Sunday, September 8, 2013

After Life........

Here is the promised follow up to my original post about this book. I finished it last week and I still don't know what I think of it.  It continues to get rave reviews but overall it left me somewhat disenchanted.  I greatly admire Atkinson's writing and the concept of the story but it was just so hard to listen to parts of the story over and over again.  At times it was a case of "enough already!"  The stories within the stories were often based on occurrences that you were already entirely familiar with.  There was just a small twist to the section that brought about a different ending. It got more than a bit tedious toward the end.

The author does attempt to tie things together in the final chapter.  She hints at a reason for there being a "life after life" but there's no real resolution.  Can you say "reincarnation?" Can you really rely on that final chapter?  Can you pick your own ending? 

In reading over my reaction to the book, I feel like I tried as hard as I could to love this book, like so many others. I just couldn't.  Am I glad I finished it?  You bet.  Will I read another Atkinson novel?  You bet. Will it be on a lot of "best of 2013" lists?  You bet.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Double DUH!

Okay, it's been a long time since I've written a good old fashioned rant here.  Just within the last couple of days, I've come across some really stupid corporate moves.  Here goes.........

I left my job with the State of Maine at the end of June.  I was eligible for COBRA benefits, which I thought I was going to need.  Much to my delight I was covered by my new library's policy after just a week.  Thank goodness.  Why?  Because I just received a letter from the State, dated August 22nd, about picking up COBRA.  Well, that's a little late, ain't it?  Hello.........almost two months have gone by.  Oh, and the best part???!!!???  I had to respond by JULY 15th to prevent my benefits from being dropped.  (I will be honest and say that if I had really needed the coverage, I would have been on the phone bugging them about it long before the 22nd of August.) No wonder bureaucracies and bureaucrats get such a bad rep. DUH.

Ineptitude is not limited to state agencies.  We got a call a couple of weeks ago from Downeast Energy, who has been our oil/propane company for several years.  They wanted to know if we had gotten our quote for this year's contract.  I called them back on the 22nd (was there something in the water that day???? See above.) and they said they would send something along.  They never said when and they never gave any sense of urgency to the request.  I picked up the mail on the 24th and there wasn't anything from them.  I didn't pick up the mail again until the 29th and there is a letter with our quote telling us that the offer was only good for TWO days.  Um, it took longer than that for the letter to get to us and I had no need to pick up the mail between then and Thursday.  I called the company and they told me that they would probably honor the price (the CSA said that prices are changing every day....) if I mailed them a check right away, which I did.  If an offer is only good for TWO days, don't ya think ya should tell people when you're on the phone with them?!?!  DUH!

The End Is Near.....

What would you do if you knew that the world might end in the next week as an asteroid capable of destroying the earth was heading your way?  For three teens connected to an island off the Massachusetts coast they are less concerned about the end of the world than they are about figuring out their place in the world.  Zan is dealing with the death of her boyfriend.  Caden is dealing with his relationship with his parents, especially his absentee father.  Sienna is dealing with her mental health issues and family situation.  Boyfriend, family, and sanity just about covers all the issues that teens face all the time - at least the teens that I've talked with and read about.  (All that's missing is school.)

This is a YA debut novel by Alexandra Coutts that should have a somewhat broad appeal.  The characters are interesting as is their relationship to one another.  Toward the end there is a connection that brings the three stories together - more than just the asteroid.

I normally don't make time to read YA, but there was something in the premise of this book that drew me in.  It was a good break from all the adult fiction that I've been concentrating on.  I liked the girls' stories but found Caden's too shallow.  I didn't like certain ways in which his father tried to reach out to him to make up for lost time (one approach in particular left me saying, "Really??????), but I guess when you're down to one week, you really try to cover all the bases (Ouch - bad baseball and sexuality reference). The asteroid should have been an important additional character but it wasn't and the book could have been written without it for the most part.  Overall, a good break and I'm sure that many of the teens who read this will enjoy it.

I  think this author has potential and I would definitely give her another go-around.

This is based on an advanced reader's copy that I received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) through NetGalley.  Thank you both.