I’ve been reading. But I find it hard to review some sorts of books. In reviewing them I always feel as if I am telling the story and thus I am never sure anyone will then want to read!
Recently I’ve finished a few books but two that I actually liked well enough to review.
Everything Asian by Sung J. Woo.
This book is well written and absorbing.
The main character of the book is David Kim, a 12 year old from Korea. His father went to the US several years before the rest of his family to establish a business. The story starts with David, his older sister and Mother coming to America and re-starting their life with their father. The book of course, touches on many aspects that will be familiar to most immigrants, or children of immigrants. Woo, however, manages to move beyond the simple issues of problems with language and cultural nuances to also bring forth some very true to life family dynamics, that ring true for all families- not just those of immigrants.
I did really enjoy this book and I found it did keep my attention. My only criticism is that after one year in America, the story abruptly ends. When the book ended I sort of felt like there was another chapter or two out there that was missing. This is Woo’s first novel, and prior to this he has mostly written short stories, so I suppose it is not surprising that the book read more like a short story than a novel. Still, I do think it is worth a read.
Jane Smiley Horse Heaven
I was surprised that I liked this book at all. I had read Smiley’s A thousand Acres, and returned it back to the library without finishing it.
Horse Heaven, though, was a very interesting read. Smiley follows the lives of several young thoroughbreds as they progress through the horse racing world. Along the way we meet, and enter into the worlds of the Jockeys, Trainers,breeders, Horse lovers, wealthy owners, and bettors. It was surprising to me that Smiley introduced so many characters, both animal and human, and I was able as the reader to pretty much keep track of them. She manages to show the human side of all of these people who are often portrayed in stereotypical ways.
I learned several interesting things about horse racing, and amazing things about horse travel! Smiley is a good writer, and she does have the credentials from Iowa State to prove it. It makes reading her novel easy and enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this book, though I am not sure I can totally recommend Smiley as a novelist, since I really found her A thousand Acres to really drag…..
So there are two book reviews….of sorts.