Monthly Archives: October 2012

Review: The Boy in the Suitcase

Recap: Nina Borg is one of those people who just can’t say no. So when her friend, Karin, with whom she hasn’t spoken in years, gives her a key to a public locker in a train station, Nina feels obligated to run this errand for Karin. But what she finds inside the locker is not your average luggage. It’s a suitcase with a young boy inside. Suddenly, Nina is forced to find out who this child is, where he came from, and how she can get him back where he belongs.

The Boy in the Suitcase is a Swedish crime thriller co-authored by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnette Friis, who tell the story from various perspectives. Included are chapters by Nina, by the men behind the kidnapping, and by the boy’s mother, Sigita. When Sigita learns that her missing son might have to do with another son she put up for adoption years ago, her mission to find the boy becomes frantic and furious.

Likethe movie Love Actually, the reader is waiting for the moment when each of the characters meet at the end. Why the boy was kidnapped and how he will be returned to the right person are the two things that keep the reader interested.

Analysis: Unfortunately, the “why” and “how” were the only things keeping me interested. The story takes place in a several European countries, making it difficult to keep track of where each of the characters is located and with whom they can and can’t communicate.

Not to mention, the multiple narrators; normally I’m a fan of several narrators, but with The Boy in the Suitcase, I found it confusing. The authors attempt to give backstory to each of the characters, but generally speaking, I didn’t feel as though it worked. Many of the small glimpses into the characters’ lives seemed irrelevant to the story. Either that or they weren’t enough to fully explain the character. The only character I cared about was the little boy’s mother. Like any mother in her situation, she’s frantic and I couldn’t help but feel for her.

Whereas the multiple narrators helped keep the book moving, the end seemed rushed. The middle built anticipation toward the end, but at parts, it seemed to drag. Once we learn the reason behind the kidnapping, the rest of the story happens very fast without much explanation.

MVP: Nina. There are a lot of things I hate about her and a few things I love about her. She puts this boy that she found before her own family and marriage, which is already in a state of disrepair. Although I understand her need to help him, it bothers me that she neglects to keep in touch with her husband about what’s going on. That being said, how she manages to find the boy’s mother and piece together the story is impressive and strong.

Get The Boy in the Suitcase in paperback for $9.38.

Or get it on your Kindle for just $1.99.


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Glitches Fixed in J.K. Rowling’s ‘Casual Vacancy’ E-Book Version

Though sales have been good and steady, J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel was not released without some glitches. According to Mashable, the e-book versions of The Casual Vacancy had text so small, it was unreadable, and readers were not able to enlarge it.

The novel’s publisher, Hachette, has since taken the blame for the glitch and fixed the problem.

However, it seems the formatting glitch was one of several problems readers had with the The Casual Vacancy. Readers took to social media to complain about the price of the e-book ($17.99, as opposed to the typical $12.99) and the content itself. The Casual Vacancy is selling well, but not getting the rave reviews Rowling likely expected.

Have any of you bought or read the book yet? I’m about to put it on hold for myself at my library.

Get The Casual Vacancy in hardcover for $20.90.

Or — now that the glitch has been fixed — get it on your Kindle for $14.99.


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Movie vs. Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Contributed by Sam Holle

If you were in high school in the early 2000’s, odds are you read or at least heard of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It was a topic of discussion among parents, students, and educators, making banned book lists due to its frequent references to sex, drugs, and illicit behavior.  Beyond the controversy, it was a story about growing up, finding yourself, and learning to participate in the world.

The book spoke to me. Charlie is a high school kid who doesn’t fit in with the popular kids, but finds comfort in his new friends, Patrick and Sam.  He’s like me!  I thought.  I’m socially awkward sometimes!  Oh look, the object of Charlie’s affection is named Sam!  My name’s Sam! I want a sweet boy like Charlie to fall in love with me the way he’s in love with Sam!  I think this book was written just for me!

So it was no surprise that my inner high schooler squealed with glee the first time I heard it was being made into a movie. That inner high schooler kept squealing as I searched for a seat in the crowded theater. My inner high schooler was not disappointed at all.

The movie was written, produced, and directed by Stephen Chbosky, the author of the book. There were small plot points from the book that didn’t make it to the screen, but it didn’t matter.  The movie is every bit an emotional roller coaster as the book.  When Charlie’s heart breaks, your heart breaks.  When Patrick is hilarious, you find yourself laughing as if with an old friend.

In the beginning of the movie, Charlie dreadfully counts down the days until the end of high school at the start of his freshman year; at the end of the year, he announces how many days are left without an ounce of that fear that was there before.  You know Charlie’s journey is not going to be difficult anymore.  You have watched him face his demons, confront his bullies, and stand up for the people he loves.  You know that everything is going to be fine for him.

The actors were cast wonderfully; I couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying the trio of nonconformist friends and putting on such a beautiful performance.

MVP: The obvious MVP is Charlie, a hero who learns the importance of friendship and to not let his past control his future. My less obvious choice is Charlie’s English teacher — “Bill” in the book, “Mr. Anderson” in the movie. Paul Rudd does a spectacular job as someone who sees Charlie as a wallflower and helps him bloom into a participant in life. Mr. Anderson tells Charlie that he can see Charlie writing a classic some day, one that will be read by high schoolers and will stand the test of time.  Chbosky, winking at the audience, knows that he and Charlie have already done this.


Filed under Movie vs. Book, Reviews

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Graphic Novel Coming Soon

Lots of news lately in the world of graphic novels! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will soon be available in the form of a graphic novel.

Like the series, it seems there will be three graphic novels, so there are plans for DC Entertainment to eventually release The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest as graphic novels. EW reported the news back in April, but now they’ve got a sneak peak at some of the awesome illustrations. Take a look here.

DC Entertainment is set to release The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo graphic novel on November 13.

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