Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book Review Times Two

I've managed to finish reading two fiction books in the past week.

The first, and my favorite of the two, is Skyward

by Mary Alice Monroe.

This is not a "heavy" book but was an enjoyable read. It's the story of a former ER nurse who, seeking change, accepts a job as a caregiver for a young diabetic child. She has to confront many of her own demons as part of this job, as does the child's father, who runs a wild-bird clinic and is fairly oblivious to human relationships, including the one he has with his own daughter. Predictably, a romance develops; just as predictably, there are complications with that. You can see it all coming. The most original thing here was the backdrop of the bird sanctuary. Learning about the birds was fascinating to me. The story was not compelling but it was pretty good. I'd call it a "beach read" if you're looking for one this summer.

Miracle at St. Anna
Miracle at St. Anna
by James McBride was a tougher go for me. Perhaps it was the material: it centered on some absolutely horrific events of World War II Italy. In that sense there was a good deal that reminded me of Painted Bird
Painted Bird

by Jerzy Kosinski. The location was different, but a story centered on the terrible things an abandoned child must experience during a war nonetheless. I unsuccessfully tried to find on a map where this story must have happened, as the author explains in the preface that this novel was based on real events. I would recommend this book to a friend but I would also give this caveat: this book is not for the "weak of stomach" or anyone expecting the true "happy ending."

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