Month: April 2016

Don’t we all want happy endings?

Nobody reads this blog. Sigh. This is what you get when two electrical engineers decide to “pollute the internet” (quote credits to SD) with their unqualified thoughts on Literature.

This is my review of The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. After the dramatic fantasy of The Night Circus, the ordinariness of this book was a welcome change. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely above average. It’s just that the setting- middle class, football-obsessed American suburbia- is very ‘non-fantasy’.

Pat Peoples has just moved into his parents’ basement. Don’t judge, it’s a step up from where he was before- a psychiatric hospital. He has a simple plan: 1. Get fit. 2. Win back his ex-wife. 3. Live happily ever after.

But it’s not that easy. He became mentally unstable after he split up with his wife, who now has a restraining order against him. And he has a long way to go in terms of psychological recovery as well. He has the love of his mother, the occasional, grudging support of his father, a badass Indian therapist,  well-meaning friends and a brother who go out of their way to make him feel at home. But it takes a fellow ‘loony’, his sister-in-law’s sister Tiffany, to help him accept reality again. By means of a modern dance contest.

If that sounds like a movie plot to you, then you’re absolutely right. But despite sounding like the script to Step Up x++, it’s surprisingly heartwarming. Sort of like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, for adults. Also a very light read, recommended for flights/boring classes etc.

3.5/5

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Fantasy^2

What’s the most fantasy-esque book theme you can dream up? A wizard’s duel, perhaps? What if said wizard’s duel was set in a circus? There you go, (fantasy)^2.

This is my review of The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.

Two children, one boy and one girl, deemed to be ‘special’ by wise old magicians, are selected for a contest. They are bound by magical rings to be competitors for life. “Neither can live while the other survives”- oh wait, that’s the other magical duel. But the same principle applies. They both have miserable childhoods, training hard for their final face-off. As adults, both become involved in a travelling Night Circus. The Night Circus is famed for its spectacular performances, and has its own cult following. Of course, its ‘magical’ performances are supported by real magic.

Eventually, each become aware of the others existence, and sparks fly. There’s a ‘twist’ that I should have spotted a mile away but didn’t, because I was expecting a straightforward fantasy.

I realize that my summary wasn’t exactly coherent- I just listed plot points in the order that they are revealed to the reader. I chose to read this (relatively) new novel because I’d heard a lot about its descriptive writing style, and I’m a sucker for a good adverb. The Night Circus didn’t disappoint here- the prose evokes visuals without being too wordy. In fact it’s a fairly short book. The plot, I have to admit, was a huge let down. The above-mentioned twist seemed convenient and predictable, and overall the premise wasn’t very well set up.

I would still recommend it if you don’t mind pretty words with not much else. 3.5/5