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Month: April 2019

READING THE TBR, DAY 117: The Road to Oz (1909) by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy is back on the Kansas farm but gets lost again, because of course she does, as she attempts to lead a seeming vagrant to a nearby town and instead finds herself once more in Oz, because of course she does.

There are a few things to note about this vagrant:

One, a grown man asking a kid for directions should inspire cries of “Stranger danger!” and a possible call to the authorities, but it was a simpler time, and how sad that reading this passage just made me fear for Dorothy’s safety rather than commend her for her kindness. (Although, calling the poor man “stupid” was kind of harsh there, Dot.) 

Two, he is referred to only as “the shaggy man” and never named, though Dorothy dubs him “Shaggy Man”, in capital letters, and introduces him as such, when the occasion arises. That is just some weirdness right there. Maybe someone should call the authorities. Dude doesn’t have a name.

And three, it is eventually revealed that the shaggy man is the proud possessor of a “love magnet”, some kind of talisman that makes everyone he meets immediately adore him and want to do his bidding, hence Dorothy deciding to show him the way to Butterfield because he couldn’t understand her directions (and he also gets them out of quite a bit of strife as a result of this creepy bit of mind-fuckery, as the adventure proceeds, as you can imagine).

Of all the magical items in Oz, this love magnet is without doubt the ickiest, and I’m including here the cap that can make the winged monkeys your genie-style slaves.   

Dorothy’s other new friends include Button-Bright, a simple little lad who is likewise lost and answers most questions with “Don’t know”, and Polychrome, a beautiful daughter of the rainbow who… is beautiful, and together they visit a great many lands in Oz — it encompasses far more than the four direction-based states we have so far become familiar with — the rulers of which all eager to be present at Princess Ozma’s forthcoming birthday party. 

Without too much difficulty, Dorothy and (new) friends arrive in Oz in time to celebrate this event in style, and all her old friends arrive to share the fun, too. In many ways, this feels like it could easily be not the road to but the end of for Oz, as it has a kind of series finale, the-gang’s-all-here vibe about it, but of course there are still 9 Baum-penned books to go in this series (whew!) and so that can’t be it. Mostly, this was probably just a fan-pleasing attempt to bring back all the old favourites, and I kind of wish every author of a long-running series would do that once in a while. It’s… very nice.

Also very nice is the socialist utopia of Emerald City, which isn’t quite as easy a life as the one depicted in the film (“We get up at twelve and start to work at one; take an hour for lunch and then at two we’re done”), but is still pretty sweet. To wit:

“Don’t they work at all?” asked the shaggy man.

“To be sure they work,” replied the Tin Woodman; “this fair city could not be built or cared for without labor, nor could the fruit and vegetables and other food be provided for the inhabitants to eat. But no one works more than half his time, and the people of Oz enjoy their labors as much as they do their play.”

Theirs is also a post-currency economy:

“Fortunately money is not known in the Land of Oz at all. We have no rich, and no poor; for what one wishes the others all try to give him, in order to make him happy, and no one in all Oz cares to have more than he can use.”

Yeah, this isn’t really true of Oz (no more is it true of anywhere), but it’s a lovely dream, isn’t it?

In all, this is a largely uneventful but very enjoyable roam throughout this ever-expanding fairy land, and it is a testament to the writerly skill, especially with regard to character, that every party guest is not only memorable from their earlier appearances, but is also very welcome in the story.

Oh, and Toto! Toto’s here, you guys! Hi, Toto!

Wait… All the other animals from our world enter Oz (or similar) and can immediately speak. Why is Toto still barking his way through these tales? Billina the chicken and Jim the horse could have a chat. Why not Toto? WHY NOT TOTO?

I may be way too invested in this story now. Still, I’m on a roll. Book 6 is up next.

Woggle-Bug Report: YES! He’s here, where he performs a poem of his own composition for Ozma’s birthday: “Ode to Ozma.” It’s very good. 

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 117: The Road to Oz (Oz #5) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
PUBLISHED: 1909
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 116: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908) by L. Frank Baum

I’m extra glad I didn’t read this Oz book as a kid, because this one is all-out scary, with Dorothy in mortal danger pretty much all the time. I also kind of wish I had read it back then, also, because perhaps then I would not have noticed the plot inconsistency that acts as a major deus ex machina here, in a series already more than replete with same.

It begins with an earthquake — I’m assuming the fabled 1906 Big One in San Francisco had some bearing on that — that sees a Dorothy visiting her California relatives and getting sucked into the fairy land below ground, in company with her rightfully befuddled cousin Zeb, her cat Eureka (where even are you, Toto? He wasn’t in the last one, either…), and Zeb’s horse Jim. Now in a magical realm, Eureka and Jim can talk, and soon become characters in their own right, which is unfortunate when all four are sentenced to death by the Mangaboos, a race of vegetable people, for causing the roof to fall in. Happily, the once and future Wizard of Oz drops in, still aboard his hot air balloon, just in time to save them with some snazzy sleight of hand, and the little band escape no less than seven attempts on their lives, both intentional and inadvertent, across the succeeding pages.

My nitpicky continuity problem is with the final escape, as they are rescued by Ozma of Oz. Ozma, you see, owns a magic picture that acts rather like the mirror in The Beauty and the Beast, allowing her to see whomever she wants just by asking to. At the end of the last book, when Dorothy reluctantly but dutifully returned to her sad Uncle Henry, Ozma promised that she would look for Dorothy in the magic picture every Saturday morning, and all Dorothy would have to do was wave and she’d be instantly transported thence. (Nice that Oz keeps the same days of the week as do we.) But here, it is apparently every day at 4 pm that Ozma searches out Dorothy (nice that Oz keeps the same time as we do), and that is how our plucky band are ultimately saved.

I’d worry that this complaint is also a spoiler, except that it’s all pretty obvious what is going to happen, almost from the outset, unlike in other Oz outings. Sadly.

Oh, there is a lot that is adorable in this book, and some sparks of that jaunty, pointed Baum humour, as well. But it feels a little phoned in, I have to say, and lacks the joy of the previous efforts. 

Still, I have to see what happens in this wacky world next. Book #5, here I come.   

Woggle-Bug Report: Why, hello there (ever so briefly), Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E! Congratulations on your elevation to Dean of the Royal College of Athletic Science!

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 116: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (Oz #4) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
PUBLISHED: 1908
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 115: Ozma of Oz (1907) by L. Frank Baum

Here is the original subtitle to this book: A Record of Her Adventures with Dorothy Gale of Kansas, Billina the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Tik-Tok, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger; Besides Other Good People Too Numerous to Mention Faithfully Recorded Herein

So, that pretty much sums it up.

As the absence of Dorothy was felt so keenly in the last book, here we find her sailing to Australia and swept overboard during a storm — the poor child is constantly beset by storms! — eventually washing up on the shores of the Land of Ev. Ev, it turns out, is a neighbour to Oz, and Dorothy soon learns that its rulers have been enslaved by the dreaded King of the Nomes and sets out to free them. She is imprisoned but eventually saved by her old friends, fortuitously in Ev on the same errand, as well as making the acquaintance of Ozma, the new Princess of Oz. (Why she isn’t the Queen of Oz, when Scarecrow was the King of Oz, is not explained.) 

There is a lot to like in this book, especially Dorothy’s new animal companion, a spirited chicken named Bill (but whom Dorothy rechristens “Billina”, because Bill isn’t a girl’s name — boo, Dorothy!) who gains the power of speech in fairy land, and also the realization for me that, yeah, these are indeed fairy lands, that makes sense to me now. The fact that the action of this book takes place outside of Oz is pretty nifty, too — we always knew that our regular world was “across the Deadly Desert”, but by visiting new magical places that have things like lunchbox trees and mechanical men (hello, Tik-Tok, also from the terrifying Return to Oz, as is much of this plot, actually), it really opens up the possibilities of these absurdist delights.

What I definitely did not love is that the fierce General Jinjur — who was repeatedly referred to as “a girl” in the last installment, though we’re not sure how much time has passed in the Land of Oz; Dorothy hasn’t aged much in the real world — is now married, and also has a domestic violence subplot thrown in:

‘“I’ve married a man who owns nine cows,” said Jinjur to Ozma, “and now I am happy and contented and willing to lead a quiet life and mind my own business.”

“Where is your husband?” asked Ozma.

“He is in the house, nursing a black eye,” replied Jinjur, calmly. “The foolish man would insist upon milking the red cow when I wanted him to milk the white one; but he will know better next time, I am sure.”’

Huh.

Woggle-Bug Report: No sign of the dear fellow. But there is a return of the Cowardly Lion, and a new friend in the Hungry Tiger, who can’t bring himself to eat meat and so is always complaining of being ravenous — it’s a vegetarian metaphor, I think — as well as the aforementioned Tik-Tok, who is an Asimov robot before Asimov was even born. Baum was pretty visionary, actually, it has to be said. And these books continue to delight. 

Onward, to #4! 

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 115: Ozma of Oz (Oz #3) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
PUBLISHED: 1907
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 114: The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) by L. Frank Baum

That grinning Jack-o-Lantern staring out of the cover gave me some serious Return to Oz trepidation about embarking on this sequel, but I am happy to report that that 1985 horror film has almost nothing to do with this book (or, near as I can discover, the remainder of the Oz series). 

Jack Pumpkinhead is in it, however, a being created by orphan Tip as a way to frighten his (literal) witch of a guardian, Mombi, and then brought to life by some magical powder she happened to have on hand. Jack and Tip flee from Mombi — the fragile Jack riding upon the Wooden Sawhorse, also newly animated, as Tip has now stolen the Powder of Life — and find themselves at the Emerald City just as it is invaded by a furious legion of girls headed by the ferocious General Jinjur, and they and the deposed Scarecrow head to the Land of the Winkies — once ruled over by the Wicked Witch of the West, now in the care of the Tin Woodman — for sanctuary. Plotting to wrest back Scarecrow’s throne, they learn that Mombi is in league with Jinjur, and Glinda shows up to help out, as she is annoyed that Mombi has dared to perform magic in this magical land, when only Glinda is supposed to, for some reason.

Along the way they also meet the pun-spouting Woggle-Bug, who is quite my favourite character.

I won’t mention the denouement, since it is quite the surprise and I really hope everyone will read this book some day, but it is certainly an interesting development, and somewhat ahead of its time for, well, its time, I would have thought.

Likewise ahead of its time is the Army of Revolt led by General Jinjur, not only for its suffrage message — though there is some man-hating here that might be considered as going too far; also, Jinjur wanted to eat Jack Pumpkinhead’s pumpkin head, since he wasn’t really a person, and that’s just racist — but also for its clear summation of the invisible work at home that is still,  overwhelmingly, the purview of women:

‘”… since you went away the women have been running things to suit themselves. I’m glad you have decided to come back and restore order, for doing housework and minding the children is wearing out the strength of every man in the Emerald City.”

“Hm!” said the Scarecrow, thoughtfully. ‘If it is such hard work as you say, how did the women manage it so easily?”

“I really do not know,” replied the man, with a deep sigh. “Perhaps the women are made of cast-iron.”’

I mean.

In all, another top-notch adventure through Oz, even without the presence of Dorothy, still at home in Kansas, we can assume. But there are twelve more of these books to go, I have no doubt she’ll show up again. Because that is how series work.

I just hope Mr H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E. (Professor Highly Magnified Woggle-Bug, Thoroughly Educated) does, as well.

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 114: The Marvelous Land of Oz (Oz #2) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
PUBLISHED: 1904
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 113: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum

We all know The Wizard of Oz, of course. From the Judy Garland childhood favourite to The Wiz to assorted modern day-set adaptations (Zooey Deschanel in Tin Man is a favourite), that magical land over the rainbow is even more entrenched in our collective zeitgeist than Lilliput or Fantasia or even Westeros.

A few years back, when a new box set of all L. Frank Baum’s fourteen Oz stories was released (plus one follow up by a different author, for some reason), Amazon suggested it to me as something I might like, and it occurred to me that I had never read the original stories on which this cultural touchstone was based. Amazon’s logarithms know me way better than I’d like, actually.

So I bought them, and admired them, and only now have gotten around to reading them. (That old chestnut…) This first book of the series is actually surprisingly close to the film version we all know and love so well, with Dorothy blown in her house by a tornado and landing on the Wicked Witch of the East and freeing the Munchkins from her terrible rule. Certainly, there are differences: the magic shoes are silver, not red; backstory is missing; the winged monkeys are enslaved; the Queen of the Field Mice saves Dorothy from the poppy field; and Glinda the Good shows up way later, which actually makes sense, because WHY did Glinda send Dorothy off to the Emerald City if all she had to do was click her heels together to go home? Also, the Wizard changes shape a bunch, and the rewards he gives to the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion are different, and the people of Oz wear green glasses to make the Emerald City green (which I don’t understand), and Dorothy did not dream it all in the book version, which I like way, way better. Plus, in print she’s only nine years old. (Oh, and the witch doesn’t say “I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, too!” Impressive work, then, screenwriters!)

Bus aside from all that — and really, most of it is pretty incidental — the movie adhered to the book pretty well, all things considered, and it all developed pretty much as you might expect, except that I for one did not expect the book to be so funny. Baum has a winning way with an epigram, and he makes wry observations throughout the book (especially with regard to the brains, heart and courage sought by Dorothy’s companions) that completely took me by surprise. This book is an early example of that thing Disney does now, throwing in an extra layer for the grownups that fly straight over the kiddies’ heads. I am so glad I am reading it now, when I get the jokes. They are very good jokes. 

In all, I find myself — like so very many others, across the century-plus that this book has been in print — entranced by this most magnificent creation, and I am excited to get started on the next one in the series. Like, so excited I’m going to start on it right now.

Whether this says more about this book or about me, I don’t feel qualified to say.  

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 113: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Classics
PUBLISHED: 1900
TIME ON THE TBR: 3 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Amazon.
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 112: Uncompromising Honor (2018) by David Weber

There was a time when I would have taken a day’s holiday upon the release of a new Honor Harrington book. I wouldn’t even wait for it to come out in stores, but would purchase the early-release e-book, poring over my computer screen as I breathlessly scampered through this latest space opera pitting the ever-honourable Honor against her star system’s mightiest foes. My friends would try to make plans with me, and I’d tell them, no, I’m afraid I’m busy just now, I am reading a book. And as the years went on, and the books grew longer and more numerous, often I would be unavailable for the weeks leading up to each new release as well, as I reread the entire series before striking out on the new addition.

Several years ago, however, the Honorverse began to lose its hold on me. Part of it was the multiple spin-off series, which began to grow ever more unwieldy and hard to keep track of. Part of it was the short story collections — written by authors other than Weber — that would work their way into the narrative of both spin offs and mainline canon. But mainly it was just that Weber’s writerly equivalent of verbal tics began to bug the living hell out of me, his editors apparently having decided to just not edit him anymore, at all, and so I would find myself clenching my jaw and sighing every time he would employ these over-used phrases again and again and again.    

And here we come to Uncompromising Honor, heralded as the final Honor Harrington novel (though the spin off series will continue — not all plot threads are tied off here — and Honor will doubtless appear elsewhere), and I have some major issues with this book, it must be said. For a start, all the recent Weber passion for repeating phrases “for that matter” and “on the other hand” and “point” and every character sounding the same, even down to their lame attempts at sarcasm, are very much present and accounted for here. Additionally, there is not nearly enough Honor in this book, instead leaving us to dwell on way too many conferences between way too many other people — both enemies and non-combatants and allies — and there is a lot of repetition. A lot

On the other hand (and for that matter — God, it’s contagious!), the space battle scenes are gosh darned amazing, as always, and damn if some of these new characters aren’t awesome, which is a Weber specialty and double-edged sword, especially since they often soon die, and then you’re sad about someone you’ve only known for a chapter, sometimes even a paragraph. Indeed, the scale of death in this book is enormous, I think by far the biggest death toll in all of the Honorverse (which is saying something), and while it gets so bad that you are desensitized to it after a while, that is kind of the point, that war is just awful and people die all the time, especially when both sides are being manipulated by shadowy forces.

Where this leaves me, when it comes to the Honorverse, I am not entirely sure. Will I read on through the spin offs, just for a chance at a glimpse of Honor and friends, as well as for the conclusion of the centuries-long conspiracy plot line, if that ever comes? Maybe. Probably? But, as with this one, which I waited six months to read — longer than that, if you count that I could have read an ARC version several months earlier — none of it will be appointment reading.

I miss those days, when new Honor was essential to my being. I mean, the first book in the series, On Basilisk Station, was so incredible that as soon as I finished it, I read it again immediately! And the first ten are without doubt some of the finest examples of space opera ever written, I give you my word. It’s just a shame that over time, and with overuse, the Honor Harrington series should have become just another example of a series, and author, who didn’t know when to quit. (His Safehold series, now numbering ten laborious, way-too-long novels in which the characters all also sound the same and in which he likewise uses all his best-loved phrases, is another example of same.)

Still, I can’t regret the time I have spent in this world, and there was a lot in this allegedly concluding book that I just completely, utterly adored. If nothing else, treecats with guns! Nice, David Weber. Nice.

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 113: Uncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington #14) by David Weber
GENRE: Space Opera, Science Fiction, Honor Harrington
PUBLISHED: 2018
TIME ON THE TBR: ~6 months.  
PURCHASED FROM: Minotaur, Melbourne
KEEP: Yes, of course.

READING THE TBR, DAY 111: All My Friends Are Dead (2010) by Avery Monsen and Jory John

Well, this book is adorable. A lightning-quick read, it’s more picture book than anything else, and I cannot believe it has taken me so long to actually read it, since it took about six minutes. Less. And that was reading it through twice.

It’s dark, of course. Its black humour married to very cute drawings, which adds to the appeal but also works as a sort of cognitive dissonance, as the inevitability of entropy — along with loneliness, and the enduring terror that is clowns — is briefly, brutally portrayed.

I bought this book on the basis of its cover, which made me chuckle and yeah, all your friends are dead, that’s true, Mr. Dinosaur. Not sure I expected to be so moved by it’s contents. I really didn’t expect to hold onto it for five damn years before bothering to read it. Again, it took three minutes. THREE.

I really need to stop doing that. And that is what this whole TBR project is about. Clearing the decks, and teaching myself to read books as I buy them, not hoard them like a crazy person who should be on a reality TV show.    

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 111: All My Friends are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory Johns
GENRE: Humour, Comics
PUBLISHED: 2010
TIME ON THE TBR: 5 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Mary Martin Bookshop
KEEP: Yep!

READING THE TBR, DAY 110: The Amateur Emigrant (1895) by Robert Louis Stevenson

A couple of years ago, my friend Brad read Treasure Island for the first time and couldn’t get over how great it was. I understand the feeling — I am continually reading classic works and discovering for myself why they have remained so beloved across the decades and centuries — and his enthusiasm made me determined to revisit the tale I had not read since childhood, and not revisited since the Muppets’ version hit theatres in 1996.

The next day, I happened upon this book, the author’s name leaping out at me due to my recent conversation with Brad, which is the pre-fame Stevenson’s account of his trip from Scotland to America by boat, and then cross country by train, to win the hand of his lady love. And sure, I still reread Treasure Island. (It’s a gem, of course.) But I had not even previously been aware that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a travel narrative, let alone had a lady love, so of course this was immediately added to the list, as well. 

Most of my knowledge of boat crossings from the UK to America comes from Titanic, so it was easy to picture the adventure as Stevenson discusses his time as a 2nd Class passenger on the steamer, and of his “experiments” with living as one of the common classes. He has a lot to say about his fellow passengers, and some of it is more than a little condescending — an educated fellow looking down on the downtrodden — but he mostly delights in their company and he has a very sure pen, especially when he writes in caricature.

The long trip by train across the still-fledgling US frontier was my favourite part of the book, not only because I love a long trip by train, but also for the contemporary account of the social structure prevalent at the time, as well as his horror at the treatment of Native Americans by the American people and government. His keen eye for personality and foible is also amply displayed, and he describes his fellow travellers in few words but fine style, while his own difficulties — especially, an ongoing illness; his constitution was never good — he treats with a stoic stiff-upper-lipness that one can’t help but appreciate.

At times amusing, at times thoughtful, at all times fascinating, what a joy to have so belatedly discovered this early example of humorous travel writing, which is now one of my very favourite genres. And, for all that it surprised me at the time, and I am now very glad Brad never read Treasure Island as a kid. I might never have noticed or known about this book, else. 

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 110: The Amateur Emigrant: From the Clyde to Sandy Hook by Robert Louis Stevenson
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Travel Narrative
PUBLISHED: 1895
TIME ON THE TBR: ~2 years. 
PURCHASED FROM: Op shop.
KEEP: Yes!

READING THE TBR, DAY 109: Atlas of Cursed Places (2013) by Olivier Le Carrer

This is a goddamned beautiful book. It has a gorgeous cover and is filled with lovingly drawn maps and it is just so lovely that it is very, very sad that the words do not come close to matching their presentation.

Forty short essays claim to visit “cursed” places, assorted locations around the world at which upsetting events have variously occurred, or are believed to have occurred, throughout history. The problem is, the writing style is abrupt and often obtuse, but somehow simultaneously fanciful, while the information provided is interesting but mostly incomplete, and the attempt to mark many of these locations as in any way “cursed” is somewhat questionable.

Such a shame, that something so pretty should be so, so disappointing. You really can’t judge a book by its cover, can you?

Nor by its super-pretty maps, it seems. 

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 109: Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Travel Narrative
PUBLISHED: 2013
TIME ON THE TBR: ~4 years. 
PURCHASED FROM: Dymocks Booksellers.
KEEP: No…

READING THE TBR, DAY 108: Five Feet Apart (2011) by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

This book is currently the #1 bestseller on Amazon in the very specific and wildly-spoilery category “Teen & Young Adult Death & Dying Fiction.” Of course that is a category! Especially after the runaway success of John Green’s 2012 tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. 

Like that now-classic of the apparently-it’s-a-genre, Five Feet Apart has also received the movie treatment, with the recent release of the film starring the latest in hot young things (though at least these two young love interests haven’t played siblings elsewhere.) The interesting part about this book and its filmic counterpart is that they were released almost simultaneously, enough that the book is kind of a novelization of the film, because it turns out both were pitched at the same time. (And which explains why the book has three authors, I guess.) What confuses me is that the version I bought isn’t a movie tie-in cover, even though the book only came out four months before the film did — is this an attempt to legitimize it, and make it seem like a non-novelization, after all? 

Probably. And I fell for it, like the sap I am.

It’s not a terrible book, for the most part. It’s set in a hospital, into which opposites-attract teens Stella and Will — both suffers of cystic fibrosis — have been remanded for a long stay, and are ordered to stay away from each other, because Will carries a pathogen in his lungs that could kill Stella, should she contract it. Eventually, the kids decide they’re in love, and that lung transplants are rare, and fuck it, they’re going to die anyway, and they live for the moment and such, but along the way there is tragedy and heartbreak and a lot of dickiness from Will, and yeah, it’s almost exactly what I expected it to be, except maybe a bit worse. 

I should probably stop reading these dying kids books. Why even do we read them? Some kind of affirmation of life? As an exercise in what-would-I-do? Schadenfreude? I don’t know, but I’m not sure I like what it says about me, or about us as a society. Then again, we read dying adult books all the time — though it is noteworthy that there isn’t an equivalent “Death & Dying” category in regular fiction on Amazon — and we do it because of the extremes of emotion that such situations can evoke, as well as the compulsion we all have for a doomed love story, which we all have, for some reason. I blame Shakespeare.

Anyway. Of all the Young Adult Death & Dying books out there, this is… another one. It’s fine. It’s sad. It has some mixed messages about life, and Cole Sprouse plays Will in the film version. I don’t hate that I read it.

But I’m pretty sure I hate that this type of fiction is so prevalent that it has its own category. I can’t get past it. It’s just so wrong.

SCORECARD

TBR DAY 108: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
GENRE: YA Romance
PUBLISHED: 2018
TIME ON THE TBR: 5 months. 
PURCHASED FROM: Dymocks Booksellers.
KEEP: Nope.