would have broken it up into several graphic novels, it would have held more weight for me.  I didn't get much out of it, or learn much about the history he was trying to depict, because there just wasn't enough detail.

Stars:  2

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

2017 Challenge - Book #56 - One Plus One

Today's review is for

One Plus One

This was under the category:  First book you see in the bookstore

This is the story of a family in crisis.  The main character, Jess's husband left her, her step-son has been abandoned by both his father and his mother and left in Jess' care and he is constantly getting beat up by the neighborhood bullies because of the way he dresses; her 10 year old daughter is a math prodigy who doesn't fit in anywhere.  Jess cleans houses and works at a bar just to get by, and she is barely doing that. 

Then a chance for her daughter to go to a prestigious school comes along, and Jess wants to make it possible for her daughter to attend.  Her daughter gets a chance to go to a math Olympiad where she can win $5000 which would pay for her daughter's tuition.  Only problem is - the Olympiad is in Scotland and they don't have anyway to get there.  Along comes Ed who owes Jess a favor.  Ed, a wealthy businessman needs to escape his own problems, so he agrees to drive Jess, her two kids, and their dog to the Olympiad.  What happens on the trip changes all of their lives.

This was a great book.  I love Jojo Moyes - she is a great writer.  The story was well written and very sweet.  She developed the characters well.  It is a thick book, but the story was so good, that it only took me a few days to read it.

Grab this book.  Even though it has a lot of pages, it is an easy and enjoyable read.

Stars: 5