Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Weekly Reader

Greetings connoisseurs of the printed English word, and thank you for picking up the latest in The Weekly Reader (pronounced “reed”er). For those of you looking to dig your eyes into a thick, succulent novel, you’ve arrived at the right place. I’m sorry I never got answered the letters of all my loyal readers last week complaining about my scathing review of “The Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 6. GE-HI”, but I simply did not at all care for the characters of Germany and William Henry Harrison. They just were not likeable, and I stand my ground on that stance. In journalism school, they always teach you to stick to your point and that’s the one I’m adhering myself to. But enough about the past, on to this week’s batch of readables! (pronounced “red”ables)
Though the publisher’s mentioned something to me over the phone about a shipping mistake, I nevertheless received their box of five books promptly on Wednesday. Now as you all may know, Wednesday is usually the day I walk Hortonstance. As you also all may know, Hortonstance is my favorite pet ferret, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway ,I decided to leave Hortonstance constipated this week and dive right into this cornucopia of creamy wordly goodness. Ready to read, readers? (pronounced “red”y to “reed”, “read”ers)
I propped my feet up on the nearest available ottoman and cuddled next to my favorite bed light and cracked open the first novel on which I could lay my grubby mitts – The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan. The story follows the life of Ruth a San Francisco career woman who makes her living by ghostwriting self-help books. She has little idea of her mother's past or true identity. What's more, their relationship has tended to be an angry one. Still, Ruth recognizes the onset of LuLing's decline--along with her own remorse over past rancor--and hires a translator to decipher some mysterious packets. She also resolves to "ask her mother to tell her about her life. For once, she would ask. She would listen. She would sit down and not be in a hurry or have anything else to do."And as she did in her earlier The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan uses these conflicts to explore the intricate dynamic that exists between first-generation Americans and their immigrant elders. A lot more stuff happens too, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises, and invite you to investigate for yourself –for Chinese-related adventure awaits with this thrilling read!
My reading skills were next given free rein to stretch their bony arms with the next novel in this week’s batch, The Bonesetter’s Daughter by another author, seemingly also named Any Tan. The story follows the life of Ruth, a San Francisco career woman who makes her living by ghostwriting self-help books. She has little idea of her mother’s past or true identity. What’s more, their relationship has tended to be an angry one. One would suspect that if I enjoyed one Chinese ghost writer-related novel, I would enjoy another. Not so. Alas, The Bonesetter’s Daughter did not tickle my fancy bones the way they had been tickled with The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I wonder if Amy Tan 1 realizes that she has a sound-alike competitor writing novels with the same name, cover, plotlines and characters. Either way, Granted, the bar was set relatively high, so a letdown was almost inevitable. Still, a valiant effort by Amy Tan 2.0. Ah well, no matter – we press on.
The third bookly volume that I had the pleasure of visually deciphering via means of piecing together a series of words and their respective meanings was the Amy Tan’s novel The Bonesetter’s Daughter. The story follows the life of Ruth, a San Francisco career woman who makes her living by ghostwriting self-help books. She has little idea of her mother’s past or true identity. Though this is clearly an age-old tale as old as time, the repetition and lack of originality sticks out like a sore thumb on a bloated marmoset. Now perhaps it is unfair to Amy Tan 3 that I’ve read Amy Tan 1 and 2’s book first, and the comparison is inevitable. But hey, if life wasn’t unfair, I’d have won that Babylon 5 lunchbox on ebay and not been outbid at the last minute by user “spankyNY95”. I have nothing left to say about this story, except that I don’t like it and it’s smelly. We press on.
The forth binded assortment of printed pages that I often refer to as “book” throws some diversity into the mix, and is a welcome departure in this somewhat monotonous series of “books”. I was delighted to unwrap this hardcover edition of The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan, who I will refer to here as Amy Tan IV, because Roman numerals make me feel rich. While the story was nearly identical to the previous three (the middle third contains a surprising twist involving Ms. Frumption’s independent jockstrap company), I did find that this book was a much better instrument for killing the cockroaches in my apartment.
At this stage in any reviewer’s process, he is tired, cranky, sick of reading, and full of valium. Needless to say, I was in dire need of a pickup after this very mixed bunch of books by various Amy Tans. Let me tell you, my prayers were answered by the unlikeliest of sources – The Bonesetter’s Daughter by an author whose work I initially thought I was unfamiliar with – Amy Ta. However, after further investigation, I realized the bottom left flap was folded over. Mending this revealed that in fact, an Amy Tan v.5 had exploded onto the novel writing arena. Let me tell you, this up and comer is truly promising, as this tale had me at the edge of my seat during the entire read, though I’m sure the valium had something to do with it. Every page was like a roller coaster hijacked by a drunk, seizure-prone terrorist. I simply could not put this masterwork of literary brilliance down, and I give it my coveted nine thumbs up rating. Amy Tan-tastic! So, in summation, The Bonesetter’s Daughter was way better than The Bonesetter’s Daughter, but could not achieve the dizzying heights established by The Bonesetter’s Daughter. On the other hand, The Bonesetter’s Daughter is worth a look if you find it lying in a dumpster somewhere, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter is suitable for only lining the bottom of ferret cages. Alright, hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s edition of The Weekly Reader. Stay tuned next week when I review a bunch of novels all called A Thousand Splendid Suns.