“A Good Man is Hard to Find”

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I just read “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor.

It is written in the third person, which I honestly don’t see much in my reading. I have noticed that much of what I read is written in the first person. While there are many benefits of writing in the first person, I enjoyed the change in this short story. 

However, I found the story lacking. It was completely predictable. When the grandmother starts talking about the Misfit before they leave on vacation I knew that he would be in the story. When she continues on and on about him throughout the story, I was pretty certain he was going to be the reason behind that family’s demise. 

After an unfortunate car accident and a case of “wrong place, wrong time” the ending is predictable. 

I know that this short story is supposed to be an example of a ‘literary’ piece and Flannery O’Connor is supposed to be one of the best female authors in the mid-twentieth century, but I was not impressed. 

Has anyone else read a short story or novel that is labeled a ‘classic’ that didn’t seem that great to you? If so, please comment and let me know what the story was, and why you didn’t like it. 🙂

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“March” by Geraldine Brooks

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I just finished reading March by Geraldine Brooks. To say that it was a good book wouldn’t do it justice. It was an amazing book, and Brooks had to have put a lot of time into doing research to write this story. 

I began reading this because of my love for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. March revolves around Mr. March from Little Women. During Little Women, Mr. March is off at war. Brooks takes on the task of telling the story of Mr. March during the time he spent in the war. 

Not only does Brooks give the reader Mr. March’s story, she also does a magnificent job linking it with the events of Little Women

At some points in the book, I couldn’t put it down. I was so engrossed in it that I didn’t want to stop reading. However, at other points in the book, I wanted to throw it across the room. Why did the Marmee I know and love take on a different role in this book? Whereas she seemed the supportive wife and perfect mother in Little Women, she had a bad temper and had little faith in her husband’s decisions in March

While Brooks does a splendid job telling the reader the story of Mr. March, it was definitely a very different book than Little Women. While Little Women was more of a kid-friendly novel, March was meant for a much older reader. 

It is a definite ‘must read’ though! 🙂

Rough Night…

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So…tonight has been a rough night. I got my third rejection and I am starting to feel discouraged. 

My days are extremely busy. I wake up, take care of the kiddos, clean, cook, take care of kiddos, chase around kiddos, clean some more…prepare more food for dinner, clean more, chase kids around more…finish dinner, eat, play with kids, get them ready for bed, tuck them in…sit for maybe an hour and then start the work for my Master’s program. 

I just want to feel like I’m not running myself ragged for nothing…anyone else having these issues?

Anywho…thanks for listening to my complaining! Hope you all are doing well after your first packet!

Packet #1

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I sent off my first packet yesterday. Although I didn’t feel it was perfect (nothing ever is), I wanted to make sure it wasn’t late. Unfortunately, the delivery date is supposed to be tomorrow and it isn’t due until Friday!! At least I will know for next time!!

Anyways, although I am worried about what Kyle will say about my packet, I know that the first packet will likely be the toughest. After I get his notes and know what he is expecting and what I need to improve on, things will go much smoother. 

To an extent, I am hoping that his notes will be brutal so I can learn from them and improve as a writer. After all, that is why I am in this Master’s program. However, I hope that I do all right on it so I don’t feel like a complete failure at life. 

The portion of the packet that was the most challenging to me was honestly the process letter. I didn’t know what to write, how formal or informal to be, etc. Mine was about two and a half pages long, but I hope it wasn’t too informal. I also hope it wasn’t a bunch of pointless rambling. (Like I’m doing right now. :-/)

After I get the notes back on my packet I can post my annotations and the notes on the blog if that would be of interest to my readers. I will not, however, post my creative work. Just comment on this post and let me know! 🙂

Having a Rough Time…

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My last post was about my thoughts on Denis Johnson’s “Train Dreams.” I loved the novella and would re-read it anytime. 

However, I am having a rough time figuring out what to do my annotation on regarding this book. I enjoyed this book because of its simplicity, not because it had a lot to analyze. 

What do you guys do when you can’t figure out how to annotate a book? Any responses would be welcome!

“Train Dreams:” What I Thought About It

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I just finished reading “Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson and I was pleasantly surprised with the story line. 

This novella, all 116 pages of it, made me feel many emotions. It made me happy and joyful, it made me so sad that I cried, and it made me full of anger.

“Train Dreams” is not going on my list of ‘books I love’ because of a fancy and action-packed story line, it is going on that list because of its simplicity. 

Let me give you a brief summary: “Train Dreams” is the story of Robert Grainier, an individual in the West in the early and middle 1900s. Grainier’s main focus throughout the book is on his job. He has a “blue-collar” job doing many different kinds of manual labor. The book starts off with Grainier telling the tale of how he tried to help kill a ‘Chinaman’ while he was working with a railroad company. (At that time, Chinese individuals were being killed left and right and there weren’t many left.) Although the “Chinaman’ gets away, Grainier feels regret for the part he played in the attempt on the man’s life and begins to feel like the ‘Chinaman’ cursed him and his family. Grainier then speaks of his wife and daughter before skipping to a time in his life when he goes home to them to find that the entirety of their small town has caught fire. After the loss of his family, Grainier slowly tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of his new reality. This leads to many interesting stories and situations. 

I do not want to give the ending or the ‘meat’ of the story away, so I will just say, that this is a novella that is worth the read. 🙂

I am beginning to love this MFA program even more because I am being forced to discover the fantastic Literature beyond my ‘normal’ reading list. 

Ta Ta For Now!

“So Much Pretty:” Ugly, but one of the best stories ever written…

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I just finished reading “So Much Pretty” by Cara Hoffman, a fellow Goddardite, for my second annotation.

Let me start off by saying, the book is very ugly, disoriented, and also absolutely amazing! The way that the story was told made the book that much more intriguing. 

Hoffman tells the story of the residents of the small town of Haeden, NY. She uses many different viewpoints to tell her story. Each chapter is in the viewpoint of the residents of the town, and the chapters’ time periods vary. It is extremely important to read the headings (which tell whose viewpoint the chapter is in) and subheadings (that tell the reader what time period the specific chapter is in) in order to understand the story as a whole.

I will try not to spoil the story, but here is a summary of the novel:

The novel focuses on three main, female characters: Stacy Flynn, a reporter from the local newspaper, Wendy White, a resident of Haeden who gets kidnapped and is later found dead, and Alice Piper, an ambitious and free-spirited individual who ends up surprising the entire town with her actions. Using the viewpoints of these three individuals as well as various other residents of Haeden, Hoffman describes a crisis that happens in this small town.

White is kidnapped and then her body is found within a mile or two of her home a few months later. Piper’s life intertwines with White’s via the swim team. After White’s body is found and Flynn writes a beautiful, but controversial article regarding White’s kidnapping, Piper’s whole viewpoint on life changes. It felt to me that after White’s body was found, the story really did a 180 and the reader has to catch up quickly to understand what is going to happen next. 

According to an interview with the Huffington Post, Hoffman says that “So Much Pretty” is really a novel about “male hatred of women” (Hoffman, 2011). One of the most impactful lines in the entire story is, ” It would hardly be rational to accept that I live inside a thing made of flesh that people capture, hide, and then wait in line to rape” (Hoffman, 2011, p. 222). In this part of the story, Alice Piper is trying to make sense of the horrible treatment of Wendy White. 

Anyways, before I end up spoiling the entire novel, I will bow out. However, I highly recommend reading this book!! It will be one of the best you have ever read. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jesse-kornbluth/so-much-pretty-the-uglies_b_834844.html

Hoffman, C. (2011). So Much Pretty