Other Voices, Other Rooms

Other Voices, Other Rooms by: Truman Capote

Challenges: My Year of Reading Dangerously

Published: 1948

# of pages: 194

Quote: "Females in Miss Amy's age bracket, somewhere between forty-five and fifty, generally displayed a certain tenderness toward him, and he took their sympathy for granted; if, as had infrequently happened, this affection was withheld, he knew with what ease it could be guaranteed: a smile, a wistful glance, a courtly compliment: 'I want to say how pretty I think your hair is: a nice color.'"

This book definitely reminds me of the many literature courses I took while I was in school. This would have been the perfect book to read, analyze, and write an essay about. This novel is loosely based on Capote's own childhood, a fact that he originally disputed, but later admitted.

The story about Joel Knox, who is 13 and moves from New Orleans to live with his father in rural Alabama after his mother's death, really is a "gothic coming-of-age story", like the biography in this edition states. A scary, dilapidated mansion, a secluded family full of secrets, glimpses of a mysterious woman in the window, and many other components of this story qualify it for the gothic genre.

Capote mentions many "taboo" things in this novel, including rape and homosexuality, as well as including characters who are part of the minority of society like a dwarf in a circus, a little girl who is almost made an outcast because of her tomboyish ways, a hermit witch doctor, and many others. However, he includes these issues and characters in a fascinating way, seen through the eyes of Joel, a boy who is wise beyond his years.

I really enjoyed the character of Joel. He was so logical, but still a little boy. He was learning so many new things, but he saw everyone for who they were, not in the way the rest of society told him to see them. He meets Zoo, a "crazy" young woman whom he begins to love. The same is true of his cousin Randolph, who is a homosexual that the people in town smirk about. He also accepts and becomes friends with Idabel, a wild little tomboy that most people, including her twin sister, can't stand because she dresses and acts like a boy.

I recommend this book because of the powerful content, the beautiful writing style and descriptions, and the lessons that can be learned by following Joel as he adjusts to his new life.


Marked by: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Series: House of Night (book 1)

Challenges: TBR Challenge

Published: 2007

# of pages: 306

My quest for a vampire book besides Twilight to recommend to my teenage sister continues! The idea behind this book was a great one. However, with all of the bad language and bad attitudes in this book, I won't be telling my sister or any other teenage girl about this one. The writing style was also annoying. The authors included parentheses throughout the narrative with their own opinions. Thankfully these opinions are good (for example, doing drugs is bad, sleeping around is bad, starving yourself is bad, etc). Apparently using the F work repeatedly is not bad though. The authors tried too hard to make this a teenage book and it came off sounding forced.

The only good things about the book is that it had a fairly unique storyline (although they borrowed some parts from the movie "Mean Girls", including a gay guy named Damien and the whole lunchroom scene) and the protagonist does become a little more serious and grown up towards the end of the novel. Thankfully the "Mean Girls" scenes didn't continue throughout the book. I was afraid it would be a retelling of that movie for awhile there.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book to young adults because of the bad language and sexual content and I wouldn't recommend it to adults because of the annoying teenage attitudes among other things.

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