Classics

Book Review: And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None
Author: 
Christie, Agatha
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

A stand alone mystery from the great Agatha Christie. This mystery is
inspired by an Olde English nursery rhyme about ten little soldiers. Reading
the poem can give clues as to what is happening and what happens next but the
mystery is bamboozling and enthralling the whole way through. It is a
complicated psychological thriller that takes an epilogue to understand.
Thrilling from start to finish.

Reviewer's Name: 
Elizabeth

Book Review: The Hundred and One Dalmations

The Hundred and One Dalmations
Author: 
Smith, Dodie
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book falls into my "all-time favorite" stories, something I will come back to again and again because of its charm. It "could" be a Christmas Story, a crime novella, a dog-lovers "tail", or a unique investigation into 1950s English culture. Truthfully, it is all of these. The book opens with an introduction to the main players, Pongo and Misses, and their pets, the Dearly couple. The family is cared for by the two beloved nannies, Nanny Cook (Mrs. Dearly's nanny) and Nanny Butler (Mr. Dearly's nanny) and let a smart flat off Regent's Park. Mr. Dearly is a wizard of finance and unusually rich due to helping the British government get out debt. Mrs. Dearly is a housewife. Both love their dogs immensely and the dogs love their "pets" just as much. Then comes the glorious news that Misses is expecting puppies, what could be better?! Enter Cruella De Vil, an old schoolmate (but not friend) of Mrs. Dearly who has devoted herself to wealth and furs. The second passion encouraged her to marry a furrier...and to explore avenues for exotic furs, even dog! Pongo and Misses come to realize that they and their puppies are a central element of this sinister plot of dogdom. How will it end? You will have to read it to find out!

Reviewer's Name: 
Caitlin

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T.

Book Review: The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday
Author: 
Chesterton, G. K.
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

On the surface, The Man Who Was Thursday has all the markings of a witty thriller satire. Unfortunately, as the subtitle of this work is “A Nightmare,” things don’t necessarily stay coherent to the end. It’s not that The Man Who Was Thursday is terrible, but rather that it loses focus and becomes absurd the longer it continues. And perhaps that’s the greatest tragedy of this book: that it could have been a solid story if it didn’t devolve into a nightmare at the end.

I certainly liked plenty of aspects of the early parts of this book. Infiltrating an anarchist society with day-of-the-week codenames. The revelation that few members of said society were actually who they said they were. The conspiracy and twists as the protagonists and antagonists get flipped on their heads. Of course, this last bit is when things started going downhill. Perhaps it’s that odd British humor that influenced the weird bits, but the story probably could have done without all the randomness near the end. In fact, making the whole thing into a nightmare lessens the overall impact of the story, since there is doubt that any of it happened at all.

I’m sure that books like The Man Who Was Thursday require extensive footnotes and analysis to understand. I’m sure this book is assigned to English classes as an example of deep and thoughtful prose. The problem is that I’m mainly reading for entertainment. I don’t have the time to sit down and pore over all the analysis of a book like this. For my money, I think I’ll stick to the James Bond series for spies with code names infiltrating secret societies. At least then, I know the result is closer to reality than whatever this book contains.

A weird book that could have been an excellent thriller satire, I give The Man Who Was Thursday 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Bell Jar

Book Review: The Bell Jar
Author: 
Plath, Sylvia
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This semi-autobiographical novel is a searing portrait of mental illness. So dark and honest, it brings the reader in to the protagonist's descent into madness and her rise from it. The description of a mental hospital in the 50s was very interesting to me. This was before anti-depressants so many more people suffered there than suffer now. I was particularly fascinated by her description of electroconvulsive therapy. Overall a powerful novel by a one of literature's great writers.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: 1984

1984
Author: 
Orwell, George
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

1984 introduces Winston Smith as the primary character. Smith is a middle-aged man that lives within a dystopian society in April of 1984. Being nearly 4 decades after World War II and just a couple of years after the apparent Atomic Wars, Smith lives through the totalitarian state of Oceania, where is activity is consistently surveyed. At this point, Smith attempts to relocate himself from this totalitarian state in order to put him back to normal behavior.

1984 is another novel involving a dystopia, however, it stands out for its strong character development. The premise of the story is heavily shown through the setting, as it demonstrates a controlled and tyrannical lifestyle.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried book jacket
Author: 
O'Brien, Tim
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Things They Carried follows through the perspective of a soldier within the 23rd Infantry Division. Enlisted during the Vietnam War, the book covers over the soldier's, as well as the platoons experiences throughout. The Things They Carried is a collection of stories that correlate to one another, bringing an ultimate immersion to those that are interested of any war, or historical context.

The Things They Carried is a book that has a deeper insight within the emotional, mental, and physical state of the soldiers that went through the Vietnam War. Having a darker and more serious tone than other novels, it is one that stands out and deserves recognition.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: The Crucible

The Crucible book jacket
Author: 
Miller, Arthur
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Arthur Miller creates a horrifying and suspenseful narrative in his iconic play The Crucible with the intention of realistically depicting a terrible chapter in our country’s history. The play follows a group of young women, led by Abigail Parris, as they accuse hundreds of people of witchcraft, and cause a massive panic among the townspeople.
The Salem Witch trials is a topic that is mostly looked over in our history classes, so this book was extremely interesting in that it depicted an event that I only had surface level knowledge of. I was fascinated with the intense depth of all of the characters, and the almost rational actions of the villains. This book was perfect to read right before Halloween. Despite these things, the narrative can be somewhat slow at times, and while I enjoyed the historical anecdotes embedded in the book, they distracted me from the actual story. However, the rest of the book was great and I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sophie L

Book Review: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
Author: 
Plath, Sylvia
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Sylvia Plath creates vivid,realistic and gripping narrative in The Bell Jar in order to depict the harsh treatment of both women and the mentally ill.
The story follows Esther Greenwood, who is a young and successful woman, slowly descending into madness. It chronicles her interactions with men, other young women, and her mother, and how those things had contributed to her becoming mentally ill.
This book is easily one of my favorites. Throughout the entire story, the readers are in Esther’s mind. We see first hand how she becomes insane.
Sylvia Plath has such an intense and realistic writing style that Esther’s actions almost seem rational. It makes us question our own sanity. This book definitely had the best portrayal of mental illness I have seen so far. It also deals with other intense themes such as the treatment of women in society. Despite these themes being severe and somewhat terrifying, the book remains eloquent and lyrical. The Bell Jar is provocative and heart wrenching at the same time, and I believe it is one of the best books ever written.

Reviewer's Name: 
Sophie L

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