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Content by Alysson Oliveira
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Reviews Written by
Alysson Oliveira "A. T. A. Oliveira" (Sao Paulo-- Brazil)

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Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A book about feminism much before this was a fashion, Nov. 9 2003
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Mass Market Paperback)
Concerning on English classic novels 'Jane Eyre' has a special place in my heart. This was the very first classic novel that I ever read in English. As I needed that for an exam, and didn't have enough knowledge for reading the original I was supposed to read an abridged version. And so I did. And I loved the book.
Years later, I decided to read the real thing, the original novel. Much to my surprised it turned out to be highly accessible, and as entertaining and a nice read as the abridged version. Moreover, in the original book I could find all the details, and were able to savor Charlotte Brontë's language.
Written more than 150 years ago, 'Jane Eyre' reads as fresh as a XXI Century novel. Brontë's use of language is vivid and remarkable. Her descriptions bring the book into life. We cannot forget that the book is the social portrait of the women in the writer's society. It shows how they struggled --and failed most of the time-- to reach a respectable position in the society.
Jane didn't have any attractive that was required in her time. She wasn't rich or even beautiful, although smart. But smartness wasn't a good thing for a woman in those days. She is even punished for having brains. She ends up being a governess, and end up having a humiliating experience, being forced to change places and even name. Ms Eyre is only noticed when she receives a heritage and becomes rich. And she does not let all she has suffered affect her.
'Jane Eyre' is a novel ahead its time. This book is about feminism much before the term was created. When Jane speaks to her aunt about her rights --can you imagine a girl speaking about her rights in that time-- she is doing what other women would do years later. Charlotte Brontë has managed to creat a strong and sad girl, who is trying to find her place in the world. With that, the writer made a book that will be read for generations to come --even if they read an abridged version before reading the unabridged book.

The Red Tent
The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
Edition: Paperback
159 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it only for women?, Nov. 9 2003
This review is from: The Red Tent (Paperback)
As someone who strongly disbelieve in labels, I never thought of 'The Red Tent' as a women novel. Many readers talk about it like a wonderful novel. However, I have noticed that most women who read this book enjoy it, while I haven't find many men who tried this novel.
From the beginning, Anita Diamant's book didn't get my attention. I found the female characters too good to be true. All the women should have a halo over their heads, because they are almost like saints. They can bear pain, they have good hearts and are full of love, while most men are men and selfish. Gender discussion aside, those people don't appeal me as characters. I found them too one-dimensional, and full of themselves.
The narrative in this novel is complicated. The narrator is Dinah, a girl who's briefly mentioned in the bible. On the one hand, Diamant has created her whole story from square one; on the other she didn't have many evidences of what she's been writing. We must bear in mind, that 'The Red Tent' is fiction. The author herself has admitted that in her personal website. There is not proof of the so-called Red Tent, or the bricks mentioned in the novel. As far as fantasy is concerned, the novel didn't work for me. As I have aforementioned, the women are too nice and smart. Most of them sound like martyrs. I don't mean that there aren't --or even weren't, for that matter-- strong women. My issue in this novel is with the narrative itself.
As a man, I don't mind reading books that are supposedly for women --albeit I don't believe in such things. Calling bad novels 'book for women' sounds like depreciating women's intelligence. All in all, either being a chick lit or not, The Red Tent did not work for me. And all the hype is meaningless.

Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from a good writer, Nov. 7 2003
At some point, Ray Bradbury states in his novel 'Fahrenheit 451': 'The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies'. Bearing this in mind, it is doubtless that Bradbury is included among the good writers. In his novel, he managed to create a parable about the intellectual wakening of a man and the dangers of censorship, in a society where people are not allowed to think.
In an undefined future, the firemen job is to start fire. They are supposed to burn books, and the houses of people who keep published material. Guy Montag is a fireman who has never questioned the pleasures of burning, until one day when out of curiosity he takes a copy of a book home and together with his wife he tries to read. However, they have never read a book, and while they can read, they are not able to understand, to connect the sentences. This is just the awakening of Montag's mind. We know there is something about him, and that he won't be the same until we reach the last page.
Rather than being far fetcher Bradbury created a timeless story. Things like those describes in the book have been happening for ages. We may not literally burn books, but books, newspapers and magazines are burnt everyday. Like he describes in the book it began with one minority ripping one paragraph, then another, then one more... until the day that it would be better to burn the whole book. We live in the age of minorities, and we should watch out some request.
The present edition is followed by an 'Afterword' and a 'Coda' written by Bradbury in first person. In the first he tells specifically about this novel, the process of writing and once more give voice to his characters to talk about themselves and they world they --and us-- live. In the second part, the writer talks about how timeless his novel indeed is. These two last chapters are very clarifying and help a lot in the understanding of the book. My suggestion is: read this novel, think of it, and see how the world can be one day. And then do your part to avoid things in this book becoming real, because 'Fahrenheit 451' can be anything, but far fetched.

Winged Migration
Winged Migration
DVD ~ Jacques Perrin
Offered by WhitePinkRose
Price: CDN$ 29.99
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.21

5.0 out of 5 stars O Bird, where art thou?, Nov. 5 2003
This review is from: Winged Migration (DVD)
You gotta love them. You have to love and praise the intelligence of our little feathered friends. If you don't, the documentary 'Winged Migration' may change your mind. Shot in more than 40 countries all around the world, the movie examines the phenomenon of migration. What makes birds travel thousands miles? The answer is easy: survival.
In order to survive to climate changes, birds go to one point to other in the planet, trying to reach more favorable temperatures. Later on, they will be back to their hometown. Full of beautiful images, the movie follows many groups of birds showing their way of life, things we could never have thought of. Birds are much more close to humans in behavior than we could imagine in our wildest dreams. There are feelings for every taste: familiar relations, jealousy, envy --there are two birds that seem to be 'fighting' which has the more beautiful tail--, love and an incredible taste for ballet. Yes, if you don't believe me, go and see the movie.
It comes with no surprise that such delicate work was produced, written and directed by Jacques Perrin, the same man behind the documentary 'MicroCosmos'. 'Winged' received a deserved nomination for the Oscar. But it is not the main reason to watch this movie. If you think your life is hard, think again. A bird's life can be even worse-- and more beautiful too.

Nasty Nature
Nasty Nature
by Nick Arnold
Edition: Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun for everyone, Oct. 19 2003
This review is from: Nasty Nature (Paperback)
Although this book is aimed for young adults, `Nasty Nature` can amuse both young and not-so-young adults. Nick Arnold has a funny way of writing, talking about things that could be boring the hands of a less talented writer.
The information he brings is interesting and completely new to many people. Plus, his style is easy and talks straight to kids, like he put himself in their shoes. Another great thing in this book is Tony De Saullres` illustrations. They are funny and cute-- even some nasty animals.
Some interesting information are provided about Mother Nature. But what I liked best is the light way that the book is written. Arnold has a gift of making what would be a bore in a funny and whoth reading book
My suggestion is: buy this book to your kids and read it yourself too. You`ll realized that you`d never noticed how interesting and nasty Mother Nature could be.

Joy Luck Club
Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
94 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The Joy and the Luck of reading this book, Oct. 12 2003
At first this is just another mother-daughter book, about the generation gap and the immigrants' problems and struggle to be accepted to learn a new culture and keep their own identity. If the book was only that it would be good, but the beauty of Amy Tan's 'The Joy Luck Club' is beyond that. She is not afraid of going really deeper in her novel.
Using her own background, Tan was able to build a story with a universal appeal. The main line of narrative follows he generation differences between for Chinese women who immigrated from China to USA in the 1940s. These women although being living in Western for over 40 years, somehow managed to keep their Chinese identity, history and traditions. On the other hand, her daughters are typically North American. This would bring a lot in anyone's plate to talk about, but the writer brought the daughters' and mothers' individual problems, and all they have faced that made them what and who they are.
Tan's style is nice and easy to follow, albeit there are 7 narrators in the novel, each one telling her story, and how it influence --or was influence by-- her mother's or daughter's.
You don't have to be a woman or a Chinese-American to like this book, and even identify with the characters. This is where Tan's prose reaches the universal appeal that so many writers lack of nowadays. It is an interesting book written with the heart, and also the brains.

Hands Around
Hands Around
by Arthur Schnitzler
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Sexual tension sparkling in every page, Oct. 5 2003
This review is from: Hands Around (Paperback)
A play for our times. Even though it was written more than 100 years ago, Arthur Schnitzler's 'Hands Around' is still fresh and down to earth, when it comes to man-woman relationships that will lead to a sexual intercourse.
Originally written in 1890s, this play was an instant scandal when first performed in 1920s. One can't help but wonders why. Don't wonder that much everything is there: sex is the main theme of this text. Yes, in this play people frankly talk about having sex for different reasons, such as money, love, power etc. This is what makes this text so timeless. A proof of this is that dramatist David Hare --who scripted the movie 'The Hours'-- updated it and entitled as 'The Blue Room', that brought together talents like Nicole Kidman and director Sam Mendes, to the London production.
'Hands' is a cycle of 10 dialogues always featuring a man and a woman. One is trying to seduce the other, who, by different reasons, is trying to escape from the seducer. More than baring bodies with his words, Arthur Schnitzler --whose one of most famous work 'Dream Story' was the base for Stanley Kubrick's 'Eyes Wide Shut'-- bares people souls, and brings a lot of tension --mostly sexual-- to the stage. Most of this author works' deals with Love (sex) and Death and this play is no exception. Although very subtle sometimes, Schnitzler is not afraid of talking about dissimulation and the power that sex has over people, making them do things they would never do in other context.
This play is a gem. Wonderfully written and with unforgettable characters. Nevertheless, it is not for everyone. Some people may be offended with so many invasions of our minds and souls.

Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt
Edition: Paperback
62 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An Everlasting lovely story, Sept. 14 2003
This review is from: Tuck Everlasting (Paperback)
Much before the eco-friendly fashion, Natalie Babbitt wrote a novel about the importance of nature for life on earth. 'Tuck Everlasting' tells the story of a family doomed to --or blessed with-- living forever and never getting older. They have been hiding for many years, but end up found by an adolescent who lives nearby. Telling more is spoiling the fun of reading the wonderful novel wrote for kids, but that may please adults alike.
What I liked most is how subtle the writer deals with the ecology preservation is in the novel. The Tucks got eternal life from drinking the water of a pond, and there is a man in yellow suit trying to buy the place where the pond is, so that he can bottle the water and sell it. I think that somehow the writer is showing us how dangerous it is to mess up with Mother Nature. All the time, Babbitt talks about the importance of the forests and the water to life.
This is a book that will sure last forever. In a hundred of years people will still be reading this novel and enjoying it. Kids may grow used to technology, but they will always be touched by such a simple and lovely story. So will adults.

Prozac Nation
Prozac Nation
by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.36
70 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A good book but not for everyone, Sept. 14 2003
This review is from: Prozac Nation (Paperback)
Growing up isn't easy. It can be even worse if you have any kind of condition. Putting all pride aside, Elizabeth Wurtzel has written a powerful memoir about what it is to be a person suffering from depression. She shows how complicated life can be, and how important our friends are to help us getting out of such a situation.
Many people complain that the book is full of self-pitty. Sure it is, but I don't think it is really a problem. We can get through it. I found the writing very touch and sincere, and Wurtzel a brave woman to come so clean about he problems. I do believe that writing was somehow a catharsis that helped her to 'overcome' her condition. The 'Afterword' present in the paperback edition is clarifying and elucidates how much we aren't aware of our conditions and ourselves.
It is a good book --but depressive (but it is not a surprise, since we know what it is about). Nevertheless, it is not recommended to everyone. I suggest it only to people who have suffered from depression and to those who has a least interest in the subject, otherwise, it won't be interesting for you. If you enjoy this, I also recommed 'Bell Jar', by Sylvia Plath; and 'Girl, Interrupted', by Susanna Kaysen.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Breakfast at Tiffany's
by Truman Capote
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.02
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle work of art, Aug. 19 2003
This review is from: Breakfast at Tiffany's (Paperback)
The name Holi Golightly stands as a paramount in the XX Century culture. As a character, she define fashion, charm and desired, and she has lived in our imagination since when the movie was released. But before the movie there was the book. Written by Truman Capote, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' is one of the best novellas ever written in English. The charm, the style, the passion, all is there.
This is more or less the book that defines the glamorous New Your in our mind. The city is virtually a character, as important as Holi's cat, so to speak. Its urbarn landscape is pictured in our minds as a happy place, where one can help but having fun whenever one wants. At least this is what we get from the protagonist's behaviour.
Capote's style is full of charm and passion, and the length of the story makes it precise and almost flawless. Maybe we wouldn't have succeded had he written a long novel about Holi. Things and people pops up in her life and a few pages later they are gone and forgotten. Lucy are the ones who had the luch to meet her.
The other three stories in this book are quite good not, although not as nearly as famous as 'Breakfast'. 'House of Flowers' tells a story about love and how much we sometimes give up in order to be with the one we like. It is a story of a girl who is trying to find her place in the world, but all she finds is not so many good people. Those people are not bad, they just aren't good. 'Diamond guitar' is about two convicts who become friends and how important this friendship is for them in order to survive the difficulties of jair. But, of course, something will came up and may --or may not-- set them appart. The last story 'A Christmas Memory' is a little jew that should be saved for Christmas time. It is about the unexpected friendship about an old woman and a seven-year-old boy.
To sum up, the four stories in this edition deal with misfits, that are trying to survive in a wild society that does not accept too much poetry and sweetness. This book is a high achievment for world wide literature. And later, with 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' an achievment for the cinema.

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