I was determined to give Apple and Rain a good shot. I've seen lots of positive words on it popping up recently, and it was promising- the novel sounds bittersweet and moving and, though I was wary after not having had a positive experience with The Weight of Water, the only other novel I've sread by Crossan- but unfortunately I just couldn't get through it.
I got close to halfway through before deciding, with regret, that it wouldn't be good for me to keep going.
The story focuses around Apple, who was left with her grandmother as a baby when her mother decided to go to America and take up acting, and when her mother re-enters Apple's life 11 years later, when she's 13, I just could not understand Apple's behaviour- or I could, but to the extent she took it was too much for me. I found her to be really frustrating, but also the behaviour of those around her, who were so wrapped up in themselves they couldn't spare a moment for her. From the situations she was put in by her mother, where Apple was encouraged to drink under her mother's acknowledgement and approval, a mother who has had years to learn to be responsible but at 31 still can't take care of her own children, to the actions of Apple's father and stepmother and even her grandmother, who should have just explained, trusted Apple to be old enough to understand. If anyone had give her some responsibiliyu and trust, maybe she would have been bearable.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy!
Image Credit: Bloomsbury.
Image Credit: Allen and Unwin.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Tashi and the Wicked Magician and other stories- Barbara and Anna Fienberg. (Link to Allen and Unwin- unavailable on Goodreads)
For each story (there are four, one in two parts) there is a colour illustration on one page, and these, quite possibly, were my favourite parts of the book. I loved seeing Tashi, his world and his friends come back to life, and the illustrations (though I yearned for more!) were just beautiful. Amazing detail and colour and ability to capture the scenes.
The stories, unfotunately, did not work quite so brilliantly for me. They are short stories, probably less than half the size of the stories I grew up with, but they didn't captivate me, didn't give themselves enough time. The way they would play out, though not from a plot point of view, was predictable and for me it didn't have the magical wonder of the old Tashi books. They would, however, be excellent bedtime story reads, since they're a good length for that.
These stories did still hold lots of wonder, and the imagination of the plots in each, from a dragon born of Tashi's own imagination to the consequences of a boy with a beautiful voice, was the same. They were unique and creative, and I just wish they'd been longer so they could've been marvellous, too.