pen rainbow

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday—The Reading Corner: Big Girl, The Righteous & The Magna Carta

Big Girl by Danielle Steel — $7.99 on Kindle  ★★

I've read and enjoyed some of Danielle Steel's other books (i.e. Legacy, A Novel, and Family Ties), but this one fell flat for me.  The main character may not have been thin, but the writing sure was.  It seemed like a rush writing job, and I found myself skimming over the pages without missing anything important in the story.  

Victoria is overweight, and she is extremely attached to her sister...A few pages later, Victoria is still overweight, and she really, really, REALLY loves her sister.  Now, she wants to be a teacher, and her parents don't give a crap.  Next chapter, guess what?  She's a teacher, and her parents don't give a crap.  Victoria still loves her sister.      

My alternate ending:  The two sisters join forces and have it out with the idiot parents.  They finally tell them to lay off the fat comments, once and for all.  The dad gets killed in a freak golfing accident when his out-of-control golf cart slides down a rocky cliff at Pebble Beach, and he is eaten by a Great White shark.  The mother sells off the estate, splits it with the 2 daughters, and moves to Santa Barbara to sell surf boards with her new boyfriend.  Victoria and her sister use their inheritance to start a successful chain of clothing stores called, Big Girl, which sells trendy, eco-friendly clothing for women, sizes 14 and up.  They become rich, and their mom lives happily ever after.  The End.

The Righteous by Michael Wallace — 99¢ on Kindle  ★★★★

I started this book right after I finished, Big Girl by Danielle Steel, and was immediately impressed with the elevated, smart style of writing.  I was instantly engaged, and my first thought was that this was going to be a book that I would enjoy.  Now that I'm 49 percent of the way through, I am almost ready to put it down.  (Keep reading...the book gets better!)    

This story takes place in Southern Utah and Las Vegas, and it revolves around a fringe community of Mormon polygamists in a fictional town called, Blister Creek.  It starts out with the violent murder of a young wife who is caught as she is trying to flee from her family and expose criminal activities that are taking place within the community.  

The investigator, Jacob, is a young man who is a member of the church in good standing.  He is sent down to Blister Creek by his father, a polygamist community leader in Calgary, Canada, to find the murderer before the gentile authorities step in.  Jacob also has to find a husband for his 17-year old sister who has accompanied him on the trip.  And, he has to select a first wife for himself.   

Just when I start to think that these two characters are worthy protagonists, they fall back into being blindly devout followers of their polygamist beliefs.  It's annoying.  The story has just crossed over into ridiculousness for me, so I'm not sure that I'll finish it.  With a Kindle, it's a little harder to skip to the last chapter and see how everything turns out, but I may end up doing that.  

I'll let you know next week.

Update:  I finished it, and it's pretty good.  It's like an LDS version of the Da Vinci Code.  I gave it 4 stars, three for the story and one for technical accuracy.  He got the church details right, and the geographical descriptions are right on.    

The Magna Carta at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco — Through June 5, 2011  ★★★★★
Admission:  Adults ($10) Youth ($6) Children 12 & under (free)
2 forms of classic architecture at the Legion of Honor

I went to see the Magna Carta yesterday, and it is an awesome thing.  First of all, it is 794 years old.  Secondly, this document formed the basis of our Constitutional liberties, our civil rights, and the rule of law.  More than anything, it represents the ideals of freedom.

A document like this did not come along casually or without duress.  History tells us that King John was strong-armed into signing it during wartime with the French in 1215.  Widespread abuse of the English feudal system led to rebellion among the barons and knights who then threatened to leave the King without a defensive army unless he adopted a system of laws to govern the land.  The Magna Carta was drafted in order to address the common issues of the day and to prevent civil unrest among the freemen.

Big deal, you say?  It is a big deal because this document contains the ideals that led to the constitutional government that created the United States.  There are seventeen vintage originals remaining, including the 1217 manuscript on display at the Legion of Honor.  

Simply awesome.  If you have the opportunity, it is well worth seeing!