Becky’s Two Hundred and Eighty-Third Book Review: “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll

If you’re looking for a really fucked up book to read, look no further than “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll. This book is not for the squeamish, not for the sensitive, and not something you can easily put down or forget. That being said, I enjoyed this fucked up book.

To some people, being the popular girl in school is the whole point of high school. At whatever price that may be. This is a mindset that Ani carries over into her adult life. When the book starts out, we meet Ani as she is engaged to the perfect guy – smart, attractive, rich, and from a good family with proper lineage. And Ani is a fake-it-until-you-make-it kind of girl that spends all her time projecting this image so no one guesses where she really comes from or what horrors occurred in her past. Even with regards to her perfect fiancé, she keeps her darker thoughts tucked deep down. “I told Luke about that night at a time when he was enamored with me, which is the only time you should ever tell anyone something shameful about yourself – when a person is mad enough about you that disgrace is endearing.” (Luckiest Girl Alive, pg 89).

With a totally unsympathetic mother, it isn’t hard to understand the attitude that Ani takes on life. Ani was a very interesting character. We see her first as this successful woman in New York City, and just have hints about what happened in her past. But then we learn bits and pieces about what happened and how she rose up to be one of the popular girls just to have it all come crashing down. Her ability to cope despite the complete lack of helpful and available adults is astounding. The one teacher that tries to help her she pushes away because she is so unused to kindness that to accept his help seems to her to be a form of weakness. Ani learns that the only person you can count on is yourself. And that is what she builds her life on. “I saw how there was a protection in success and success was defined by threatening the minion on the other end of a cell phone, expensive pumps terrorizing the city, people stepping out of your way simply because you looked like you had more important places to be than they did. Somewhere along the way, a man got tangled up in this definition too. I just had to get to that, I decided, and no one could hurt me again.” (Luckiest Girl Alive, pg 288). In some ways, Ani is one of the strongest characters that I’ve seen. She certainly refuses to let tragedy defeat her, no matter what form it takes.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. It isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. There is a lot of brutally raw and upsetting experiences that Ani lives through in “Luckiest Girl Alive” that those who do not have a strong stomach would likely not enjoy this book. It could also serve as a trigger to those with tragedy in their pasts. But if you can stomach it, I don’t think this is a book you will soon forget. I liked the brutality of Jessica Knoll’s writing and I would be interested to see what else she writes, however, I’m not sure I would pick this up for a reread anytime soon.

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Becky’s Seventy-Sixth Book Review: “Carrie” by Stephen King

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE CARRIE MOVIE AND/OR READ CARRIE AND ARE PLANNING ON IT (and don’t want everything spoiled…)

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to make a new post! Already twelve days into the month and I’ve only finished one book! As I finished spooning my New England Clam Chowder into my mouth I also finished reading “Carrie” by Stephen King.

This is actually not the first time that I’ve read this book, but since I didn’t write a review last time I thought, why not? Plus with the new movie coming out soonish I thought it might be of interest to other people too.

There is a reason that Carrie is a classic. That so many of the lines from the novel and/or movie are well known to those who haven’t even read or watched Carrie. At the very basic level, Carrie is about a girl who is picked on her whole life until she finally snaps. The difference being that she has the useful and deadly ability to move things with her mind. If you want to go deeper into the novel, I think on some level people can connect with Carrie as a character. She is this friendless outcast that is always the butt of jokes. I believe that at one time or another, everyone has felt like an outcast. I guess I don’t really know what it is like for those in the popular crowd since I never fell into that category…but I was by no means friendless as a child and still felt that way sometimes.

In a strange way, I found myself cheering for Carrie. I knew how everything would turn out, having seen the movie multiple times and having read the book once before. Nevertheless I saw Carrie grow stronger the further I progressed into the book and looking forward to the inevitable carnage. Maybe it was partly because I connected so much with her and the pain that she was surrounded with. Maybe it was because I can just be morbid. Either way, I devoured Stephen King’s “Carrie” quickly.

Part of the delay in writing a review before this is because I have been reading several books this month. One I’m struggling with, so I think I may take a break and pick it up in a little while. The other two are my two favorite books “Jane Eyre” and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” which I’ve never read at the same time before. I didn’t even do so intentionally now, but I am finding many parallels between the two main characters which is making me realize more and more why these are my favorite books. More reviews to come.

Would I recommend “Carrie” by Stephen King? Yes, the book is excellent. It is also on the shorter side, so it is a great book for those of you that cannot commit to extremely long novels, such as “The Stand” which was around 1500 pages. “Carrie” is only 290 pages, which to me is short.

I want to make a quick mention about the movie as well. The original movie that is the most well known came out in 1976 and did a pretty good job for the time. I did not like the fact that the total destruction of the town was altered to only include the fire at the high school, the car accident that killed Chris and Billy (the couple responsible for the buckets of blood), and the death of Carrie’s mother. She died differently in the book, but I think the movie did well with what they included.

When checking the dates of the movies I found out that there was a TV movie that came out in 2002. In 1999 a sequel of sorts came out, The Rage: Carrie 2. In it the main character has the same father as the original Carrie did but instead of destroying a high school, it’s a house where there is a party in full swing. I thought it was entertaining and have seen it a few times personally.

I am very excited to see the new movie which is scheduled to come out in October 2013. So I have to be patient for a few months, but from the small preview that I’ve been able to find on youtube, it looks like they may have adapted the movie to follow the book almost to a t. I think that is great and can’t wait to see how it turns out.