Thursday, September 22, 2011


The Confession

Like a stick of dynamite. That's how I'd describe this book. Just like the dynamite stick in cartoons, with the really long fuse, then it disappears, and just as you think the dynamite will not blows off Wylie Coyote's head! This book is like that, only in a good way?

It starts off with a confession, as the title implies, and the clock starts ticking.

We are given a situation, a young black man on death row who's execution date is a few days away. A minister is told a confession from a sketchy serial rapist that he was the one who actually committed the crime, hence, the young man who is about to die is innocent. The clock ticks as the minister convinces both the real criminal to come clean and the innocent man's lawyer to believe the crazy story this hardened criminal is telling. Sounds like it could be a real nail biter of a story. However, I found it reminded me of a lazy Sunday afternoon. The story slowly revealed itself and progressed, but, at a drawn out easy pace. It seemed very predictable; it would come down to the last minute but everything would be fine in the end.

But does it all work out?



That is when all heck breaks loose. The story explodes with every angle coming together in a brilliant climax. The lawyers, the victims, the courts, the judges, the angry mobs, the Texas Governor...everyone and their dog is involved! What made the reading really interesting is all of the different ways all of these people were effected.

What I like about John Grisham books is that they typically focus on one legal issue. After finishing a book you feel just that much smarter, because you now know all the details around whatever legal aspect the book took on. By smart, I mean lawyer smrt (sic)...that makes one feel good inside.

The Confession was all about the death penalty. How the inmates are treated on death row. How the appeals work. How the Governor can stop the executions right down to the last minute. After reading this book you will probably leave with that prolife feeling because the story takes on the worst possible scenario - an innocent man is executed.

Rating: Read

Thursday, September 8, 2011



- Suzanne Collins -

A good end to the trilogy. Everything was all wrapped up like a nice little burrito...but, a burrito lacking spice. I had high expectations for the end, but, I always do in with these long drawn out book series/trilogies/epics. Endings never seem to make me happy. The rest of the book was pretty good, lots of action, lots of unexpected twists, but the biggest surprise right at the end fell a bit flat for me. Also, Katniss seemed to lose her fiery character which, to me, turned her from the star of the show to an almost mediocre character.

I did find this book, and the series in general, very imaginative. The strange scenarios and even stranger 'weapons' that appear make for good reading. The supporting cast of Peeta, Haymitch, and Gale add some much needed depth to the story. I liked how their personalities were a nice mix of quirky, extreme, and realistic. The rest of the world of Panem was very well described, I thought. It was really easy to become immersed in this possible future of mankind.

Katniss. Hmm, what can I say? I guess, I'll go with her title - The Mockingjay. By the end of the third book she had become just that - a copy cat with no personality! The change in her character over the trilogy was drastic. She went from a self determined fighter to a push over. The epilogue was the icing on the cake, when it mentioned she had a couple of kids b/c her partner (I won't spoil it and tell you who) wanted them. She was so adamant about not having kids in the beginning, and then by the end, boom, pops out a couple?!

Even though I may sound harsh by criticizing the character development, well, that is just my opinion...I guess I just like happier endings. I will give praise to the Collins on the wonderful writing of this drastic change. It was almost too subtle to detect until you look at the big picture. The journey through Katniss' breakdown was interesting, even thought it was often repetitive - with psychological breakdown after psychological breakdown.

The whole 'love story' (blah) was ok, even by my standards. It was very familiar - I kept thinking Team Edward Team Jacob, but in this case Team Gale Team Peetah? So, again left you guessing and wanting to read on to find out the eventual victor.

Another aspect of this book that made it interesting for me was all of the chatter online. It seemed like everyone was reading this series or predicting who would star in the upcoming movie. I found it added another level, outside of reading, to become engaged in the book. I also found myself wondering about the much so I have a strong opinion on what song should be on the soundtrack. Everytime I hear Sprawl II by Arcade Fire I think of this future world described in the Hunger games. I can see the flashy young kids in the Capitol dancing away to this song.

Overall, this is a good book. It does not compare to the first of the series, The Hunger Games, but it is a must read if you make it through Catching Fire. I don't think you'll be disappointed, per se, but just a little bummed that the ending was not mindblowing!