Eleanor Oliphant is Completely NOT Fine!

Hi, Nerdies!

Here’s another novel to read: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a realistic fiction by Gail Honeyman.

Storyline

It’s a story about a girl who thinks she is completely fine when she is completely not!

Her name is Eleanor Oliphant and she is an atypical girl with a complicated scar on her face.   

Everything about her is either unusual or downright strange. She doesn’t have a mobile phone or know what facebook is. And despite her young age, she can’t stand anything part of pop-culture, especially those in-style typed abbreviations! She does speak and write over-formally as she doesn’t even know how to make or have a standard conversation with another human being. And on top of all that, she is also this oddball who thinks of stalking people as merely visiting them, and of liking a stranger as the same as having that very stranger as a boyfriend.

It’s either because of her peculiarity that she has nobody in her life, or the fact that she has nobody in her life makes her bizarre.

Anyhow, she has no friend, no family, basically nobody to talk to. Not that she has anything to talk about. Because never once she thinks that she needs somebody else, or that there’s anything wrong with her life or herself really.

Only through a random IT guy who later becomes an acquaintance who goes by the name of Raymond, Eleanor eventually finds out that she’s been missing out a lot in life. All along, she’s been missing things as basic as having a friend and things as elusive as a scar that she’s been refusing to deal with.   

So.

I enjoyed this book so much!

Especially the characters.

To begin with, I adored all and every El’s peculiarities. I found them so striking that they’re intriguing, and sometimes they’re even amusing! I loved seeing her behaving insanely oddly while thinking that the others were the ones who’re incomprehensible. It was so twisted and exhilarating.

Other than that, I also found Ray and his absurd connection with our pitiful main weirdo so fascinating.

Nothing is normal about their relationship that it’s impossible to even put a name to it. It’s something like a friendship, yet it’s hard to call something friendship when one person in it doesn’t even know what a friendship looks like, let alone know how to act like a friend. But anyway the two end up spending time together thanks to a series of unplanned life events and Ray’s casualness combined. And in span of their times together they do usual stuff friends do; like going to another friend’s house, coming to a bar and having lunch, but somehow those episodes go quite differently in El’s mind.

I swear the never-ending twist-slash-contradiction between the world in and outside El’s thoughts is seriously addictive!

Writing-style

Gail’s writing-style is dramatic, solemnly atmospheric, and meticulous. This novel is not titanic-tragic, nor armageddon-dramatic, but it has just enough drama and secrets to engage readers in and out. If it were a dish, I’d say this book was very well-seasoned!

The story runs not exactly slowly but it’s not a fast-pacing narrative either. It’s more like being magnetized slow. The solemn vibes will give you the sense of right time and ambiance to devour the story properly.

Narrator

If you’re on Scribd, I’ll say you better listen to this book’s audio version. It has the best narrator I’ve listened to! The kind of narrator that totally turned me back into a preschooler by listening to her narration!

That’s it about Eleanor and Ray and see you guys next week!

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A Sweet Love Letter: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Hi, lovers! I love you all like lovers. Really, I love you, and you, and you, and you I don’t know but I could definitely see loving you. But most of all, I love Love.  


Jack Mc.Farland, Will and Grace

Dear Nerdies,

There is this new Korean American author who writes sweet sweet love stories, her name is Jenny Han.

Sometime in December last year, I casually started to read one of her book, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It is a story of two highschoolers who aren’t supposed to be a cute couple naturally, yet they are.

Little did I know that I was getting myself into a chain reading.

Once I finished reading the book, I figured out that it was a part of a trilogy. Of course a lover like me would never leave a love story hanging. Hence for the next two days, this too-old lover did absolutely nothing but finishing all three books of the trilogy, voraciously swallowing P. S. I Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

You know how sometimes when you read a love story, your heart flutters so much as if you’re the one in the story? This story will do exactly that to you. Repeatedly. Addictive-ly. (if that’s even a word)

I read the story. I smiled. I cringed. I laughed. I cried. A lot. I hated. I loved. I climaxed.

Love books are totally porn for us girls. And girls, these books are a good porn. They will satisfy your lust of love. 

And then I repeated from reading to climaxing over. And over again. And again. Until I lost counts.

Yes, these books are that sweet and addictive.

I think you really should read these books. Also please keep in mind that the right order is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before first, P. S. I Love You second, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean is last. Make sure you don’t mess up the order, or else you will know what you shouldn’t too early and surely that will ruin the mystery for you.

And you’re supposed to read all three books, (again, it’s a trilogy!) because I am afraid the ending of the first book will leave you high and dry. You hate that feeling, don’t you? Well, I know I do. So just think of the three books as one big book, cause that’s exactly how it is.  

Last but not least, to say that the real ending of the story is beautiful is an understatement.

P.S.

I intentionally write this post letter-like, because I still can’t forget Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, and their teenage love.

A Cursed Novel: To Kill A Mockingbird.

Hi, Nerdies!

I don’t often enjoy classics very much, but To Kill A Mockingbird is such an exemplary piece. Thereby I am hoping to persuade another person to enjoy this heart-breaking narrative through this post.  

So, no spoiler ahead.

Synopsis

The theme is racism, and the story takes place in Alabama in 1930s. The story teller is a six-year-old girl named Scout Finch. Scout lives with her brother Jem and their lawyer father, Atticus. 1930s is a period when people are still in many ways deeply affected by cotton days, hence there is an apparent schism between white and black population in their neighbourhood.

One day, a girl from a white riff-raff family reports to the town sheriff that a black man rapes her. The only witness is the girl’s father. Predictably enough, prevalent predilection in the neighbourhood is to believe the white statement despite the other conflicting facts. Meanwhile, Atticus is appointed to be the defendant’s attorney. And he begs to differ from the victim’s report.

Subject-wise

There’s nothing new in both slavery and post-slavery inequity to be weaved in a narrative. But as much as slavery is such a common subject, this novel however is nowhere near common.

Also common is that through the subject of injustice, an author hopes to let people feel a glimpse of the rage, to break people’s hearts, to shift people’s perspectives and perhaps even to inspire people to do something consequently.  

What’s uncommon is that these wishes are impeccably materialized in To Kill A Mockingbird.

The Curse

If I were to pick one word to describe the novel, the word would be perfect. And I don’t use that word loosely. It’s the kind of perfection which will send you right into a reading slump after finishing the book.  

And the crazy thing is, I don’t think the readers would be the only party affected, I honestly think the perfection of the book cursed the author herself. In fact, To Kill A Mockingbird is the only novel the late Harper Lee ever published to this day. Go Set A Watchman was published in 2015, but later was admitted as the first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee worked on several different drafts in between 1960 ( the year To Kill A Mockingbird was published in ) and 2015, but ended up discarding the drafts as not satisfying enough.

It’s like the first book was so great, she felt people would expect more from her. Which was probably felt overwhelming to her. She was so worried of not being able to create another quite the same perfection that she kept trying while doubting herself too much along the way that she ended up failing to finish any new book. Doesn’t that seem like a curse to you?  

That probably wasn’t what happened with Lee at all, but well, it seems like a plausible scenario to me. #smilingsheephisly

Anyway, this book is that intense.

Quotes

Among all the great things in the book, I love, I adore, and I dream to be Atticus.

Because.

Atticus Finch is a father.

“Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.”

Scout Finch

He is simple and honest.

Atticus Finch is a wise father.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

Atticus Finch

He is sensible and intelligent.

And the most important thing is, he is kind.

“An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ‘cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things … Atticus, he was real nice….”

Scout Finch

“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

Atticus Finch

The final message is that to simply be kind to others requires courage. But still, it’s important to be kind anyway.

Thank you for reading.  

A Comment On You:Obsessive and Chilling

Hi, Nerdies!

This one is a novel. About a stalker. By Caroline Kepnes.

Nothing gory, only crazy and disturbing. If you are into psychotic stuff like me, then this novel is definitely for you.

I read this novel being enticed by its numerous good reviews which were literally strewn everywhere I looked. I found one or two bad reviews, but mostly those were because the reviewers couldn’t stand the level of creepiness.

I think this book is ingenious. The story is narrated by its villain, Joe, which makes it such a riveting account. I feel like it’s kinda fun and exciting and creepy of course to know what’s actually going on in his mind and to sort of peek into why he does what he does.  I am sure there are stalkers like Joe out there that actually have immediate access to our daily life. And to just think that any of us can easily be a Beck (the girl in the story) is insane. 

In short, I thought I knew what a stalker is, but really, I didn’t. You want to know what a stalker is, you must read this book.

And by the way. If you want a maximum level of creepiness, I suggest you to watch Nightcrawler right after you finish the book. It is a movie starring and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. Don’t ask why. Watch it and you’ll know why.

Thank you for reading, and if you like my writing even a bit, please share, or follow, or comment, or like. But even if you do nothing, I still thank you!

Here is a synopsis from Scribd:

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works he is instantly smitten.

But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes and much more to Beck than her perfect façade. And the obsessive relationship quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences.

A chilling account o fun relenting, terrifying deceit, Caroline Kepnes’ You is a thriller more perversely clever and dangerously twisted than any YOU have ever read.

IT – Book Review

IT

A thriller novel by Stephen King, rated 4.5/5 in Amazon.

Synopsis

On one stormy day in Derry, a boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes goes out of his house to sail his newly made paper boat in the rain. Not long after, he lost his beloved boat to the pouring rain. While searching for his boat, an eerie voice inside a storm drain calls his name. He peeks into the storm drain and he sees a clown with silver eyes holding his boat. It invites him to come to the sewer to get his boat. The next thing happens is the kid discovered lifeless by the storm drain with one of his arm ripped off.

Georgie is not the only victim. Kids are mysteriously disappearing in Derry. There are children who witness a ghostly clown claiming those kids’ lives, but no adult believes in ghosts.

But Bill, Georgie’s big brother, believes in It. He knows that It kills his brother and other kids in Derry. It senses kids’ fears, and devours scared children. Only fearless Bill and his loser friends are willing to challenge It. They believe in It, they chase It and they fight It.

Comments:

SPOILER ALERT!

Huge fan of the story.

First, I think the idea of Pennywise (the clown) taking different shapes depending on kids’ fears and phobias is genius. It shows that the war they’re fighting is in fact an imagination war. This makes perfect sense because we are talking about kids here. Kids are innocent and imagining is what they master at. All confrontations happen in reality as Pennywise actually kills the kids yet all of them happen in thoughts keeping the adults out of the picture. (Because of course adults are not capable of imagination) Children’s naive boldness makes the battle they’re exclusively fighting without adults intensely dangerous.

Suspense-wise, I think killing kids is never NOT scary. Kids and blood are just two perfect elements of great suspense. OMG, I can’t believe I said that. And as if slaughtering children is not scary enough, the bullies in the story do some real gory stuff like they are not only 11 year olds. Henry actually carves a letter using a knife on Ben’s belly. And he initially plans to carve not just A letter but letterS! I even needed to pause at the moment Henry poisons Mike’s dog.

About the ending, I can’t say I am stunned by the idea of a transcendent gigantic spider villain, perchance because I am not a fan of spiders. But, considering how unreasonable my partial judgment is, the ending is otherwise impeccable. At the beginning of the story Pennywise appears as a clown, but going towards the end of the story, it is gradually revealed that Pennywise is in fact not a human being. Pennywise’s real form turning out to be a divine entity is the perfect culmination of the supernatural events that have been happening like when Bev’s crazy dad not seeing all the blood splattered in their bathroom or when the kids’ scars coming back after Mike’s call.

Fan of the characters.

Stuttering Bill is truly one exceptional character. For starter, he stutters and you supposedly can’t be a cool kid that way yet he is the coolest one to his gang. And also King portrays him as a precociously mature kid. You can see he is indeed a grown up when he decides not to show his fear because he’s afraid it will shake his already scared friends. (Referring to when they get lost on their way home from It’s nest) He is the same age with the others yet he is distinctly and specially different. He leads his friends and he decides on matters, he is essentially the losers’ foundation.

Other than Bill’s rare personality, the team’s chemistry is also worth pointing out. The admirable trust among them is specifically shown in every situation they get themselves in. I especially adore how they constantly amuse and consistently love one another. My most memorable love moment is when Bev and Ben hiding from the three idiotic bullies in the clubhouse. There, I can feel Bev loves Ben deeply, acknowledging yet ignoring Ben’s love for her. I find the love between them is quite indescribable yet fascinating. Though, I do feel strange that King picks sex as a way to picture the supposedly unbreakable bond among them. I hope I read it wrong, but in case I got the right idea, near the end of the book Bev has sex with literally everyone in the team. And isn’t that quite extreme for 11-year-olds? But again, I am probably a prude.

There is this one small hitch though. Several characters felt a little bit unnecessary to me. I am specifically talking about Audra and Tom, and probably Patrick Hockstetter. Audra and Tom appear like in one chapter, do almost nothing and straight away get killed. And Patrick’s lunacy can perhaps be bestowed to one of the other three idiots. I just can’t imagine the story being different without them.

Not a fan of the length.

The book contains 1600ish pages on Scribd, the longest novel I’ve ever read to this day. Not that it’s a bad thing, but the thing is I don’t feel like it’s needed.

Maybe you’d tell me that I should not be the one talking considering this lengthy review. But well, this is my turn to judge, so I am going to judge AWAAYY ..

King spent some first chapters to narrate a couple of murder cases, such as Adrian Mellon’s case and Black Club case. I was a bit disappointed that many pages are written about people who are not going to show for the second time for the rest of the story. And all of those pages only to make a point that a massacre happens every 27 years in Derry. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely get it that you need some pages to build a strong base to the story, but I am just saying maybe fewer pages will make do.

Generally I love this book. King is a remarkable thriller writer. Both the story and the characters are meticulously detailed written and King patiently builds the suspense ensuring readers engagement. If the novel didn’t scare me enough, I would totally blame my age. Other than that, I will definitely read King’s other pieces and I obviously will recommend IT to others.

The Kite Runner Review

The Kite Runner cover

A historical drama novel by Khaled Hosseini.

The Kite Runner tells a heart throbbing story of unusual friendship of Amir and his servant Hassan. They were two teenagers from Kabul, Afghanistan who grew up, and spent all their childhood and adolescence together. Yet there were so many differences between them. Amir was a rich scholar while Hassan was an uneducated poor boy. Amir was a soft kid while Hassan was always the courageous one. And most importantly, Amir was a Pashtun while Hassan was a Hazara. Hazara was a peripheral ethnic minority in Afghanistan which later would be genocidal massacred by Taliban. Amir delighted Hassan’s company yet it was painfully shameful for a Pashtun like him to admit that the Hazara was like a brother to him. On one fateful day, Amir consciously left his brother to be persecuted by another Pashtun, an unjustifiable decision which soon would change their relationship forever.

Later on, when Russia invaded Afghanistan and plundered its freedom and peace, fate decided the two boys to be separated. Amir moved to the great United States while Hassan stayed behind. Notwithstanding the detachment from his sinful and gratuitous past, Amir could never find closure of what he did in Afghanistan.

Besides the great story the novel narrates, it also recounts historical moments that took place in Afghanistan. It describes the peaceful Afghanistan before all the invasions and the uninhabitable dilapidated Afghanistan after all the bombings. I very much believe it includes the actual depiction of Afghans current dreary condition. The Kite Runner will not just put you in a roller coaster of feelings but it will also arouse deep condolences towards the wretched Afghans. As a matter of fact, the novel is a product of an appalling trip to Afghanistan which eventually turned the author an activist himself. Khaled established a foundation which aims to help building schools and hospitals for people in Afghanistan.

Commentary:

Story-wise, I was completely engrossed in the plot. Khaled has this exquisitely captivating writing style, it almost convinced me that his tale is intertwined with poems. As to the main character, Amir, Khaled precisely made him a human. Amir is not a wicked person indeed, but he is a human who makes foul and revolting decisions now and then. To me personally, a human chief character gives the story a realistic notion which I prefer to one dimensional narrative where a good character equals to a no flaw personality. Khaled has managed to convey a fictitious story as if it’s a true one.

Totally unrelated, I am an Indonesian. And I am astounded by how much I can relate to Afghans’ customs. I recognize several Farsi words albeit I barely know anything about Farsi language. We also practice some of their traditions here in Indonesia. Even we also make similar jokes to theirs. Thus I think The Kite Runner would perhaps offer more fulfilment to Indonesians.

– Sky –