Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Winter Reading Challenge Book Review #2: Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

I got the recommendation to read this book a long time ago (by my standards - maybe 8 months or so?) from a cousin who I really trust when it comes to literary material. Even her husband liked it, which told me it wasn't an entirely "chick" book. But something about it just screamed "chick book" to me. Not that that is a bad thing - we all need pure entertainment fiction sometimes. But with limited time to read, I try hard to read something that will add some knowledge base to my brain. I don't really like classics, and I don't like fiction that is "too light", so I strive for something somewhere in between those two ends.

Anyway, I picked it up because of the reading challenge. After all, it's been decorating my night table for some time. It was one of those books, as I knew it would be, that draws you in from the first page. Written in the first person, you immediately connect with the tone of the narrator, even though she apparently isn't all that honest or forthright in her relationships. And something is seriously wrong with her relationship with her family, which quickly becomes apparent in the first chapter.

I wonder if, being Southern fiction, it will get compared to To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye or something. I found the book much more engaging than I found either of those classics (for the record, I did not really like either of them) and would compare it more to Bastard Out of Carolina. If you've read that and liked it, you'll like this.

There was a mystery about the book, which I won't spoil, but it is well crafted and although you realize you're missing something, it's not easily apparent what the twist is. I never read a book twice, but I would choose this book again if I hadn't read it. It's just one of those kinds of "easy read/mindless" books that I can't have a steady diet of. There's nothing wrong with it per se, it's just that it's pure entertainment and nothing substantially more.


Framed said...

Lisa, Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed your review. I have a book by Jackson on my TBR list, "Between, Georgia," but I need to check into this one as well. You asked about my jpeg of the open, upright book. I usually find all my images on MSN Search or Yahoo Images. I was just lucky to find this one. The images are usually just flat pictures.

SuziQoregon said...

I loved this book and her second one Between, Georgia is wonderful too.

jay are said...

Yay!! I knew you'd like it. And I totally agree with suzioregon:
"Between, Georgia" is excellent. Unique, non-formula characters (one of whom is deaf, so of course I found that interesting). You'll like it. Can't wait for her next book. It's always so great to find a new author, but I usually like to find them after they've already written ten books or so---it's so painful to have to actually WAIT for the next one! :)