Microwave Reviews: "Nation" & "Tender Morsels"

Sometimes you read a book and don't have enough thoughts for a huge review. Or, you read a book and a book and a book and don't have enough time to cover every single title. Thus ...

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MICROWAVE REVIEWS

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Done your share of home-cooking this week? It's time for a microwave meal!

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Not that this ever happens at our house. I mean, you can't really feed nine people on something that came out of the microwave. But we do have our share of frozen pizza nights.

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NATION, by Terry Pratchett

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Due to seriously wacky holes in the library's collection, this novel was my first Pratchett. Nation sat on several Best of '08 lists, guaranteed to pose deep questions and give satisfaction.

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It posed them, I guess: why do bad things happen? are the gods real? are the old beliefs adequate today? But Pratchett's vague conclusions are flimsy at best. Bad things happen because they do. The gods are real if you believe they're real. Trust the old beliefs if you must, forge new beliefs if you must.

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Philosophizing often usurps Story in this novel--there were many conversations and internal narratives where action would have been appreciated. I did laugh out loud once, but it was one of the few alive moments I felt while reading. "Her getting married still seemed to be the big topic of discussion in the Place. It was like being in a Jane Austen novel, but one with far less clothing."

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Haha.

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TENDER MORSELS, by Margo Lanagan

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This novel received lots of buzz. From reviews, and from the cover, I felt sure Tender Morsels would blow me away--perhaps even revolutionize the fairy tale-based novel I'm planning. Instead, I found a novel with some of THE best dialogue I have ever read, and not much else to recommend it.

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Setting was vivid, the blending of magic with reality was beautifully drawn, but I did not love the novel. I strongly disagree with its YA label. There is mucho "bad sex," as the author puts it. Gang rape, incest, abortion--the way these elements were woven into the story felt much more Adult than YA.

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I don't know many high school patrons who would finish Tender Morsels. It seemed to dally along the road to resolution. The story's noble undercurrent (Wake up to reality, because it must be lived) felt pessimistic by the end.

4 comments:

Em said...

I didn't really like Tender Morsels either. I felt like the "bad sex" was just there for sensationalism and after awhile didn't really add to the story. Strange that it was published as YA.

Darla D said...

I guess one of the reasons I enjoyed Nation so much is that I wasn't really expecting any answers to those questions - I just loved going along for the ride as he explored them, and I came to care so much for the characters along the way. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did! It's definitely not along the lines of much of his work, so I wouldn't give up on him yet. See what you think of The Wee Free Men if you feel up to trying another!

Kelly said...

I'm with you on Tender Morsels! I think I enjoyed it a bit more, from the writing side, than you did maybe. But I definitely see what you mean. I'm reading Nation *right now* so hopefully I'll enjoy that one! :)

Noel De Vries said...

Now, I did say TM had some of the best dialogue I have ever read, and that the setting was vivid, and the blending of magic with reality was beautifully drawn... so from the writing side, I did enjoy it. But no, I did not love the novel.

Thanks for stopping by, Kelly!