The first thing everyone has to say about Pygmy has to do with, of course, the broken English. It is extremely hard to get used to. It took me three times to get rolling, but once I settled in to the cadence of the work, I rather liked the writing style. I found that he created some astonishing word combinations that made me laugh out loud, and think very hard on how we, as Americans, must look to outsiders.
Now- that's out of the way. Please read the following text delicately, as you COULD construe this to be a spoiler, though I'll give no plot details at all.
I've read all of Palahniuk's books. I began with Haunted, and ended with Fight Club. I've read Survivor three times, and never loses its punch for me. Consequently, when CP puts out a new book, I have come to expect a certain thing. I don't go to Chuck's well to walk away refreshed and joyous. I read Chuck's work in an effort to turn myself inside out with every page. This novel, rape and United Nations notwithstanding, is the feel-good book of the year.
Let us just say that, if you are looking for that ending that leaves you hollow and sick and alone in the world- this is MOST ASSUREDLY not it. And if you're looking for the characteristic gore and horror in his writings, you won't find it here.
You will find plenty of admonitions against the evils of America, and far more directed toward the church. But really- is that so hard these days? That seems too banal at this point- too simple. I can get all that from The Daily Show, though admittedly John Stewart isn't as funny as Pygmy.
Palahniuk remains my second favorite author today. He is always thought provoking and witty, and always challenges the reader. Unfortunately, this time, I felt far too much a member of Team Cedar, when I really wanted to be closer to Agent 67.
This is not a true crime story. It is a story of a man searching for some kind of meaning through the parents that abandoned him. The author is so emotional and overblown about his "mom" and "dad" that he cannot disconnect enough to realize he is literally destroying the lives of everyone around him with this unfounded Zodiac connection. There are no facts here. Only hand-wringing, and scenes of "tears were streaming down my face."
I would have cut out everything involving his biological family tree, and imagined stories and conversations about those people. It was not relevant to the story, and was entirely too long.
Although I am sad for Gary, and I'm sure he is a nice guy at heart, I wish he was able to let this go. Was his "father" a pedophile, kidnapper and document forger? Seems so. Was he the Zodiac? Highly unlikely. Stop bothering the SFPD. There are people being murdered RIGHT NOW that need their attention. Leave them alone. And his poor biological mother. She looks for her son in order to make amends and have some closure on the most difficult part of her life, and her son embroils her in some drama about the Zodiac - complete with midnight phone calls, angry emails, and demands about information. Give this woman some peace. I've read a lot of true crime books, and many made me angry - but this was the first that made me angry at the author.
First off- let me state that this book contains no information whatsoever about Heaven's Gate, Waco, Jonestown or anything of the sort. It is an extensive discussion of the current pentecostal and evangelical movements in the Christian church. While the things discussed here are radical, they are by no means fringe cult activities that lead to the deaths of church members.
Second- this book is designed for Christians only. I don't mean that in an elitist sense at all, but rather, if you are not currently a Christian, then you probably already think everything discussed is loony and you don't need further evidences of that.
Third- while the author is making some excellent and quite salient points, they are repeatedly overshadowed by his insistence upon using acronyms and alliteration. That might work for young people who need to memorize plant phyla, it's not needed for intelligent adults who are trying to make critical decisions about their faith. It becomes a bit tedious.
It might sound like I hated this book, which I did not. I thought it was quite useful and agreed with the majority of the author's points. It simply wasn't what I thought it was going to be. Christians who are curious about the fruits of the spirit absolutely SHOULD give this a listen and evaluate the material for themselves. But if you're looking for a discussion about modern day cults, this isn't it.
I had no idea how very, very white I was. It was a little shocking, quite frankly. I can't tell you how many times I shook my head and laughed at myself all the way through this book.
My only complaint is that it gets a little repetitive. 100 things would have, in my opinion, been better than 150, as there was some overlap with a few chapters.
The narrator was PERFECT. The only person that MIGHT have been a better choice is John Hodgeman, but that's only because he's the whitest man that ever lived.
A friend asked me to describe this book, and I had a hard time doing so, honestly. Ultimately what I said was this, and I think it fits darn well, quite frankly:
"You know when you're sitting at home, minding your own business, and all of a sudden, you see a large spider out of the corner of your eye? You get up and launch a book at it, killing it. And five minutes later, when you've resumed minding your own business, you can't help but glance back over into that exact same spot every 90 seconds for the remainder of the night - as if that spider is going to come back for revenge, or it's buddies are going to come looking for him and stage an assault. Well - the entire book feels like THAT."
I hope that makes sense. I promise - it will after you read The Road.
First off, let me say - Andrew Vachss is incapable of writing an imperfect novel. He has long been my favorite author, though I'm just recently trying his material out on audiobook. As with any Vachss novel, you'll have to pay close attention to every single word. If you zone out here and there, it won't make sense later on. For this reason, I prefer his work in print - because it forces me to grab on to every word.
Great narrator, though, with a very interesting take on The Mole's voice. Not at all how I've heard that voice in my head for well over a decade and a half, but it kind of made sense once I heard his version. Very nice work on The Prof as well.
I would recommend this audiobook over Two Trains Running, primarily due to the narrator. He keeps you pulled in, and that will give you a good introduction to the pace and cadence of a Vachss novel.
This is a fast-paced book with an engaging plot line and a colorful main character (Pendergast). I won't say that the story is breaking any new ground, or that you won't be able to figure out what's going on before the twist is revealed - but if you're looking for something to keep your mind engaged while you're up to something else - this book will certainly do that. Great narrator too. I normally hate it when narrators try to affect an accent, but I thought it was very well done. Fun little book.
While this book's story is very interesting, compelling and disturbing, I found the narration BARELY tolerable. It is written and read in an Australian slang, absolutely riddled with words like mate, sheila, grog, crikey, de facto (slang for boyfriend apparently), copper, etc. It's the equivalent of listening to a book in Ebonics. The murder itself is fascinating, though.
If you've read Dr. Bass' previous non-fiction book, Death's Acre, you know exactly what you will be getting yourself into, but with substantially more grit. This is not as much a personal story of Dr. Bass as it is hard facts about tough cases. Dr. Bass never disappoints, and I am forever grateful for the work he has done in the forensic field, as we all should be. Good book, excellent man.
While I agree with the majority of what is being set forth in this book, I found the author to be ego-inflated and repetitive. Also, it was rather tedious that her primary solution to all the problems in the judicial system seem to point towards more laws, which clearly will ultimately be either ignored or unenforced. The cases cited here are cases you will already know well (OJ Simpson, the Ramsey case) and little more can be said in reference to those cases than we have already heard ad nauseum. I did hope that this book would shed some additional light into the darkness of a severely flawed court system, but I found that more can be illuminated simply by reading the paper. Again, I think what Ms. Murphy is saying is correct- however, not revolutionary by any means.
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