Holiday Book Reviews


I always use the holidays as an excuse to catch up on some reading that I can never seem to find time for during school and this December was no exception. I definitely found some books that are worth re-reading, while others I would not recommend reading at all.

Things Fall Apart,  Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart is a classic introduction into African literature as it tells the story of one man’s life and how the arrival of a Christian missionary completely turned his world upside down. Personally I enjoyed it, although I did discover that it is actually required reading for Country Day freshmen, most of whom hate this book with a burning passion. Things Fall Apart was interesting, and while it probably serves very well as a novel to delve into in an English class, it did not provide me with the leisurely reading I was looking for.


The Jane Austen Project, Kathleen A. Flynn

The Jane Austen Project centers  around two time travelers whose goal is to travel back to 1816, befriend Jane Austen and retrieve the manuscript to an unwritten novel.  Normally I avoid books with any mention of time travel, but this was actually a book that my mom got me for Christmas, mostly because she remembered how much I loved Pride and Prejudice. Flynn deftly manages whole time travel situation for the first half of the novel but by the final chapters the reader’s head is spinning from an unnecessary plot twist. The descriptions of Jane’s life and the Regency period do ultimately redeem The Jane Austen Project. 


All the Bright Places, Jennifer Nieven  

All the Bright Places follows two high school seniors as they save each other after meeting on the top of a bell tower, both ready to jump. Their unlikely friendship is spurred by a school project and the reader is travels with them as they explore “the great state of Indiana.” Nieven’s storytelling is akin to a less pretentious and more developed John Green novel. This was by far my favorite read in recent history, with relatable characters and naturally flowing plot that comes to a tragic conclusion.


The Rooster Bar, John Grisham 

Grisham’s The Rooster Bar attempts to tell the story of three law school drop outs as they break practice law without a license and defraud the man who sunk them into almost a million dollars of total student debt. Unlike many of Grisham’s books, this strays from his traditional formula, which in my opinion is The Rooster Bar‘s  downfall. The bulk of the evidence against the mastermind of their low achieving law school and it’s laundering of federal funds is presented within the first thirty pages. The next two hundred pages are filled with basic and boring identity theft of  plaintiffs in a major lawsuit and the (slightly more interesting) hustling of clients in traffic court. The truly interesting action is condensed into the final fifty pages, then brought to a conclusion that leaves the reader content  but underwhelmed. Personally, The Rooster Bar was a complete disappointment and an utter waste  of time.