Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Rising Sun by Michael Crichton

From the Publishers:
During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of an immense Japanese conglomerate, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners.

My Review:
I really enjoyed the cultural research that Crichton puts into this novel. While I don't know much about Japanese culture there seems to be a lot of research done into how culture would play a part in a murder investigation. I also enjoyed how Crichton makes a point about Japanese investment and business practices in the United States. As stated before I do not know much about such things but it has made me question a few things. Perhaps, I will do some research of my own. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and found the plot line to be exciting. The plot kept me on my toes; however there were times when I thought it was a little predictable and I didn't necessarily like how much of a know it all the main character's partner was. Overall, I give this book a 3.5 out of 5

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

This is a controversial "memoir" that tells the story of a 23 year old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve Step oriented treatment program.

My Review:

After all the Oprah hype I never bothered reading this book. There was just too much publicity regarding the book for me to be able to read it at the time without it tainting the experience for me. That being said, a few weeks ago a friend recommended it to me. I have to say I was quite impressed with the book. While it may not all be a completely accurate portrayal of Frey's life it didn't need to be to make an impact on someone's life. The writing is amazing and from the first moment you are sucked into Frey's addiction and recovery process. Having dealt with people who have addictions in my personal life, I can relate to this book. I have to admit I have never seen someone in as rough shape as Frey seemed to be but addiction is addiction and as shown in the book it doesn't matter who you are, whether it be a criminal, a judge, a mobster, or a father, addiction can affect your life and can alter the way you view the world. I was impressed that someone had the courage to not only admit they have a problem and try to conquer them but that they decided to do it on their terms and their way. While this may not work for everyone, Frey seemed to have a good idea of his self and his recovery. I also admire his courage for writing the memoir regardless of if parts were altered or not. I give this book 4 out of 5.

The Moment Between by Nicole Baart

From the Dust Jacket:
Abigail Benet was completely in control of her life. But then tragedy pushed her to the brink of something she's never experienced: obsession. Now, she's given up everything she's ever worked for to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp.
As Abigail follows him across the border into Canada, her journey is awash in memories of family and childhood, especially those of her younger sister Hailey. Even as Abilgail races into her future, her past continues to pull her back Only when she is brought to the edge of her obsession will she be able to come to terms with the tragedy that ignited it.

My Review:
I got this book from Library Thing as part of the Early Reviewers program. Overall, I enjoyed this book but there were some things in it I found a little unbelievable. I found the images of Hailey's suicide to be quite vivid and heartbreaking and I also found that Hailey's struggle with her mental health also to be quite compelling. The relationship between the two sisters was quite remarkable. On one hand Abigail loves Hailey like a mother would while on the other hand she resents her at times for not being able to have her own life apart from taking care of her sister. I found this dynamic to be believable and for this part I really enjoyed Abilgail's character.
On the other hand, there were some parts that I struggled believing. While I was raised Roman Catholic and can appreciate the religion, I found that at the end of the book the whole aspect of communion didn't fit with the rest of the book. Yes, there were religious undertones throughout but I found this part of the book to be a little too over the top. I also found that Abigail's obsession with Tyler to be a little too dramatic. While it fuels the whole book and her reason for going to Canada I think that trying to kill Tyler was again over the top. It would have suffised if she went there for self- discovery or to try to come to terms with what Hailey did by trying to place blame on Tyler. I just think that once Abigail gets to Canada and meets Tyler, the act of actually trying to kill would likely not have been there.
Overall, like I said, I quite enjoyed the book, there are just parts that I could have done without. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5