“My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057.”
Christopher Boone is a a special boy and the story that he has to tell is even more so. He’s a boy who hates the color yellow. He doesn’t like when people touch him, even his own parents. He doesn’t like when people lie and he loves animals; especially dogs. So when Christopher finds his neighbors dog, Wellington, murdered one afternoon he goes on an adventure to find out who did the deed. Along the way he does things that he isn’t too comfortable with, like talking to strangers and traveling on his own, but it is all for the sake of detecting.
It’s an easy read, even though there are a few math problems mixed in (anyone who knows me knows that I am horrible at math, good thing he explains what he’s talking about), and you are along for the ride right with Christopher. In the end he does find out who killed Wellington and he also uncovers a few family secrets as well. Once you are immersed into Christopher’s world it’s hard to see the world the same again.
“Now I understood the thing I’ve overlooked; the point wasn’t to become a geisha, but to be one. To become a geisha… well, that was hardly a purpose in life. But to be a geisha… I could see it now as a stepping-stone to something else.”
I have finished Memoirs which is a milestone for me, because it means that I am officially 1/4 of the way through The List. This book took me a while to get through mostly because of all the details in the beginning of the novel about becoming a geisha and geisha practices. I will say that I do know more now about the ways of the geisha and I think that all of the details, no matter how small, were needed to show the painstaking lives that those women went through.
This book also makes it quite clear that geisha are not what they are commonly seen as, prostitutes. A geisha is there to entertain and flirt with the gentlemen and that is all, anything more could taint her reputation and ruin her career. A geisha also can not fall in love. Well they can fall in love but they can not act on their emotions or they will be ruined for the rest of their time as a geisha. This is where Sayuri runs into problems. She starts to have feelings for a man known as the Chairman who is the business partner of the man that wants to become her danna. A danna, for lack of a better description, is like a “sugar daddy” he is usually married to someone else but makes sure the geisha has everything they need. Food, clothing, a place to live.
Towards the end of the novel Sayuri is about to do something that will change and ruin her life and prospects as a geisha forever, because she would rather do this than spend another moment without the Chairman in her life. I understand that “you can’t choose who you love” and “when you find that person you will do anything for them”, but the problem I had with is is that the Chairman doesn’t show a whole lot of interest toward her, in that way. So, for her to throw her best chances of comfort and happiness away on a man that may not even return her feelings is quite ballsy.
All in all I did enjoy this book and like any great book that has made it on The List thus far; it has a twist of an ending that will keep you smiling. You also learn a few things about Japan and the Kyoto geisha way of life.
“Curiouser and Curiouser.”
I started reading this one a few years back when it felt like my life was getting “curiouser and curiouser” and yet I couldn’t keep my mind in the book for more than two seconds.
One of the few shorter books on The List I read “Alice” in about two days. It is filled with the inner workings of a child’s imagination and some times makes you think “Is what I’m seeing really what I’m seeing?” Short and to the point “Alice” brings you back to childhood where rabbits can talk and a deck of cards could be pieces in a royal court. At times nonsensical, it all comes together in the end, much as “The Life of Pi” sort of blind sides you with an ending, so does “Alice” provide a method to the madness.
“I went there uncertainly, for it was foreign ground and there was a tiny, priggish, warning voice in my ear which in the tones of Collins told me it was seemly to hold back. But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity…”
Like a few other books written in this same time period I found it hard to really get into this one during the first few chapters. Mainly when Charles is in the military and Mr. Waugh throws a lot of jargon at you. But once you get passed that it is a beautifully written novel of love and bonds of family and religion. While at University Charles Ryder meets Sebastian Flyte and they quickly become inseparable. There are faint hints towards the fact that the two may have been a little more than friends, and whether or not that is the case you still know that they have a love for one another, be it strictly friendship or otherwise. Charles, at the disgust of Sebastian, quickly falls in love with all of the Flyte family which causes Sebastian to head down a slippery slope of alcohol and pre-marital conquests.
You become attached to Sebastian and a teddy bear that he carries with him by the name Aloysius, but half way through they disappear, barely to be spoken of again. It’s barely even explained why the pair are barely spoken of again, except for the fact that Sebastian is now a full fledged alcoholic. Even with the removal of Sebastian and his companion I felt that the novel kept pace with it’s downward spiral of well off family and their estate. I was right there with them until the very end when, it felt to me, that the author simply just needed to end the novel and so just ended it. I was left with a lot of questions. Not sure if I’ll be reading this one again, but it kept me engaged and it earns it’s place on The List.