Where to begin. I wanted to start at the beginning where the first signs of genius were revealed. Give me more. She goes to the United States as a foreign exchange student and lands in an upscale Chicago suburb with the Harding family: Mom is a former pianist, but no longer has time to play; Dad is a little looser on the rules and spends his time smoking a pipe in the den; Daughter Bridget is a little younger than Lou and has perfectly white socks and adores shopping; Son James has acne around his mouth and wants to hate-bang Lou.
Lou is super smart with big dreams and high test scores, a fever for the flavor of Gin and smokes and is pretty socially awkward. Lou bumbles her way through the first half of the year hopped up on gin and making the opposite of good decisions. Love it. Hyland is a totally interesting writer with a head that goes to some fantastically almost-awful places.
View all 6 comments. Jun 20, Chelsea rated it it was ok Shelves: literature. Disclaimer: I have never read The Catcher in the Rye. I never had to read it for school and I really have no inclination of my own to read it. I did not pick this book up because it was supposed to be like Catcher in the Rye because, obviously, that meant nothing to me. It just sounded mildly interesting while perusing the shelves of the used bookstore the boy and I like to frequent, so I bought it.
I have never encountered such a stupid, frustrating heroine in my entire life. The writing quality was good, but the story revolved completely around Lou's stupid decisions, and since she's supposed to have such an enormously high IQ though we never find out exactly what it is it makes it all the worse. She never wants to go back to her family because she hates them and thinks they're awful, even though they don't actually seem to be that bad.
Her parents are unemployed, only receiving some sort of governmental stipend, so the family is pretty poor, but they spend their time delivering Meals on Wheels to old people, and there were several anecdotes about how sweet her mother or father could be. But Lou's real problem appears to be with her sisters. They do sound like they were mean, but Lou didn't have to be involved with them. She also constantly calls them "sluts," a perception that appears to stem from them being interested in sex even though neither seem to have a string of guys; one of them has a fiance, the other a boyfriend, and between the two of them only one past boyfriend is mentioned , smoke, drink, and want to have babies.
And what's even more "what" about it is that Lou acts exactly the same way, except she's apparently afraid of sex for some reason, even though she takes her shirt off and engages in various sexually-related acts throughout the story.
What what what? She also hates people who are prettier than she is, calling them all "low-IQ witches" when she never even spoke to them to determine their intelligence level. She's supposed to be quirky, I think, with her fascination for learning new words, singing, writing notes, and sleeping in spare bedrooms to cure her insomnia, but really she just comes across as your typical socially-inept character, with the bonus that she's supposed to be smart but is a total moron.
Also, everyone--and I mean everyone--in this book seems to be out to get her, or at least she thinks they are, when they all actually have perfectly good reasons for what they do.
Except James and Tom, who are just creepy individuals all around. Oh, and did I mention that I'm not sure I trust Lou as a narrator? She seems to be a compulsive liar and blatantly contradicts herself at several points.
I'm not sure if this was bad continuity or, what seems more likely, Hyland using Lou as an unreliable narrator. Anyway, if you want to read a book about a complete moron who spends too much time trying to be "deep" and makes a lot of bad decisions, this would be a good book to read. The other characters are pretty well done and the writing isn't half bad at all. But Lou's sheer stupidity, contradictions, and lies made me pretty much hate her.
Jan 11, Kelly rated it really liked it. When I studied creative writing at uni, my tutor was M. J Hyland. She always struck me as analytical and deep in thought. She would ask questions of people and really, really study them when they gave the answer.
This book is written with that same analytical, watchful eye. The story is sad and lamenting and being Australian myself a great depiction of a certain kind of Australian family. That constant longing for being something else or being better or more confident, more popular, less awkward, When I studied creative writing at uni, my tutor was M. That constant longing for being something else or being better or more confident, more popular, less awkward, happier is something that touched a nerve with the 16 year old version of me.
Hylands' writing is insightful and touching. Lou is beautiful and ugly at the same time.
It's comforting to read something someone else wrote and be able to feel like you can empathise with them and understand their actions and decisions. I think this book is the beginning of her mastery of that. Shelves: best-loved-contemporay-reads. This is a really curious book, with an odd and at times off-putting heroine. I've read it several differnt times trying to get a firmer grip on what exactly I think of it as a whole, but each time all I can honestly conclude is that there is something very hypnotic and compelling about it.
At every step it was apparent to me how and why she ended up where she did, even though to every once else around her, it would appear that her amazingly high IQ could've afforded her many better opportunities This is a really curious book, with an odd and at times off-putting heroine.
At every step it was apparent to me how and why she ended up where she did, even though to every once else around her, it would appear that her amazingly high IQ could've afforded her many better opportunities. Sep 08, Bria rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heartbreaking book about how difficulty it is to escape from poverty. While the main character Lou has enormous intellect and potential, she is so emotional scarred that her downfall is inevitable. Beautifully written, however sometimes disturbing, as it is writ Heartbreaking book about how difficulty it is to escape from poverty. This was such a random book, with a horrible main character, creepy side characters, and so many unexplained events. The last few pages were even more bizarre than I could have expected and I am left with so many questions to which I will never have the answers to.
The only thing that kept me going was my need to find out WHY any of the characters acted the way they did. Unfortuna This was such a random book, with a horrible main character, creepy side characters, and so many unexplained events. Unfortunately, that was never revealed.
Jan 14, tee rated it liked it Shelves: i-own. I liked this book. Three stars looks like a dismal rating because there's those two empty unclicked little stars looking all sad and shit, but I really did like this book. It was one of those easy-to-read, don't-have-to-think books. But still well written. I had to think about the amount of pain my brain was in, I had to calm various intense emotions, so on and so forth.
All the threads finally tie together. Sep 27, Tanja Berg rated it it was amazing Shelves: murder-mystery. And Jean-Luc Beauvoir, Armand's estranged second in command, is back. I laughed because I use this exact same quote with my students, as an exercise in separating logic from fallacy, in the question of limits. He is also about to close in on corruption in the highest reaches of the Surete de Quebec where he is a Chief Investiga If this is your first Louise Penny, put it down! How the Light Gets In was brilliant and gets a high recommendation from me. The Superindentend Francoeur is waiting to put the last nail in Gamache's coffin, by psyching-out and ruining Inspector Beauvoir, the previous second in command.
No, this was different. People say it was like 'Catcher in the Rye'. Well, I object to that because I loathed Catcher in the Rye though I'm contemplating re-reading it just to ensure I wasn't just hormonally-challenged when I read it the first time around. But I guess it had the same disaffected, apathetic tone. I don't really remember what happened now that a few weeks have passed.
That's not really saying too much considering I have a memory like a sieve. A sieve that is missing the entire sieve part and is just a big gaping hole. But Hyland's book was good, I sort of understood the main character, Lou.
I think I would have enjoyed reading about her disfunctional family back in Australia, more than reading about the Hardings. Once she gets to the States, I found everyone rather bland. James was just creepy, and not in an interesting way - just in a pimply adolescent, spy-cam in the bathroom, rub-up-against-your-leg kind of way. The sister was boring. Do I just expect too much? Am I a high-maintainence book reader? Yes and yes. My high expectations aside, this book was good.