Mystery Book Exchange – Review Childhood’s End and The Weight of Silence

Posted 21 September, 2010 by Danny in / 0 Comments

Hello Readers! It’s Mystery Book Exchange time! First I want introduce my friend, and fellow bibliophile, Greta, also known as Erikasbuddy. She writes some of the most interesting (ie HONEST and HILARIOUS!) reviews over on Goodreads and I just couldn’t wait to challenge her to our little book review fun!I’ll start with my challenge to Greta: Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.

Uhyesplease: Why in the world would I pick an old 1950s sci-fi book? Because it’s one of my favorites and it’s a little out of this blog (and Greta’s!) comfort zone. I had to read this book for a college class, and it was one of the few things I took away as a “wow moment” in my entire undergrad experience. Especially for the general ed class that made it a required reading.

Uhyesplease and I squee back and forth about books almost as often as Sam probably changes his flea collar or Edward broods in the sun. What I’m trying to say is: It’s constant!! We have pretty much figured out that our choices in books are quite similar. We both have a love for fur, fangs, wings, and squees 🙂 So, when she asked me if I would like to be involved in Mystery Book Exchange, I had 3 little words for her. They were: Squee squee squee!!

I really didn’t know what to expect from her. Something hunky? Something yummy? Something full of angst and gore that would make me scream “Yes! Yes! Yes! More! More! More!”?

Before we exchanged books we had an agreement. The book we chose for each other had to be a book we could pick up at the library (because we’re both incredibly cheap. -she gets me!-) and we both had to go into it BLIND!! We could NOT and would NOT read the back cover or go looking at reviews about said book on such sites as Amazon or Goodreads.

Uhyesplease did slip up though… she told me to enjoy the ‘sci-fy old school goodness’ (ok… I think that’s what she said lolz). So, in my little head I have dragons, martians, hobbits, and wizards dancing in my head.

Even my Hubbles got all excited when he saw that Arthur C. Clarke wrote my book. “OH!! He’s good!! Everyone raves about him!” This scared me a bit considering my Hubz thought it would be a good. We don’t tend to agree on literature 😉 But, I didn’t say anything…. I just kept wondering why on earth my book had a giant grey eye on it. (It has to do with EYES, right?!!)

I cracked the book open on Friday night and I’m here to tell ya… Uhyesplease is smarter than me. She has to be!! This book albeit was written very well, it really confused the Invader Zims out of me. I got mondo lost at parts and was starting to wonder if the author was ever in the military (he was!), and halfway through reading was really starting to wonder where was this GIANT EYE that was on the cover was hiding? I really thought there would be a giant eye in this book. There was only one little part about the eye. The alien dudes were like “Hey, go look keat our giant creepy eye. Isn’t it cool?” and that was like it. I was like, hmmm…. Needs more eye 😉

The aliens in the story were very “People of Earth! We want you to go all ‘We are the World’ on each other. You will not fight each other and you will not kill bulls cuz if you do… YOU WILL PAY!! muhahahhas!!” (they didn’t like bullfighters) Basically, the alien dudes (who are extremely cool looking) wanted the human race to not go all atomic bomb on each other which I guess makes sense because this was written back in 1953 and I assume the whole world was doing that. I’m not 100% sure because my Dad wasn’t even born yet but I think that’s the way it was.

I noticed a lot of cryptic hidden religious messages in this book. That’s right!! I caught on!! *sings – I iz so smart! I iz so smart!!* I am curious (Need Cliff Notes!!) if that was one of the morals of the story. Wasn’t that the cool thing to do back in the days when Elvis was on the Top Charts? Have a hidden meaning of the story…. Like wasn’t the lesson to the Wizard of Oz to not back talk to your Aunt or she’ll drop a twister on ya? I think the moral of this story was: If you look hard enough you can disprove just about anything so quit trying to stick your nose in everything.

I think the main reason I had such a hard time with this book was there was a lot large smarty words in it and there were times where the plot jumped… like A LOT!! Like something would blow up and then they’d say – Well, this happened because of that… just deal with it and don’t ask questions- … but I wanted to ask questions. I’m sure there’s probably some Childhood’s End fanatic I could talk to. I know the Truth is out there!

All and All, I’m pretty sure this is a very rockin’ book but I’m soo modern that I had a hard time grasping it (that means I’m not as smart as Uhyesplease lolz).

I totally recommend this book to all you cats out there who enjoy the classics.

Thanks Uhyesplease!! It was totally fun reading a book that you lover doved!! I can’t wait to do it again! -squee squee!

* – * – * – * – * – * – *

I got to read The Weight of Silence by a Heather Gudenkauf (who is a local author!) As much as I loved Childhood’s End I really feel like Greta got the short of the stick on this deal. Please watch the video, as I am not good at writing a non-spoilery review…

Greta: I picked “The Weight of Silence” for Uhyesplease because it is soo out of our norm. No paranormal, no witch hunts, and no broodys. My bud Leila had me read this book a few months ago and I whined like a little brat that there weren’t any vampires in it. I actually just left it on my nightstand for a couple weeks, but after I read it I was blown away and just wanted everyone to read it. The Mystery Book Exchange gave me the perfect opportunity to spread the word 😉 I knew from the very start that Uhyesplease would totally dig it… even with the lack vampires with sexy hair.

I tried to write down my review after first reading it, but my heart was still too tender. I waited a week. Then another. And now is the only time I think I could sit down and do it. Yes, a night before the review is due!

What struck me in this book was how real it was portrayed. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, yet, even though the first chapter shows you at least one of the girls will be ok, that suspense is held strongly to the very end. What happened! How did it happen? Who is ok? Who isn’t ok? Who did it! GAH!

Will you need kleenex? Yes. Probably. Gudenkauf wrote each chapter with a different point of view which I really enjoyed, but every time Ben (the older brother of Calli, one of the girls who disappeared) had a turn just about killed me every time.

But I don’t mind a little pain in stories! As a child, when the Librarian asked what kind of books I liked to read, I remember, sometime in second or third grade, I told her, “I like books about people.” And this fit the bill. Thanks, Greta, for finding a book for me stripped down from all the romance, creepies, and things that go bump in the night (and look hot doing it). It was such a pleasure to read this book!

Because I loved it so much, I even contacted the author (who is a local Iowan like myself!) and asked for a signed book plate (which I’ll put in a book!) to give away. She was extremely excited to do so!

To enter the give-away, just reply in the comments that you would like a signed copy of the book and what was the best 1950s sci fi book or non-paranormal book you have read. Just kidding! Ok, maybe I’m not kidding – just comment away! FYI – the give away is open the United States only. Sorry int’l peeps.

And Greta – since I missed your birthday (SHAME ON ME) and made you read a big nasty sci-fi book, I got you your very own book and signed book plate, JUST FOR YOU!!! Happy Birthday! One month late!!! *SMOOCHES*

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Obsessive Reader by Night - Scientist at Day! You can also find me on goodreads. I'd love to get to know you so, don't be shy and say Hello!

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