The Green Glass Sea
by Ellen Klages Published by Penguin
on October 19th 2006
It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist fatherâ€”but no one, not her father nor the military guardians who accompany her, will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he's working on a top secret government program. Over the next few years, Dewey gets to know eminent scientists, starts tinkering with her own mechanical projects, becomes friends with a budding artist who is as much of a misfit as she isâ€”and, all the while, has no idea how the Manhattan Project is about to change the world. This book's fresh prose and fascinating subject are like nothing you've read before.
This is one of those books that I purely picked up because of where it takes place. I am born and raised in New Mexico and anytime I come across a book that features New Mexico, I of course have to pick it up. I’m actually really glad that I did with this one! This book takes place in Los Alamos at the time of them building the atomic bombs. While that is the setting and the time frame, the focus was definitely on Suze and Dewey growing up.
Dewey is a little girl genius and I loved her. She was pretty unique and definitely true to herself. She embraced the things that she enjoyed and didn’t entirely care about what others thought of her. She had a strong relationship with her dad and he really seemed to support her in her adventures of building all these things and learning and what not. I did feel really bad for her though. She had to go through some tough situations, but I’m glad that she was able to really overcome them.
Suze was a little bit of a bad egg when we first meet her. I think that once she starts spending more time with Dewey she really comes into her own and grows as a person. She starts to open up a bit more and that was nice to see. I liked that her intelligence was in a different form than Dewey. It shows that there is more than just one kind of intelligence. I really liked her mom as well. She was super nice and smart and was really there for both Suze and Dewey. Yay for smart women! I also liked that she played a bit of a moral role in the things that were happening amidst the adults (with building ‘The Gadget’).
I can’t help but wonder how accurate this is. I can only imagine being in this military encampment where no one can really talk about what’s going on. I feel like some of the adults probably had an idea of what was going on, but certainly none of the kids did. Even the adults though didn’t quite understand the ramifications of their actions. Suze’s mom tried to be that voice of reason, but no one really paid much attention to her in regards to that. I also don’t think they understood the impact this type of bomb could have. A few days later they decide to go the bomb site! I wonder how many of the workers and what not dealt with the side effects of radiation years later. This is definitely a topic I will try to read more about. My interest is piqued!
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I’m happy that there is a sequel (which I already own) since I do want to see more of Dewey and Suze and their family. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction and smart women and this time frame.
by Jojo Moyes Published by Penguin
on September 23rd 2015
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future...
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
I finally finished a book! The last book I finished was The Martian on October 8th. It is now November 4th. That’s basically an entire month (almost) that I didn’t finish a book! I was in such a bad reading slump that even trying to re-read Harry Potter didn’t work out so well for me. It was ridiculous! I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I’m just so thrilled that I finally read something!
So what was this book that may be the beginning of the end of this slump? After You by Jojo Moyes. I read Me Before You (the first in this duology) back in August. I basically put the sequel on hold through my library immediately thereafter. After almost two months, I finally got a copy! Of course I got this copy in the middle of this stupid reading slump. I decided to try to read it since I waited so long for a copy and I didn’t want to have to wait so long again. I’m just so excited I actually I got through it!
When I first read Me Before You, I really enjoyed it. I loved watching Lou grow and learn more about life outside of her small hometown. The ending of course wrecked me. I knew it was coming (thank you spoilers and my tendency to seek them out), but I don’t think there’s really preparing for it. I think knowing what was going to happen at the end made it a more interesting read. I feel like I could understand Will a little bit better.
That said, I had high hopes for After You. While I still really enjoyed it, it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I was kind of surprised with where Lou was in the grieving process and in life. She had so much personality and it kind of disappeared in this installment. As much as I wasn’t a huge fan of her in the beginning, I did like her journey and where she ended up by the end. I think she was really able to move on and actually start living.
I grew up dealing with unresolved grief so I think the passages with the Moving On Group are what I really connected with. I also really connected with Lily trying to find a connection with her family. I also grew up not really knowing a parent (my mother). I do wish the whole phone pic thing wasn’t where her story went. That was one thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of. I feel her behavior could have been handled in a different way that didn’t seem such a similar version of what happened to Lou in the maze. It almost felt like a cop out for me.
I did like Sam and what he added to the story. He was so much different than Will. If he was too much like him, I don’t think I would have liked his relationship with Lou. She needed someone different than Will. I liked that Sam wasn’t really afraid to point out her need to really let Will go. He was able to help her move on since he had also dealt with the loss of someone close to him. I did find it funny who she thought he was related to. That was kind of awesome. I didn’t like what happened to him at the end though. I feel like that was just being mean to Lou and wasn’t really fair to her.
Overall, I really enjoyed this duology and I definitely plan on reading more by Jojo Moyes. Her books touch on emotions that you don’t really see handled in such a light way. I can see where many may not enjoy this duology, but I think everyone should at least give them a try.