Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tolog Review: The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club 
by Amy Tan
reviewed by Kitty Fang

At the moment I closed the book, I laughed with tears. I felt sorry for what the characters in the book have gone through while I smiled for the happy ending. 

The Joy Luck Club tells stories of four immigrant mothers from China and their daughters who were born in America. The mothers came to America with the willing to get rid of their pathetic past and the hope for giving their kids a better life. They founded the joy luck club and played Mahjong, which is my favorite game and attracted me to read the book in the first place. The author did a great job talking about marriage and relationship between mothers and daughters.

I was always wondering how I should get along with my future daughter when I was reading the book. Waverly and her mother Lindo make me think of my own mother. Since I was little, my mom always makes comparisons between other kids and me. Every time I had to try harder and harder, trying to be outstanding. At that time I thought she just enjoyed the feeling of superiority, but I just realized that I was wrong. The reason why my mother compared me with others is the same as Lindo’s---- They are both proud of their daughters. There was so much misunderstanding between Lindo and Waverly, just as my mother and me. The book tells me that mothers and daughters should be understanding for each other. Now I think I have figured out the answer of the way to get along with my future daughter.
The second important theme is marriage. Marriage, the word seems to be distant to me since I am only 15. The first marriage of Lindo, which happened in ancient China, was unhappy. Women cannot choose their husband in ancient China. Indeed, how can a marriage be happy when the couples have never met before? I admire Lindo because she got out of that marriage by a trick and came to America and found her true self. I strongly disagree that wives are supposed to obey everything their husbands say. The book teaches me the right definition of love and marriage: Female and male are born to be equal. We women should have the courage to stand out for ourselves when it is needed.
Additionally, The Joy Luck Club talks about culture gap, Chinese tradition and so on. I appreciate the way the author plots. It is creative and attractive that the whole book is written in first person in different people’s views. The Joy Luck Club is such a great book that makes me want to read it again.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tolog Review: Outside Beauty

Outside Beauty
by Cynthia Kadohata
reviewed by Mia Valencia Chanler

Outside Beauty is a novel written by Cynthia Kadohata about four sisters who not only have a very close bond with one another, but also live in a very unique family structure. The story is told through the eyes of Shelby and because of this the vocabulary used is not as advanced. The four girls, Marilyn, Lakey, Shelby, and Maddie share the same mother, however, they are all from different dads. Helen, their mother, only truly cares about her looks and how to keep herself from looking older. She teaches the girls that beauty is really all that counts to men and the world, instead of how smart one is. Although this is not true and perhaps Helen is not a good role model for the girls, she shows them what it is to be brave and the importance of family. She does this by deciding the girls have to live with their biological fathers after a terrible car accident leaves her in the hospital. They are then sent across the country to stay with their real fathers until their mother is well again. But from their mother’s determined qualities she instilled in them, they will not let this bump in the road damage their pact together. They must now find a way to overcome this difficult situation to find themselves and one another. The love and companionship the girls have illustrates how a family does not have to be the traditional, “perfect” family in order to be considered a family. A family is people whom love each other unconditionally and would do anything to make him or her happy. The other stuff, when it comes down to it, does not matter. All that matters is their love.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tolog Review: And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie
reviewed by Alexandra Artura

“And Then There Were None” is a timeless novel about how a harmless getaway to an isolated island went terribly wrong. Written by Agatha Christie, it’s a suspenseful story that quickly became a classic and appeals to a variety of readers.

For the ten unsuspecting victims of a murder case, spending a week on Soldier Island was just the kind of vacation they needed. What they didn’t know was that this trip could possibly be their last. Each of the ten residents was invited by an unknown acquaintance to the mysterious island. When their host didn’t show up, they knew that something was amiss. All of a sudden, it seemed as though the guests were dying off one by one. Each death seemed to correspond with a line from a twisted nursery rhyme that hung in each of the bedrooms. As each guest had their life taken from them, each soldier figure on the dining room table went along with them. At first they thought of it as just a coincidence, but things fell into place and they realized that they might be murdered before they ever get the chance to leave the island. 

Agatha Christie is the author of many mystery novels, but this book is one of her best works. It keeps readers on their toes and in suspense throughout the entire story. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen next! She does an excellent job of moving the story along and connecting one event to the next. Even when you think you have everything figured out, she finds a way to turn the whole story around. I felt compelled to keep reading, and just couldn’t seem to put this book down. If you enjoy mystery novels that keep you engaged, then you should read “And Then There Were None”.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tolog Review: My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
reviewed by Mercedes De La Torre

Jodi Picoult’s “My sister’s keeper” analyzes just how precious life is and discusses the controversial idea about whether it is morally just for scientist to help a woman conceive a child to help save another. The story begins when Anna goes to see Mr. Campbell Alexander the “kid lawyer.” She states that she would like to file a lawsuit against her parents regarding her rights to her own body. Her sister Kate, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia at the age of two, needed a kidney transplant and Anna has decided that she should not have to give up her kidney, and that enough is enough. 

When Anna’s mother Sara first received the papers saying that she had been served she felt betrayed by her daughter and really couldn’t seem to understand why Anna would do this to her sister Kate. Throughout the book you can see how Anna and Sara’s mother daughter relationship strengthens. As the book progresses Sara becomes more understanding towards her daughter and ultimately realizes that it was Anna’s decision because it was her body and even though she loved her sister she knew things had reached their limits. This specific situation between Anna and her mother reminds me of many mother daughter relationships. Sometimes us teens feel as though our mom’s may not understand us and sometimes it may be hard for the mother to hear what were feeling because they mat not understand but one thing to always remember is that she will love you unconditionally. My mom always said that watching your child in pain is one of the hardest things a mother ever has to go through. When Kate was diagnosed with cancer at such a young age Sara’s maternal instincts kicked in and she was determined to do all that she could to save her baby. I feel that she was a bit too sidetracked in helping Kate in anyway she could that she may have not realized how it was affecting Anna. 

One thing I enjoyed but at the same time didn’t enjoy about Picoult’s choice I style of writing. For example, the very first chapter talks about how Anna goes in to see Mr. Alexander and it is written form her perspective but the very next chapter was from Mr. Alexander’s point of you. I enjoyed this because it was personal to exactly how each character was feeling in that specific situation but at the same time I felt as thought the book became repetitive and a bit slow. 

Overall, I truly did enjoy this book. It made me laugh, cry and wish I knew a boy as amazing as Taylor Ambrose all at once but most importantly made me value life. I realized how easy it can be to take the little things in life for granted but that we shouldn’t because things as simple as waking up and putting to feet on the ground could be someone’s dream out there somewhere in the world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tolog Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
reviewed by Mattison Interian

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is an amazing book filled with innocence, kindness, cruelty, love, and hatred. This best seller is a Pulitzer Prize award-winning book and has won over the heart of millions. Harper Lee won my heart over with Jem, Scout, Dill and Atticus by plunging me deep into who they were and the struggles they were experiencing in Maycomb. The book seemed to have almost two halves to it. One half of the book is consumed with Jem, Scout and Dill’s obsession with Boo Radley. The other half is mostly consumed with the trial of Tom Robinson. To Kill a Mockingbird addressed many controversial conflicts including that Scout was not treated well because of who she is, Tom was treated unfairly because of his skin color and Boo was judged because of his behavior.
Scout is a tomboy who refuses to act just like a proper woman after the Great Depression. She is constantly told that she needs to wear dresses and to stop going outside and playing with boys. Tom Robinson has the same issue; he was classified by his appearance and not by his personality. Tom Robinson was just being a good person and helping Mayella Ewell but when something goes wrong, the whole situation turns around and Tom could find himself locked up. Boo Radley never leaves his house, and in Maycomb, that causes rumors to start. Boo, whose real name is Arthur, has a few mental problems but he is still a nice person. He is viewed to be a monster who has become more of a myth than a person. They are all wrongly labeled and this creates many problems for them throughout the book.
Towards the middle of the book, everything takes a turn for the worst. Atticus is defending Tom in court and everyone is being mean to him and his family for defending an African American. Scout gets bullied even more for who she is and for what Atticus is doing for Tom. Can Scout stay strong and persevere through the tough times that she is going through or will she break down and believe the bullies? This book deals with being yourself and not caring about what others think of you.