Friday, 27 September 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Book: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 385

How Long it Took me to Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Simon Snow is basically like Harry Potter.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend- Levi, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate, Nick, who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Characters: Cath is our lead character and she is a pretty unique voice. She suffers from some form of social anxiety (though it isn’t diagnosed) and she is often lost in the world of Simon Snow. She is a rather well-loved fan fiction writer and takes pride in her many readers and the many comments her stories garner. But that is not the real world, in the real world Cath is nervous and anxious and likes keeping to herself. She isn’t taking being away from her twin very well. Cath was an interesting person to get to know and be immersed in her world. I liked that she wasn’t a typical YA heroine, she wasn’t perfect, too pretty and just sassy and confident or tough as nails. She was vulnerable and nervous and messed-up and scared and damaged. She was real and one could feel her stress and tension, even her unwillingness to leave her room to go to the dining hall for meals seemed understandable.

I also liked Levi, again a non-typical YA hero. His hair is sorta thinning- so he ain’t perfect. Also he is our lead character, Cath’s roommate’s ex. So slight complication there too. While Cath is a reader and a book love, Levi doesn’t read. Rather he can’t read…no he isn’t illetrate he has a reading disability (not clearly spelled out in the book.) so the leading romantic couple is pretty different. And while in some book this leads to sizzling chemistry or bickering. In this book it leads to a normal and fascinating relationship. I liked Levi, he was caring, sweet and lovely.

Wren, the errant twin was a character I wished there was more of. I wish we had seen more of her reason behind wanting to live a life independent of her twin.

What I Liked: I liked the writing, a lot! I remember being a few pages in and thinking to myself- I love the way this author writes.

I also liked how the characters were written and how they shaped up and remained consistent to the very end.

Interspersed with the regular chapters of the books, there are portion of the Simon Snow books and some of Cath’s fan-fic. I found this quite fun to read.

I liked getting to know the world of the super fan. Now I LOVE me my some Harry Potter, but I’ve never ever felt the need to read any sort of fan fiction. Even though I’ve come across some pretty hair fan-fics about Hermione and Harry! A former roommate of mine made me read a few lines and it was enough to make me sick to my stomach! Really, Harry and Hermione!?! I also know there exist some pretty explicit Draco and Hermione stories…I do not want to read them. So getting back to the point, I liked reading about a person who was so invested in the lives of fictional character and in fact wanted to create scenarios of her own.

What I Didn’t Like: Hmmmm…. I enjoyed the book for most part. But there were certain things I found a bit off.

Somewhere, in the middle of the book, about halfway in, I found my attention wavering. I was getting a little bored. I felt that there was too much going on. The book is basically Cath’s first year of college and it is one stressful thing after another. Her life in this one year was pretty damn crazy and it came across as slightly forced.

As much as I was enjoying Cath’s world. Cath herself was little tiresome. As much as I empathised with her social anxiety, I was getting a little sick of this being mentioned over and over. Cath was in the beginning of the book, not leaving her room and not venturing out to find her dorm’s dining hall because she didn’t want to be in a social situation. Instead she was eating granola bars for all meals. Even though she was hungry. 
This fact, or rather this occurrence was repeated over and over and over again. Yes, we get it, she is shy and socially awkward, and we don’t need it repeated so many times.

If you are someone who likes neat endings and every little aspect of the book tied up nicely by the time the last page arrives, you might not like this book. The book ends at the end of Cath’s first year and a lot of things are left unsaid or unexplained.

I also wished there was some more insight into Wren’s character. I wish we had gotten to see her perspective and why she wanted a life away from her twin and away from all the things that they had in common.

General Thoughts: I really want to read Eleanor and Park, the author’s hugely successful book but I just can’t get my hands on it. And I don’t want an eBook for it! So I got this one, because it sounded nice and to be fair it didn’t disappoint. It was an enjoyable read. But I did get bored smack in the middle of the book, which in my books is a pretty big let-down.

Will You Like It? Hmmm…you might if you like nice writing and fun characters.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book: Purple Hibiscus

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pages: 307

Plot Summary: The limits of fifteen-year-old Kambili’s world are defined by the high walls of her family estate and the dictates of her fanatically religious father. Her life is regulated by schedules: prayer, sleep, study, prayer.

When Nigeria is shaken by a military coup, Kambili’s father, involved mysteriously in the political crisis, sends her to live with her aunt. In this house, noisy and full of laughter, she discovers life and love – and a terrible, bruising secret deep within her family.

This extraordinary debut novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, is about the blurred lines between the old gods and the new, childhood and adulthood, love and hatred – the grey spaces in which truths are revealed and real life is lived.

Characters: This book has some very strong characters. Our main character, Kambili is however not the strongest of people you'll read about, but this mainly because of her tyrannical father. Kambili is a good kid, she is bright, works hard and respects her parents. Sometimes, in the course of the book, I found myself wishing she weren't so kind or docile. Her family life is a sham. Her father, Eugene, is a wealthy man and a religious man. He is also an abusive monster. Behind the high wall of his luxurious home he beats his poor wife and his two children. He expects nothing but perfection from his family and even a slight slip leads to a violent beating. 

Kambili  loves her father. While I personally found this baffling,  how  can you love someone, a parent no less who beat you so viciously that you ended up in a hospital??? As much as I understand the complexity of growing up in a abusive home and how it corrodes your spirit and self-worth, I just couldn't really get myself to really root for Kambili. 

Her brother Ja Ja is much more likable and heroic character. I really liked him and by the end of the book was rooting for him. 

I also loved Kambili and Ja Ja's aunty and her kids. They provided an alternate world for Kambili and she got to see how a real family is like and how life without the constant state of fear can be like. 

What I Liked: The writing, I am a fan of the author's writing. She writes simply and beautifully. This was the second book of hers that I read and I loved it. 

I also liked the look inside a abusive hell, not that it made of easy reading. Some parts were downright difficult to read. But I think the author managed to really get the dread and fear that Kambili, Ja Ja and their mother felt whenever the father was angry. 

What I Didnt' Like: It might seem silly but I didn't really like Kambili. I found her infuriating, loving, respecting and holding her abusive father in the highest esteem. She really loved him. And I just wanted her to be a little more evolved, a little more sorted. She doesn't almost till the very end, she doesn't see her father for who he really is. She thinks, her family and she deserve the cruelty that's meted out to them. 

General Thoughts: I read The Thing Around Your Neck by the same author and loved it. Read the review HERE. I wanted to read more from the same author and promptly ordered this book online, and this didn't disappoint. 

Will You Like It? Well, as difficult as the beating were, this is a well-written book. So you will most likely write it. 

Rating: 3/5 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sister Sundays | Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Book: The Light Between Oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman

Pages: 343

Plot Summary: After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgement, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. 

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss. 

Characters: First we have Tom Sherbourne, a young world-weary war veteran. Tom has witnessed the horrors of a war and all he wants in his life here on out is some peace and quiet. He is a highly spiritual man and he wants to, in some way, atone for taking human lives. Tom finds his job as a lighthouse keeper peaceful and highly satisfying; he likes that fact that this is a lonely job where he has a lot of time to be by himself. Tom is calm, quiet and has a very strong moral compass, which is why when Isabel wants to keep the baby without reporting the boat and the dead man, Tom is very uncomfortable with that decision. He is not able to say anything to Isabel because she had miscarried for a third time- this time when she was seven months along- and was hurting and vulnerable. Much against his better judgement and character, Tom lets her keep the baby and buries the man, but ever since then he is haunted by this deception of their. Tom is a wonderful father and he loves Lucy but the thought of what they've done weighs on him heavily, which eventually, makes their little world come crashing down on them... 

Isabel is a feisty and fun girl; after her marriage, she wants nothing more than a big family with which to fill up Janus Rock. The miscarriages weigh heavily on her and she thinks of them as her inability to give Tom the family that he deserves. Isabel becomes exceedingly attached to Lucy, so much so that when they find out about who Lucy really is and who she really belongs with, Isabel is completely unwilling to let Lucy go. Not even when she sees the suffering of Lucy's real mother. 

Then there is Hannah, with her own tragic past, who is only focused on finding her missing child. Hannah tries her best to be fair and sensitive once she finds her daughter- a much more honourable person than those around her. 

What I Liked: I liked the whole premise of the book. I like the moral dilemma that it presented- if you raise a child with love and no one else knows how that child came to be with you, is it okay to keep her? The child's father was dead in a boat, the child was wrapped in a woman's cardigan.. it was easy enough to assume that perhaps even her mother was dead. Does it then make it alright to keep the baby and raise it with all the love in the world? Also, was it right to reveal to Hannah where her baby was? I liked that the book posed these questions. 

What I Didn't Like: Nothing much. This book is beautifully written and each character is so well nuanced. 

General Thoughts: This book is set is Australia- off the Australian coast on a tiny sliver of an island. I love how Janus Rock is described- it sounds like a perfectly magical, though very lonely, place to live in. I wouldn't mind living there and running a lighthouse! Also, it was really interesting to read about how lighthouses were run back-in-the-day when there was no electricity. The Light Between Oceans is a stunning book and one of the best I have read this year! I highly recommend it! 

Rating: 5/5 

Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.

Book: Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Setepys

Pages: 346

Plot SummaryIt’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

Characters: The book is full of memorable and kind and generous and really likeable characters. 

There is our leading lady/protagonist Josie herself, who has a pretty sad life. Her mother is pretty much the definition of a terrible parent and Josie has been pretty much raising herself. Life isn't easy but Josie isn't one to mope about. She is determined to better her lot in life. With the help of some kind people Josie sets out to achieve her dreams. I loved Josie, her voice and her general spunk. I liked getting to know her and seeing her life and I rooted for her throughout the book. 

Apart from Josie, there are just soooooooooooo many amazing characters in this book. In fact one the best things in this book are the array of good people in it's pages. Patrick- Josie's colleague and friend. Willie, the madam of the brothel Josie's mother works in are just, is just an all round phenomenal person. 

What I Liked: The writing. I really enjoyed this book from the word go, and that was largely due to the simple yet eloquent. 

Like I said earlier, the heart-warming characters were instrumental in me loving this book. 

I also liked the general goodness of the book. In the sense, the kind people and their willingness and largess in helping Josie. 

I also liked that the book wasn't a typical happy endings book- the ending was happy- but it was a bit bittersweet. 

I also appreciated that Josie's mother remains a bad egg throughout and there wasn't a forced redemption for her. She was bad from beginning to end. 

What I Didn't Like: Very little. But there is a little thing that irked me a bit. From the blurb behind the book it talks of a murder happening in the Quarter. From that I assumed that the murder mystery might be an integral part of the book. But that was not the case. The murder and it's investigation is just something that happens...and has little bearing on the plot. Which isn't the worst thing in the world, but it was a little..misleading. Thankfully, the book is great on it's own and so you'd enjoy it nonetheless. 

General Thoughts: I bought this book because I heard so many good things about it and the cover looked amazing.  This book lived up to my expectations. It was a sweet book that made me smile and warmed my heart. 

Will you Like it? Yes! 

Rating: 4/5 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Book Haul: Mostly Classics.

I bought a bunch of classics in the last few weeks. I don't often feel very guilty while books and when the books are classics I don't even remember to feel slightly guilty about my ever-growing TBR pile. And buying pretty classics is just the cherry on the delicious cake!!! 

These Vintage Classic books are some of the prettiest books I've ever seen! I only intended to get Little Women but the stunning cover of Good Wives just drew me in :)) I also added 3 new Penguin English Library books to my burgeoning collection! 

A good book buying expedition this was! 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Things That Make Me Happy: Edition 4/// Travel.

I love everything about travel. Packing. Planning. Seeing. Being a tourist. Picture clicking. Shopping. The Peace. The Tranquility. The rejuvenation. I don't even mind the flights...thought sometimes traveling with laptops and tablets is a nightmare during security check! :) 

But everything else is divine. I love people watching and just being far away from my regular life and being immersed in a different world. 

These pictures are from my last proper vacation in Darjeeling. I was visiting my parents in their/our hometown in West Bengal and Darjeeling is an 8 hour drive away. We spent 3 days there and I loved it. The views and the clean air and just the hills. I love the hills. Darjeeling also has some amazing shopping options for silver jewellery. And I LOVE me some silver jewellery. 

Darjeeling made me supremely happy and I cannot wait to go back! 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Book: Wonder

Author: RJ Palacio

Pages: 342

How Long it took me to Read: 2 days.

Plot Summary: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Characters: The pages of this book was full of wonderful (no pun intended!) characters. 

Our main characters, Auggie is a delight to get to know and read. A 10 year old boy born with a facial deformity is a pretty unique voice and perspective. He has spent his whole life being stared at  and even ridiculed. Starting regular school for the first time, you can almost feel his fear and worry and apprehension. I love Auggie and rooted for him. I read most of the first portion of the book worried sick that some pesky bully would be mean to Auggie and I'd be bawling like a maniac. But Auggie's voice and his life is something to be admired. 

I also loved Auggie's family, his parents sound wonderful! Strong, kind, funny and all round good people. I also loved Via, his big sister, who is real and human and loves Auggie but at the same time is a little over being known as the sister of that kid with the weird face. 

There are also Auggie's friends  old and new. I especially loved Summer and Jack- Auggie's new friends at school. 

What I Liked: I loved pretty much everything about the book. As much as I loved hearing Auggie's side of the story, I loved it even more when the book goes into the perspectives of the other characters. We hear Via's perspective and those of Summer, Jack and even Justin- Via's boyfriend. I liked that we could see how the rest of the world viewed Auggie and their thoughts about him. 

I also really liked the writing. It is simple and effective and the book is split into small chapters, making it a quick and easy read. Something that even kids can easily read. 

What I Didn't: Nothing really. 

General Thoughts: Reading this book reminded me of being 10 and being so afraid of sticking out. Wanting to fit in is such an all-consuming thing. I cannot even imagine how difficult it for someone like Auggie to go to school and be the center of all this unwanted attention and looks. It was hard to read certain portions of the book and I hated reading how cruel kids can be and how hurtful people in general are capable of being. 

Weirdly though the only time I cried in the book was reading Via's perspective- I thought it was great that we got to see how it is for the other/normal/regular child to grow up in the same house as a child with special needs. It broke my heart reading about Via, who was only four when Auggie was born and how since then she has had to take care of herself, because her parents, for obvious reasons, have had to pay closer attention to Auggie. I loved that this perspective and side of the story was included in the book. 

Will you Like it? Yes! 

Rating: 4.5/5 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Book Haul: Last Books of August 2013.

After a a bunch of books I bought from Landmark, I only bought these 5 books from Flipkart. I like when I can say things like this- only 5 books! :)

Monday, 9 September 2013

Sister Reads | Review: The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan

Book: The Red Book

Author: Deborah Copaken Kogan

Pages: 368

Time it took me to read: 4 hours 

Plot Summary: Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989. Clover, homeschooled on a commune by mixed-race parents, felt woefully out of place, both among the East Coast elite and within the social milieu of her prep-schooled beau, Bucky. Addison yearned to shed the burden of her Mayflower heritage, finding escape in both art and in the arms of another woman. Mia mined the depths of her suburban ennui to enact brilliant performances on the Harvard stage, including a heartrending turn as Nora in A Doll’s House. Jane, an adopted Vietnamese war orphan, made sense of her fractured world through words, spending long hours as an editor at the Crimson.

Twenty years later, all their lives are in free fall. Clover, once a securities broker with Lehman, is out of a job and struggling to reproduce before her fertility window slams shut. Addison’s marriage to a writer’s-blocked novelist is as stale as her so-called career as a painter, as troubled as her children’s psyches, and as mismanaged as her trust fund. Hollywood shut its gold-plated gates to Mia, who now stays home with her four children, renovating and acquiring faster than her director husband can pay the bills. Jane, the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper whose foreign bureaus are now shuttered, is caught in a vortex of loss, having lost her journalist husband—the father of her young child—to war, her adoptive mother to cancer, and quite possibly her current partner due to an errant email.

Like all Harvard grads, they’ve kept abreast of one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, containing brief autobiographical essays by fellow alumni. But there’s the story we tell the world, and then there’s the real story, as these former classmates will learn during their twentieth reunion weekend, when they arrive with their families, their histories, their dashed dreams, and their secret yearnings to a relationship-changing, score-settling, unforgettable weekend.

Characters: The four main characters in the book are the four roommates turned best friends- Clover, Mia, Addison and Jane. Through them, we get to see the secondary set of characters in the book. These include Addison's struggling writer and major slacker of a husband- Gerry, who spends most of his time doing nothing but pretending to look for inspiration. Gerry also does nothing to help out with the three kids that they have, given he didn't want said kids and because Addison did, Gerry thinks it is her responsibility to raise them solo! Mia's husband, Jonathan, a successful "chick flick"/ "rom-com" director- on the other hand, is an all-round good guy who has helped with the kids and has provided well for his family. But nice as he is, Jonathan is hiding a terrible secret, one that will have some very serious repercussions for his family. Then there is Bucky, Clover's Freshman year boyfriend- rather unhappy in his marriage but someone who possesses more clarity than one would expect out of him. 

Addison's daughter- Trilby- and Mia's son- Max- also have some chapters from their perspective, which was cute. 

Apart from these four, we also get to see some of their classmates from Harvard, not just via their write-ups in the Red Book but also via their interactions with the four main characters over the Reunion Weekend. It is interesting to see the complexities of their lives as well. 

What I Liked: I liked reading about the way the lives of the four main characters work out- the dreams and aspirations they had and how life worked out for each of them. I also liked how each of them acknowledged that their lives were in a rut of sorts and that they needed to make changes that will help them find happiness. I also liked that the author explored some of the resentment that builds up in some of these long-term friendships. 

What I Didn't Like: There wasn't much to dislike in this book. I wish there was more of the four girls' lives in the past. Their present lives were well documented in the book but I'd have liked to see more of their in-between years- it would have put their present lives in better context. 

General Thoughts: I enjoy reading books about the every day lives of people. You know, with no major drama but just the very real drama that happens when one is living life. So, while there is no major high point in this book, but there are several dilemmas that each of the four protagonists face, which make it very interesting. 

Rating: 4/5 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

September TBR (To Be Read) List.

1. Out of the Easy- Ruta Sepetys: Already read this and loved it. Will do a review soon.
2. Wonder- RJ Palacio: Also read and loved. A review will be up later this week.
3. Saving June- Hannah Harrington
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children- Ransom Riggs (RR)
5. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix- JK Rowling  (RR)
6. The Murders in Rue Morgue and Other Stories- Edgar Allan Poe
7. Little Women- Louisa Mary Alcott
8. And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini
9. The Lowlands- Jhumpa Lahiri (YAY! She is my favourite author and I am so pleased to read her new book!!!)
10. Mine Till Midnight- Lisa Kleypas
11. Seduce Me at Sunrise-   "
12. Tempt Me at Twilight-    "
13. Married by Morning-     "          {I meant to read only the first 2 books of this series but read 4 instead! Sweet books and good fun easy read!}
14. The 13 Problems- Agatha Christie
15. The Kalahari Typing School for Men- Alexander McCall Smith

*RR stands for Re-Reads.

Out of the 15 books on my list I've already read 6 books! So my TBR list is making good progress!

What do you plan to read this month? 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Book Haul: Books of August 2013/// Book Sale Edition.

One hot afternoon, I found myself at Landmark Bookstore. I had 2 hours to kill before meeting friends and I spent those 2 hours browsing the book aisles and doing what I seem to do books! The good thing is that Landmark had a huge sale going on, one of those buy 2 and get one free. So I hit the Sale and I hit it good! 

The Landmark store in Bangalore is one of my favourite bookstores in India. I have spent many a happy hour or more browsing along the shelves and finding lovely books! :) The store in Bombay is good too but not as amazing as their Bangalore store. 

I bought some amazing books and some Tinkle comics on sale too. I love me some Tinkle comics...they remind me of my childhood and of long train journeys where I read these comic books to keep myself entertained. It's fun reading these, even as a grown-up.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sister Sundays | Review: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Book: I am the Messenger

Author: Markus Zusak

Pages: 360

Time it took me to read: 3 hours 

Plot Summary: Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail with what looks like three addresses. What does Ed need to do with them? Does he need to go check out those addresses? But then what? So, Ed goes and looks at each of the addresses mentioned in the card.  

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

Characters: There is Ed, of course. 19, laid back, lost and confused. He spends his days, illegally, driving a cab and spends his evening playing cards with his three best friends- Audrey (who he is hopelessly in love with), Marvin (Marv) and Ritchie. Ed does not have the most cordial relationship with his mom, who for some reason seems to hate him more than she hates any of his other siblings. Ed is not at all ambitious and he is more than happy to move along from one day to the next doing nothing more than he needs to in order to survive. Ed lives with an old (and supposedly stinky) dog called 'The Doorman' and he is more than satisfied with the way things are. Ed, sort of, becomes a reluctant hero when he foils a bank robbery. The media attention makes him awkward, at best, and exposed but he knows all of this will fade away shortly; true enough, once the media madness dies down, Ed receives an Ace of Spades in the mail. The card has four addresses written on it along with time. Initially, Ed thinks this is a prank one of his friends is playing on him and ignores the card. Soon, he realises that the card can not be ignored and he goes about trying to help the people living in these addresses. 

The other characters in this book are all the people that Ed goes about helping. From a large struggling family, to an abused wife to an old lazy with Alzheimer's, Ed's interactions with all these people is what makes this book astoundingly brilliant! 

What I Liked: I love the core message of this book, which is- we should not close our eyes and hearts to the suffering and loneliness around us. I love Ed's character- the way he was and how he grew as he went through all the 'tasks' that were laid before him. I loved reading about the people Ed helps. Basically, I loved every damn thing about this book. It is brilliant! 

What I Didn't Like: Nothing. This book is amazing! 

Will You Like It?: Yes! If you like books full of kind acts and sweet characters yet written in a tongue-in-cheek sort of a tone, you will love this book! 

Rating: 5/5