My Review of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
My Review of The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
My Review of You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi Macfarlane
My Review of Hannibal by Thomas Harris
My Review of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
My Review of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Finished on: June 22nd 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Reading Challenge Book: 38
It’s so hard to believe that I’m getting so close to finishing my reading challenge for this year so soon, maybe I will get to 100 again like I did last year.
I moved on from Hannibal Rising to the next book chronologically in Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series, the first book to be published, Red Dragon. This story deals with the hunt for the ‘Tooth Fairy’ serial killer by the FBI, led by Jack Crawford. Hannibal Lecter is at this point incarcerated after being caught some years before by investigator Will Graham, who paid a heavy price for catching him both before the story begins and as it ends.
I have to admit, I’ve seen all of the movies of this and Red Dragon didn’t impress me storyline wise as much as the others. However, the new TV series Hannibal tells the pre Red Dragon story in a very intriguing way which I think provides extra layers into how I interpret the book.
Overall, I still view Harris as a master of this type of genre, the characters are subtle and believable with many complex layers which make them really interesting. I would credit Will Graham as the most intriguing character of this book outside of Lecter himself for being a man so alike to serial killers in terms of psychology and particularly empathy, but so desperate to escape his FBI past in favour of a normal life.
Finished on: 20th June 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Reading Challenge Book: 37
It’s been so nice to work my way back into reading and relax whilst reading with a bit of music on without having to worry about revision, exams or deadlines.
Now for those of you who know me or read a lot of my reviews, you’ll know that I love a bit of gory writing and horror, especially within the realm of crime/criminal psychology. My favourite series ever is McDermid’s ‘Wire in the Blood’, revolving around criminal psychologist Tony Hill. So it would make sense that I would enjoy reading Hannibal Lecter books and watching the many programmes and films based on him. Weirdly, it had never occurred to me to read the books until recently.
I decided to read Hannibal Rising first, as although it’s the last book published, it acts as a prequel to the others in terms of chronology. You begin to understand what has driven him to become this psychopathic killer who kills without remorse or regret, and it does almost give you a sense of sympathy for him. I think that’s important with books and characters such as these as ‘monsters’ are simply not born that way, they have to be created through trauma, and although this does not excuse the crimes they go on to commit, it helps your understanding.
I was blown away by how true the movie actually was to the book, as in I could recall individual lines from the book that were used pretty much as is in the film. Only a few minor details are skipped over, but this does not detract from the story that Harris has created! Brilliant!
Overall, I found this quite an enjoyable read, and a lot less gruesome I would imagine than the ones to come as it shows how he becomes this notorious killer on a learning curve rather than showing him at his murderous peaks.
I did have the intention (for all of five minutes) to write a review of War and Peace, but sat down at my laptop and tried writing for god knows how long and it just didn’t work. My opinion on it is that it’s the longest book I’ve ever read and quite dull in places, but the characters are quite loveable and have a subtle quality to them.
Date Finished: 23rd April 2013
Book Challenge 2013 Number: 32
Anyway, onward to the book I finished today, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This follows characters in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi in the height of the civil rights movement and racial segregation. The main characters are black housemaids Aibileen and Minny and white writer/college graduate Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, and the story is split into their different perspectives on life in this sleepy, segregated town.
You definitely have to admire Minny for her spirit and courage when you find out what she goes through on a daily basis, even if she is cursed with a big mouth and the nerve to use it repeatedly, leading her to be fired 19 times in the same town. The story with the pie will never cease to make me feel sick and make me laugh at the same time. She without a doubt gives as good as she gets and then some, which makes her a bit of a loveable rogue.
Aibileen is the mother hen of the black help, who has raised almost 20 white children in her career. She’s damn well good at it, and creates a great relationship with little Mae Mobley, who she craves for to learn to be a kind, accepting person who takes people as they are rather than the colour of their skin. Her determination throughout the book leaves me in awe, she’s eternally optimistic and everything pays off.
Skeeter is an interesting character who is constantly driven by the mystery surrounding her old black nanny, Constantine, who she was very close to but who disappeared when she was at college without an explanation. It is this mystery which drives the plot forward as this eternal curiosity and passion to find out what happened leads Skeeter to asking lots of questions and receiving intriguing answers.
If thinking of which character really gets your back up and you want to strangle it’s Hilly Holbrook, an annoying busybody who thinks she runs the town. She isn’t a main character in the sense that her point of view shapes the book like the first three characters I mentioned, but she’s an irritating ideological presence throughout the book, the antagonist to pretty much everyone, especially poor Skeeter towards the end.
The Help is definitely a book I would recommend, it explores civil rights in a fascinating way whilst giving you characters which make you smile and who you identify with.