Just trying to catch up on those last books read in 2010 which I still haven't had time to review. Here are three mini reviews.
The Haunting by Margaret Mahy
I had wanted to read this ever since I had read Ana's review over at Things Mean A Lot. After reading Ana's review, I knew that this wouldn't follow the traditional ghost story route. The first couple of chapters had me eerily surprised though. The book is written from the point of view of Barney, who I guess is about 10 or 11 years old and feels that he is being haunted by his mysterious Great Uncle Cole, whom he has never met. He is frightened as any child would be and Mahy really manages to convey his fear with ease. I actually felt like a child whilst reading it and it took me back to the ghost stories of my childhood, such as The Haunting of Cassie Palmer by Vivien Alcock.
Barney confides in his sister, Tabitha, who is shocked by the changes occurring in Barney. She makes it her business to try and solve why this is happening to Barney by approaching her Great Uncles to see if they can help. The book takes a surprising turn which I really didn't see coming, even though I know it wouldn't be a straightforward ending.
Mahy is excellent at providing the reader with a real understanding of family life. Her writing is thoughtful and she shows the children of today as they really are. You could easily step into Barney's shoes and understand why he behaved the way he did. I loved this modern family and I found myself easily able to picture them in their home.
This may be a children's book, but I would definitely recommend adult's reading it. Such a thin book, yet packed full to the brim with suspense, mystery and fear.
Three Men In a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.
Now I know this is a worldwide classic that has been published many many times over the years and is loved by a wide majority, but it didn't really do a lot for me. I found it funny and entertaining to begin with, but then I found myself getting bored with it and to be honest I struggled helplessly to the end. I felt like an untrained marathon runner, crawling to the end of a very long race.
The book follows the adventures of three men and a dog as they travel along the River Thames by rowing boat, camping out in the evenings. Each chapter deals with another part of I their journey and seems to be full of facts about each area of London they pass. There is absolutely no plot to this book what so ever and I think that is why I struggled to get into it, it just didn't seem to be going anywhere for me. I think the only parts of this book I actually really enjoyed were the chapter summaries at the beginning of each chapter, which seemed to go into great detail about each one's content.
I almost feel that there must be something wrong with my sense of humour, because after that first chapter, it did absolutely nothing for me, where as others have cried with laughter at it. So I really wouldn't pay too much attention to my opinion of this book as I seem to be in a minority.
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico
Mrs Harris is very down to earth cleaning lady who gives the impression of the cockney Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady. When she opens her mouth to speak, all you can think of is the real East End.. She is an adorable character who is hard working and is as honest as the day is long. She works hard for her money and yet lives simply until she lays eyes upon a Dior dress. A need like no other takes over her and she will stop at nothing until she owns a similar dress. Never mind, that it will take her a couple of years to save for it, never mind that she will never be able to wear it anywhere; she wants one and she will have one. Mrs Harris goes to great lengths in order to realise her dream and eventually she finds herself walking in the hallways of the House of Dior. At first the staff see her as a ghastly commoner, not fit to walk in their building, but they all soon fall in love with her East End charm that warms the cockles of their hearts.
The book is set during the 1930's and it is interesting to watch as Mrs Harris single handedly pulls down class barriers, no one can resist her charm, wit and her wonderful view of life.
This is a delightful read which leaves you feeling warm inside. There are a few upsets within the last couple of chapters, but Mrs Harris is not one to be depressed for long. I hope to read the rest of the books in this series soon.