Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Nevermore: Trooper the Bobcat, Sal, Art of Mending, Georginiana, Long Journey Home

Reported by Ambrea

Nevermore started with Trooper:  The Bobcat Who Came in from the Wild by Forrest Bryant Johnson.  During the summer of 1987, Johnson rescued an injured bobcat kitten—and what started as a few nights of recuperation, turned into a lifetime commitment.  Trooper stayed with the Johnson family for over nineteen years, living his nine lives to the fullest in the Mojave Desert.  Our reader thought Trooper was “a good book in the sense that it [completely] recounts the development of Trooper.”  She said it was full of good stuff, offering wonderful insight into what it takes to raise a wild animal and lovely descriptions of the Mojave Desert.

Next, Nevermore checked out Sal by Mick Kitson.  Sal spent a year preparing and planning to runaway.  She stole an Ordnance Survey map, she bought supplies (like a compass, a reliable knife, waterproof clothes, a first-aid kit), she read survival handbooks and watched Youtube videos and, in general, learned how to survive in the wilderness.  Now, Sal is ready to run—ready to protect her sister, Peppa, before Robert can get his hands on her too.  Our reader said Sal was a fascinating novel about survival set in Scotland.  “This book really grabs you,” she told Nevermore, and she highly recommended it to her fellow readers who enjoy suspenseful stories with an uplifting slant.

Nevermore also looked at The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg.  Laura Bartone is dreading the annual family reunion in Minnesota.  Family reunions are always trying, especially when her black sheep sister, Caroline, is involved.  But as soon as Laura arrives, she realizes that something is not right with her sister—and when Caroline confronts them with horrifying allegations about their mother, Laura must come to terms with the notion that their mother is not who she believed.  Our reader commented that The Art of Mending was very similar to most books written by Berg, in that it deals with complex family dynamics and family secrets and reconciliation after emotionally devastating news; however, she said she really enjoyed reading Berg’s novel.  She liked the intricate, nuanced links between family members and how they managed to deal with one another, even in the most trying times.

Next, Nevermore shared Amanda Foreman’s award-winning book, Georgiana:  Duchess of Devonshire.  Lady Georgiana Spencer was an ancestor to Diana, Princess of Wales, and proved equally famous during the eighteenth century, becoming the figurative queen of fashionable society after she married the Duke of Devonshire.  Her life and marriage, however, were far from perfect, and she faced many issues, including uncontrollable gambling, drinking, drug-taking, and illicit love affairs.  Our reader said Georgiana was absolutely fascinating.  Foreman’s book offered detailed insight into the eighteenth century aristocracy of England, providing an eye-opening look at the political, social, and cultural shape of England during the reign of King George III, the American and French Revolutions, and the eventual defeat of Napoleon.  “[While] the Whig politics were a little boring…[Georgiana’s] life was so interesting,” she commented, before giving the book a thumbs up.

Nevermore concluded with Margaret Robison’s memoir, The Long Journey Home.  Robison was first introduced to the world by her two sons:  Augusten Burroughs (author of Running with Scissors) and John Elder Robison (writer of Look Me in the Eye).  In her memoir, Robison offers a different slant on the tumultuous family life she and her sons suffered, providing a compellingly insightful and brutally honest account of the mental illness that tormented her, as well as the traumatic relationships that marked her.  Our reader, who enjoyed Burroughs’s Running with Scissors, picked up Robison’s memoir out of curiosity; however, she noted she didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as her son’s.  “I thought it was a bit whiny,” she said.  While she wouldn’t consider it a bad book, she didn’t think it was an amazing book.  It filled it details regarding Augusten Burroughs’s life, which she found interesting, but, otherwise, it wasn’t terribly impressive.

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