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Customer Comments

durhamm has commented on (13) products.

Forge (Seeds of America) by Laurie Halse Anderson
Forge (Seeds of America)

durhamm, June 29, 2012

Laurie Halse Anderson is always dependable as an evocative writer with strong characters and a realistic, heart-breaking plot. Forge, the sequel to Chains, lives up to her talent and I appreciate that. It’s not my favorite book by her but it’s pretty interesting and impressive how she was able to create such a small story that could place her two main characters in such diverse places. Curzon, the protagonist, is placed with both rich and poor people, slave and free, officers in the war as well as the enlisted, male and female. The way he is able to be such a chameleon and bring the young reader so close to the issues of freedom framed in the constitution takes real flexibility on the part of Anderson. In reading this book I never ceased to be impressed with her grasp of the humanity in history and of just the facts she utilized for her characters. I did not feel as close to Curzon in Forge as I felt to Isabel in Chains. He was a likable enough protagonist but I thought him rather aimless for someone who had just gained his freedom in the beginning of the book. In Chains, the book preceding Forge, Curzon was seen by Isabel as a boy completely infatuated with the idea of freedom and with the war��"he was a convert. I don’t see that in this book. I guess that’s my only complaint about the book and it’s a small complaint. It was so well done��"I’d recommend it to anyone over the age of 11.
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Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Chains

durhamm, June 29, 2012

The “genre-fication” of writers like Laurie Halse Anderson frustrates me so much because it blocks a large chunk of passionate readers from great literature. Chains is exemplary of Anderson’s rather incredible power of humanization. I mean, Anderson is a white woman, the daughter of a pastor, who writes in the perspective of a slave girl during the Revolutionary War and I felt as if I were friends with her protagonist, Isabel. Isabel was such a strong, believable character and I felt what I imagined her feeling and was drawn into her small, complex life completely. This is a great book dubbed “YA” or “Young Adult” but it is not only for young people but for anyone interested in creative rethinking and humanization of history. The plot of Chains is pretty simple, it’s about the status of slavery and the theory of slavery in the backdrop of the Revolutionary War. The history Anderson uses is sound. She gave heart to the archaic and quaint and anyone reading this book is bound to learn more about the strange hypocrisies and ironies in the wonderful and often horrible story of the young years of the United States. Isabel’s story is riveting and painful, her voice in Anderson’s translation is a voice all Americans, young and old, should know and treasure.

I did lend this book to three young sisters (11, 12, and 14) at my workplace. I haven’t heard back from them about how they enjoyed it. I’m a little worried how the youngest will relate to Isabel’s story, there’s some seriously difficult subject matter in the book, but I’m confident that with guidance from those older they will be able to step into Isabel’s world and grow empathy and understanding from the book and gain tools for their own world. Further than that, despite the pain in the story, I think they’ll have a fun time reading the book on this rainy weekend.
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Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries

durhamm, June 6, 2012

I bought "The Dork Diaries" for the daughter of my housemates. I had recommended "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and saw this "girl version." I bought it for her instead and decided to pre-read it to make sure it would fit what she wanted and needed. I'm glad I did pre-read it because it wasn't what she wanted or needed. The injection of popular culture in every other word of the book removed this particular girl from the customer base for the book. The main character, Nikki, is obsessed with materialism, boys and pop culture. The main character was 14 yet the book targets 8-10 year olds. It felt like Seventeen, not like a way for kids to deal with and come out of the isolation of cliques. It didn't have the fun and realistic feel of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." Rather this book felt like "Shopaholic Tween Goes to Prep." I like the shopaholic series and I liked this book and I would buy it for some kids but it will only fit a certain customer base. This book is not for kidsss struggling with bullies, it's a humorous book on materialism and pop-culture for young girls. Buy for some girls but the better version is by Kinney.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries

durhamm, June 6, 2012

I bought "The Dork Diaries" for the daughter of my housemates. I had recommended "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and saw this "girl version." I bought it for her instead and decided to pre-read it to make sure it would fit what she wanted and needed. I'm glad I did pre-read it because it wasn't what she wanted or needed. The injection of popular culture in every other word of the book removed this particular girl from the customer base for the book. The main character, Nikki, is obsessed with materialism, boys and pop culture. The main character was 14 yet the book targets 8-10 year olds. It felt like Seventeen, not like a way for kids to deal with and come out of the isolation of cliques. It didn't have the fun and realistic feel of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." Rather this book felt like "Shopaholic Tween Goes to Prep." I like the shopaholic series and I liked this book and I would buy it for some kids but it will only fit a certain customer base. This book is not for kidsss struggling with bullies, it's a humorous book on materialism and pop-culture for young girls. Buy for some girls but the better version is by Kinney.
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Spinoza by Roger Scruton
Spinoza

durhamm, June 6, 2012

I don't think this book sticks to the proposed subject matter very well. Scruton expresses his opinions about Spinoza's theories in a very certain fashion--his interpretation of Spinoza is the only interpretation represented. Scruton's interpretation is not always positive and certainly not global although he presents his interpretation as writ. As such, this book is not a short introduction to Spinoza but rather a short introduction to Scruton on Spinoza. That being said Scruton has quite a lot of really important opinions on Spinoza. His interpretation, while I don't personally agree with it, is both intelligent and feasible logically. His book was an interesting read. It wasn't the first book I would have chosen if I had known the subject matter but I did enjoy it.
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