Although I have been reviewing a lot of books that I have read for TLC Book Tours, I also recently read two books that I got from the library.
My book group chose to read The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey and it was a bit of a different type of book than the ones we normally read! One weird thing about it is that you don’t know what the book is about at all before you begin to read it, because the synopsis is so brief!
“Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius.’ Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end.”
Well, I’m going to tell you a little more about this book, so I suppose these are spoilers. The book is about zombies. There is some sort of disease that spreads throughout the world (the book takes place in England) and those who are infected become zombies, or as they are called in the book, “hungries.” The humans in the book are studying a group of children who are special and telling you why they are special would definitely be spoiling the book! There is an attack and the survivors must trek across the country to find safety. They are an intriguing group – the doctor, the sergeant, a soldier, a teacher, and Melanie. How (and if) they survive the trek makes up the gist of the story.
I actually didn’t finish the book in time for our book group meeting, but I was encouraged to stick with it and I finished it a few days later. I thought it was interesting, though there were parts that could have been shorter!
Next, I finally got to the top of the library waiting list for Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Jodi Picoult has long been my favorite writer, but some of her books lately have seemed a bit repetitive. This one was really good though, and such an important read.
“Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.”
I loved how the story was told from such varying viewpoints – the racist, the victim of racism, and the one who thinks she isn’t at all racist. I could definitely tell that the author considered herself like the white lawyer who has no idea how it feels to be black in America today. Through this character, Picoult makes an effort to demonstrate an every day white American who realizes how little she knows about racism. In the author’s note at the end, Picoult acknowledges that there will be those on both sides of coin who will have issues with her book. For me, it was eye opening and poignant.
I found the end a little bit unrealistic, and also surprising, as I expected it to end with a startling twist, as many of Picoult’s books do. However, I’m glad the book ended the way it did because it was meaningful and left me feeling hopeful.
What have you been reading lately?
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