change is inevitable, but we don’t know which direction it will take

The Death of Santini, The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy; 2013; $28.95; 338 pages; 978-0-385-53090-3; bound galley purchased on eBay; 10/10-10/12

Why did I pick this up?  Because I have read everything else that Pat Conroy has written and I was particularly interested in this book since it detailed the relationship between a military father and his family.

What is the story?  Pat Conroy has fictionalized his and his family’s lives in many of his books, Prince of Tides, Beach Music and The Great Santini among others.  The Great Santini detailed the life of a Marine fighter pilot and his family.  The phrases that stick with me the most from The Great Santini which were used to describe Bull Meacham, The Great Santini, are “he was a warrior with out a war” and “he had succumbed to the mythology of the military”.  Bull was  a man who had no idea had to express love to his family.  Bull was closely modeled on Donald Conroy, Pat’s father.  In his previous memoir, My Losing Season, Pat revealed that he toned his father down for the book.  At the premiere of the movie The Great Santini, one of Pat’s brother said that the portrayal of Santini by Robert Duvall was like Bambi compared to their father.  The Death of Santini, contains family history of the Conroys and traces the changes that Donald Conroy and the rest of the family went through in the time between the release of the book and the deaths of the Conroy parents.

Did I like it?  Yes, Pat Conroy has the rare ability to fill the canvas of my mind with his words and make things come alive.  I laughed and I cried.  I was moved and I was horrified.  If there was one author I could meet and talk with, Pat Conroy is the one.  I have gone along with him through the many moves of a military brat, I have been in the company of men who have succumbed to the mythology of the military.  Men who believe that since the military has given them the power to order people around that that same power extends to their family.  Men who believe that since their charges have to do things certain ways that their families do also.

Grade-A+

What is with the title of the review?  After the publication of the book, many members of Pat Conroys extended family wouldn’t even talk to him.  His biggest defender became his father and his father changed after the publication of the book.  Change was inevitable but who knew which way his father would move closer or withdraw.

change is inevitable, but not always welcome

Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan; 2013; $16.99; 375 pages; dial books for young readers, New York, NY; 978-0-8037-3855-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale, 10/8-10/10

Why did I pick this up?  Because Holly Goldberg Sloan went to the same high school I did, (no, not in Turkey) and I had read her first book, I’ll Be There and really liked it.

What is the story?  Willow Chance is adopted by two good and loving parents and has a wonderful life.  Then tragedy strikes and she has to make her own way with a colorful group of people, who become friends and then family.  Willow has been labeled as gifted so certain things are expected of her by herself and others.  She has to learn to navigate a whole new world in a whole new way.

Did I like it?  Yes, it is an engaging look at how we form relationships and how those relationships grow and change over time and through different circumstances.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  The only thing certain in life is that things will change, but we don’t always embrace change with open arms.

an august month of books

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; 2005; $11.99; 552 pages; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY; 978-0-375-84220-7; Purchased from Amazon.com; 8/24-8/28

Why did I pick this up?  The book group I am in elected to read this last year, however I went to a Oregon State football that day so I hadn’t read it, however my friend Amanda Banker kept asking me if I had read it yet, and Diana Jackson told me repeatedly how good it was.

What is the story?  Liesl Meminger is put in a foster home in Germany at the beginning of World War II in Molching.  She makes friends and enemies among the residents of the street where she lives and at the school she attends.  She is haunted by several deaths around her.  Her Papa teaches her to read and she and several other people learn the power of words in several different words.

Did I like it?  Yes, this ranks at or above The Twelve Tribes of Hattie and My Beloved World.  This was more moving than either of them, when I finished it I had to sit back and take a deep breath.  I left the room and came back a few minutes later and when I saw the book, I was immediately transported back to the feeling I had while reading the book.  I think that the next book I read will suffer by comparison.  I need a palate cleanser before I read another book so I picked up a Sunset magazine guide to Highway One with an article about undiscovered Portland to read before I dive into another book.

Grade-A+

What is with the title of the review?  August has couple of meanings, it means eminent and it also is the month.  I have read three of the best books that I have read in 2013 in the month of August.

magaz

Just like Alberto Salazar

Revived by cat patrick; 2012; $17.99; 336 pages; Litttle, Brown and Company, New York, NY; 978-0-316-09462-7; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 10/30-11/2

Why did I pick this up?  I had thought that Cat was going to be at Wordstock so I read her first book, Forgotten and liked it so I picked this up.

What is the story?  Daisy is part of a FDA approved test group for a drug that will revive people who die if they are not suffering from a disease or suffer a gunshot wound.  Daisy herself has died five times and been revived and she is only a sophomore in high school.  Each time she dies and is revived she and her handlers (who are acting as her parents) have to relocate.  The bulk of the action takes place in Omaha, Nebraska as Daisy settles in and makes friends, meanwhile the program rolls on.  The two plots are Daisy and her friends and the program and what may not be right with the way the drug trial is being run.

Did I like it?  Yes the author does a great job balancing the two main plots and making them both equally engaging.  The slice of life is balanced with the espionage part of the story.  All of the characters, except the big bad are well rounded characters.  The only thing that seemed wrong to me was one subplot that didn’t get a conclusion.

Grade-A-

What is with the title of the review?  Alberto Salazar died and was revived a few years ago, although Albertos’ revival was more science and less fiction than Daisys’.