My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m giving it three stars because–well I don’t know. I sorta feel obligated to compliment the writing. I mean the writing itself was by any definition phenomenal. I just couldn’t get into the story, and I have no idea why. I have no clue why so much was happening (I mean there was a fricking terrorist attack) and I was still so bored. It was just Holden Caufield^n if n=infinity. Like Theo just didn’t change. Well–spoilers below
He changed after his mom died obviously but that was early in the book. From there the rest of the book was just angst. So much angst. So much pining, so much self-loathing and so much angst. Again, it’s not like this wasn’t unjustified, but it was a long book, and a lot of angst. It didn’t make the stakes feel any higher, it just made me dislike Theo. I don’t mind disliking the protagonist, but there was just nothing to latch on to. I mean he was a pretty reactive protagonist in the end (especially during the climax). Like he killed Martin, sure, but he didn’t steal the painting back, or set up the job. He just got carried around by Boris, shoved in the right place at the right time, then yeah he shot a guy at the end to give him some action but after that it was back to the angst.
I was disappointed by how unimportant Las Vegas turned out to be. I mean all it did was send Theo on a life of drugs and all the important things to happen in Vegas happened to Boris after Theo left so we didn’t even see it. All we saw was drug use, angst, and how pathetic his father was.
I don’t know. I’m talking in circles now. There’s no doubt Donna Tartt can write circles around any of her contemporaries but I just struggled to get into this book.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was so close to being my favorite book of all time but it just couldn’t dethrone A Confederacy of Dunces. Before anyone gets confused, these two books are nothing alike so don’t think I’m comparing them. Anyway, the story of Kavalier and Clay is one of family, loss, and self-discovery.
Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay are comic artists in New York City before, during, and after American involvement in World War 2.
The story of Kavalier feels more tied to reality. Throughout the book, he is just looking for something tangible to give his anger and frustrations an outlet. He feels guilt for being the only member of his family to escape Czechoslovakia and escape the Nazis. His success in America furthers that guilt because it should be something he shares with his family and can’t even fight them as an American until Pearl Harbor.
His partner and cousin, Sam, on the other hand, supports Kavalier’s fight but never feels the same burden as Joe who is not just trying to fight for and save the Jewish people, but specifically his family.
It’s a whirlwind of emotions and well worth the read.