Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They Almost Always Come Home - Cynthia Ruchti

As far as a random find, pulled off the shelf at our local public library, this book kept me interested and at times was very hard to put down. This book brings up challenging themes, such as controversy on divorce and the difficulties of an unhappy marriage.

Taking a very unique round-about path, this book starts off with a woman who is unhappy with her marriage, which has fallen apart after the death of their daughter, and has reached a point where she is considering leaving her husband. Then, her husband goes off on canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness and fails to return home as planned. Amid doubts that that he has simply left her before she could leave him, eventually evidence, like his stolen car, begins to mount that this was not the case.

Crafting a soul-searching, personal, and often mysterious novel, Ruchti does a great job making believable characters. Our main character, Libby, gets incredible support from her best friends and father-in-law, and all three decide to embark on a wilderness search to try and find her missing husband, Greg, as they feel the help they're getting from law enforcement is not enough. Comic relief is close by as two city girls attempt to co-exist in nature alongside a gruff-outdoor man with an enlarged prostate:)

These characters are extremely truthful both in thought and outward action as we come along side them on their journey. Ruchti does a wonderful job portraying the weakness and strengths which co-exist in all of us and shape who we are. I highly recommend this for a rainy-day book. It's an easy read which kept me engaged throughout and guessing up to the very end.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Devil's Arithmetic - Jane Yolen

This book is a longtime favorite of mine, which is worthy of a thorough re-read every few years or so. This story is magically crafted with incredible characters and a tasteful way of dealing with one of the darkest time in history: The Holocaust.

Through the portrayal of an easy-to-relate-to main character in Hannah/Chaya and a bit of "time travel", a personal experience of the horrors of the holocaust is brought to life. Yolen does an incredible job of introducing a very adult topic to a young audience. While she doesn't shy away from the violence and unspeakable situations of the concentration camps, the events are tastefully written and provide an age-appropriate challenge for kids to begin confronting some of the darker sides of human nature. Yet keep in mind that there is level of violence portrayed which must be considered appropriate on an individual basis, depending on the age and maturity of the child. I would not recommend this for most kids who are younger than 5th or 6th grade, though some younger kids may be ready to handle this content.

I highly recommend this book, for a teenager or adult. It is a wonderful choice for a classroom book to introduce the history of WWII and the holocaust or simply a easy read to begin a conversation with your child about an all-to-difficult-to-comprehend event in history.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Coming Soon...

My next upcoming books will be....

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Unwilling Warrior by Andrea Boeshaar