Oh, all these will be in my next FPS report which is now 5 days late. (Then again, I haven't heard squat from the other FPSers...
The book of Fred by Abby Bardi
Like one of the reviewers at Amazon.com says, it's hard to say exactly why I liked this book so much. The concept was sort of juvenile, but the devices used to weave the loose ends together added depth to the book. I'm not sure of the author's intent, but it seemed to me the book serves as a reminder that we cannot stereotype people.
Perfume : the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind
My cousin Nancy and I are calling this the first selection in our "Johnny Depp book club". She had read somewhere that Johnny Depp reads like 4 books at a time and this title was listed as one of them. I think this book is a lot like Depp himself, beautiful, but strange.
My library had this book classified with the mysteries, which I thought was inappropriate. It's not a mystery since we know from page one that the "protagonist" is going to commit murder. The basic premise is that a baby is born with super powers of sorts in the area of smelling. While he himself has "no smell" he breaks down and categorizes every smell he encounters.
Suskind shows a great command of the subject material and is able to bring his story to life and give us a book that is hard to put down. However, there is a great darkness surrounding the main character, that you really feel nothing for him in the end, as is true for the character. It is a strange, sad tale.
The lovely bones by Alice Sebold
I admit it, I gave in to to peer pressure to read this one. Even after Nancy's critical review, I went ahead and read it anyway. Again, I thought this one was misclassified in the library as I thought it more of a "Young Adult" title than "Adult Fiction". The whole thing had an adolescent tone to it. I suppose that's because Susie, the main character, is murdered while she is still an adolescent.
Susie tells the story of her murder and the events that follow while looking down from "heaven". Like the other books, this one was also well-written, hard to put down, but it seemed to lack any real purpose. We see the various characters work through their grief, which is interesting, but there's nothing particularily original about any of it. My biggest problem with the book is Susie's sort of "return to earth" as it were, for her first (and only, I guess) sexual encounter. Had I been the editor of this title, I would have drawn the line there.
What did I learn from this?
When it comes to selecting fiction, trust your instincts, or those of a friend who isn't afraid to tell the truth about whether they liked a book or not.