Book Review: Triple Threat Sunday

What do you look for in a book?

A certain writing style, work of art or just a good story that drives you to another place.

I discovered all of those things and more rolled into one giant bundle in Douglas Perry’s The Girls of Murder City, Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay and Joshilyn Jackson’s a grown-up kind of pretty.

The Girls of Murder City

4 cappuccinos

“Both went for the gun!” W.W. O’Brien called out … They (the defense) would present their client as a “virtuous working girl” caught up in a crazy age.

Douglas Perry reveals the inspiration behind journalist and playwright, Maurine Watkins‘, famous Chicago. What was true and what was false in the Broadway—turned movie—version?

Perry put storytelling and description together with quality research to bring to life the women of Cook County Jail’s Murderess Row. He also goes inside the newspaper world and how women writers were lucky to cover courtroom or crime stories. Maurine Watkins, a pastor’s daughter, became a front page journalist during a time when a reporter was considered lucky to have his or her name with a story.

Go get it now and read about battles inside the newspaper business, in cars, apartments and courtrooms.

It will tell you, like the song, “He had it coming.”


Mockingjay

3.5 cappuccinos

“‘I still stand by what I said. Do you want me to lie about it?’” he (Gale) said. “‘No, I want you to rethink it and come up with the right opinion,’” I tell him.

Katniss Everdeen must do more than recover. She must deal with the fact District 12 is no more, Peeta Mellark has been taken by the Capitol, and District 13 does exist. While she is upheld as the Mockingjay, she remains uncertain as to whether District 13′s President Coin is any better than President Snow.

The book kept me wanting more. Unlike the other two books, I needed to stop because there were very emotional and disturbing scenes. Suzanne Collins does a great job of making the reader think about causes of war. She makes you think of reasons for war and how far is too far.

Katniss faces emotional scars that will never fully heal. In that respect, Collins does a good job exposing YA readers to what war is like for veterans.

The ending leaves a few loose ends. There are a few unanswered questions. One of the problems I had throughout the trilogy was: Who is Katniss’ mother? Her father, who was dead, was more fully developed. I realize that is because Katniss lacked respect for her mother. But, I expected a little something.

a grown-up kind of pretty

4 cappuccinos

My daughter, Liza, put her heart in a silver box and buried it under the willow tree in our backyard.

If you read my posts, you’ve seen mention of Joshilyn Jackson. A grown-up kind of pretty blows all of Jackson’s other books out of the water. This is her masterpiece thus far. She gives a voice to three characters instead of just one: a grandmother, a rebellious mother and a teenage girl coming of age.

Every 15 years something bad happens to the Slocumb family. Forty-five-year-old Ginny hopes her granddaughter, Mosey, will be spared the family curse. But, when an old grave is discovered beneath Liza’s—Ginny’s daughter—beloved tree, questions arise. Ginny tries to keep Mosey protected. Mosey wants to discover the past, and Liza suffers a stroke keeping the secrets locked inside her.

Mystery, murder, betrayal, family and romance are all in the book. None of the voices were as vivid and heart-breaking as Liza. Jackson writes her in third person. When I attended Jackson’s book signing months earlier, she said she felt too close to Liza to have written her in first person.

All three narrators blend well together, and the reader wants to keep turning the page. You’ll read until Jackson’s words knock the breath out of you.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson


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