Yesterday was day 10 of my reading decathlon. So what happened? Did I manage to read 10 books in 10 days?
Well, yes. But extremely reluctantly.
On Day 9, when I wrote that blog post, I hadn’t read a book for the day yet. I hadn’t even picked one, actually. So I had two books to choose and read in two days.
I decided on a Morgan Matson, because it looked relatively short and light to read, and I was a bit burned out on reading.
Book 9 – Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson
So this was a pretty standard ‘summer gone wrong’ story of a girl who had intended on spending the summer with her best friend, but plans changed and she was suddenly left alone. It was compounded by a list from that best friend with 13 things she needed to do over the summer (which, for some reason, she thinks will make her missing best friend reappear, but that’s wishful thinking, I guess).
Over the course of completing the list, Emily, the main character, makes a bunch of new friends and ends up having a pretty nice summer, one where she comes out of her shell and becomes a real person, not just Sloane’s sidekick. It was a pretty nice summer romance novel, with a decent side of finding yourself.
I had two issues with the book. One was that Emily just forgives Sloane for being a total loolah and completely ghosting on her. Perhaps that’s because I’m a bitter and unforgiving person, but I don’t know. The other issue I had is that Emily never sorts things out with one of her new friends. And it’s just left that there’s a big issue between them. Which I found kind of frustrating. I like resolution of issues.
But other than those two minor things, this was a pretty fun, enjoyable read. It reminded me a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books, and I like those a lot, so I was predisposed to like this. I’ve also read The Unexpected Everything, so I’ll be looking out for Second Chance Summer some time in the future. Matson is pretty easy to read.
Book 10 (the last book!) The Lost Child – Caryl Phillips
Not only was this book the final book in my Reading Decathlon, but it also fulfils one of the criteria for the Modern Mrs Darcy challenge. My friend Dave gave me this book for Christmas, so I’m using it to tick off ‘a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF’.
Now, admittedly, my sister picks out roughly half of the books I read, so she was entirely confused as to why I hadn’t already ticked that category off, but I had earmarked this book for this category.
So I was excited for this book. It was fulfilling all my dreams. I had high hopes for it.
I HATED this book. I didn’t understand it at all. I mean, really, seriously, I have no idea what happened in this book. The blurb says that it’s two deftly interwoven stories, but I thought there were three stories in it, and I didn’t understand how they interacted at all.
I can’t really review this book, because I didn’t understand it. It says that it’s a story of the childhood of Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights. Now, I’ve never read Wuthering Heights (shameful confession) so I guess I was already at a disadvantage there, but I don’t think it should have been that much of an issue. And even still, that story is only a tiny proportion of the book. But still. Rather than a review, here is a series of questions which I have about the book, which I don’t think will ever be answered.
- What was the deal with the mother in the first chapter? Enumerate all her suffering and her awful life only to have her die, like, immediately. That’s depressing as hell.
- Why were the dates of the different stories not clear? Presumably, if the first section was about Heathcliff as a child, this was the late 1700s, but Monica’s story takes places in the 1950s+ – why are these stories intertwined? I’m so confused.
- Who was Monica anyways? Why was the story not linear? Why did we see the same things from multiple perspectives?
- Where was the father of the two children from? Some island. What island? I wish to know these things!
- What was with the section in the middle about the Bronte sisters? Was Heathcliff a real person? Did their father actually adopt a child out of nowhere? Does this make THREE lost boys? I’m so confused.
- Was I supposed to care about the death of their horrible, alcoholic brother? Why was everyone so terrible?
- Why did the blurb say that Tommy went missing on the moors when they lived nowhere near the moors? Weren’t they in Leeds? How come it’s in the blurb when it doesn’t happen until more than halfway through the book? Was he actually kidnapped and murdered? Subtext is hard, y’all?
- Why was Ben’s story so disjointed? Did he ever reunite with his grandfather? Or was his grandfather just left alone and lonely?
- What happened the next door neighbour? Why was she only in the one scene? What’s going on there?
- WHAT happened to Monica? Was she.. I have no idea what happened there. Let’s just leave that mess alone. Was she actually a prostitute? Was she mentally ill? Where was she getting drugs to overdose on?
- Why did we see Ben’s reaction to his mother’s death like, ages before we actually saw her die? What was going on there?
- How come we were expected to just forget about baby Heathcliff for like, ever, until he suddenly popped up again at the end? ARE THESE STORIES EVEN RELATED?
- Oh, I see. The last chapter could be EITHER Tommy or Heathcliff. It’s still weird.
- I mean, Tommy is presented as a central character of the book but we see almost nothing of him. Ben is much more developed than Tommy. Tommy doesn’t even have a personality. What is going on here?
- Why is the whole narrative so detached? Honestly, it’s like a history textbook. There’s no emotion in this writing. How could anyone connect to this?
Basically, I finished this book at 23.58 last night and thought ‘W. T. F.’
This was a book which had several incredibly depressing, but seemingly totally unrelated stories, where everyone ends up miserable and dies. That’s it. Everyone is miserable and alone for no apparent reason and there wasn’t even a sweeping love story like Heathcliff and Catherine to justify it. I hated this book, hated everything in it, hated the author, and hated reading it. The only reason I slogged through was because by the time I realised how terrible it was, I didn’t have time to read another book before my ten days were up. I would never, ever, ever recommend this to anyone, unless they really, really loved Wuthering Heights. Which is probably why Dave liked it but Oh My God, this book was a WASTE of a day in my life.
I think this is the only time in this entire blog history that I’ve awarded a book:
Now that the reading decathlon is done and I’ve read ten books in ten days, I’m gonna take it easy, and reread some old books that I know I love. I’m gonna finish reading the Old Kingdom trilogy, in preparation for the publication of Goldenhand, and I’ll continue with my Redwall reread (I actually only have two more books that I’ve read, and then it’s into new territory!) But I’ll take it a bit slower. A book a day is a bit more pressured than I like.