“Still life with tornado” A.S. King

Rated 1 star * ARC. Published October 11, 2016. Dutton Books. 295 p.

stilllifewithtornadoI really didn’t like this book. I thought it was very disjointed, and the storyline dragged. Weird and strange, sort of like a modern “Man of La Mancha,” I was left confused rather than enlightened. The tornado on the cover described me before, during and after reading it – because I felt nothing was truly resolved but, instead, shoved aside and (supposedly) forgotten. At the end everything was suddenly tied up in a neat bow, and life was now good. Huh?! Really?!

I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not. I wish I had been a “not.”

“Death, Dickinson, and the Demented life of Frenchie Garcia” Jenny Torres Sanchez

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published May 28, 2013. Roaring Press. 271 pp.

DeathDickinsonandtheDementedLifeofFrenchieGarciaSeventeen-year-old Frenchie is obsessed with death. She lives near a cemetery, so constantly sees funeral processions. Every time one goes by she wonders how they died, what they look like in their casket, what happens when they’re buried, and other morbid thoughts. She also spends her free time in the cemetery talking to the grave of Emily Dickinson. Not THE Emily Dickinson, but a great stand in for Frenchie’s love of Emily’s death poems.

One night, out of the blue, Andy Cooper (the love of her life) asks her to hang out with him. They have a Great Adventure leaving Frenchie aglow with thoughts of their future. Unfortunately Andy commits suicide, and a part of Frenchie (along with their future) dies with him.

Torres Sanchez does an excellent job probing Frenchie’s tortured thoughts about Andy, Emily, and death, helping readers make sense of their own tangled feelings for life and the problems it sometimes holds.

For Mature readers, aged 16 and older.

“Emily’s Dress and other missing things” Kathryn Burak

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published October 2, 2012. Roaring Book Press. 232 pp.

I couldn’t decide if I really wanted to keep reading, or give up due to boredom. I stuck it out and can only say it was definitely not worth it.

Fans of Emily Dickinson may find some joy in it while those like myself, who barely remembered reading her work in high school, will completely miss all the seemingly obvious references to her poetry. In a nutshell, Claire is very upset because her mother committed suicide and left her to deal with finding the body. She didn’t deal very well, and is now in Amherst, Massachusetts (former home of Emily Dickinson) with her father hoping to finish up her second attempt at her senior year of high school. Claire finds herself drawn to the Emily Dickinson Museum, and spends her evenings sneaking into it.

While wearing Emily’s priceless dress, she is startled out of her reverie by Tate, her English student teacher. The two of them run out of the Museum, into the night, then spend the rest of the book trying to figure out how to return the dress. Hmmm. Has anyone ever heard of the U.S. Post Office? But, I digress…

Intermingled with what to do with the missing dress is the mystery of how Claire’s former best friend Richy disappeared. Clues seem to fall into place, but between all that was going on with Claire’s rambling thoughts, Emily’s poetry, Claire’s poetry, as well as Tate’s elusiveness, I had rapidly lost interest.

So, I’ll leave it up to you readers to see if you want to Read it or Not. I should have Not.