Religion, morality, and human emotion are all called into question as the novel Night unfolds creating a succession of tragedies too captivating to turn from. Night, by Elie Wiesel, is the captivating narrative of a young man’s journey through Auschwitz and how this experience shaped who he became as an adult. Over the course of this novel, as the main character grows from a boy to a man, his environment causes him to question all of his belief systems, including his morals, relationships, and religion. Throughout the book Wiesel is able to provide an exhausting torrent of emotion by constantly portraying the changes in his state of mind through bitter irony or metaphor. Night provides a chilling insight into the individualized impact the holocaust had on so many souls. This horrifying part of history is commonly studied in schools but this book adds a new gravity to those events by putting relatable faces to cold numbers. This novel was unlike anything I have read in the past, and for that reason I would rate it as a nine out of ten. However, due to its mature subject matter, I would only recommend this novel to those that are old enough to appreciate it, those that are at least in seventh or eighth grade. For all of those who are old enough to read it, I would strongly recommend this book as a source of information about the holocaust, as well as universal philosophy.
7.5 out of 10
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a comedy, drama, thrill, but most importantly adventure filled tale of Tom Sawyers life down by the Mississippi. The novel starts off with one of the most iconic scenes in American literature, where Tom tricks his friends into whitewashing his Aunts fence for him. Later Tom meets up with the also very famous HuckleBerry Finn at a graveyard late at night. Like at many times in the novel Tom and Huck end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case Tom and Huck witness the murder of a doctor by the notorious Injun Joe. Injun Joe eventually is caught because of Tom and Huck, but escapes the law. The rest of the plot is filled with action as Tom and Huck try to avoid Injun Joe. Twain portrays Tom as a smart in all the wrong ways kind of kid that does not realize his own genius at times. Like in many of his other novels Twain does a fantastic job setting a wide range of moods from bright and chipper to dark and gloomy. I believe that anyone who has not should read this book ASAP. If I were to pin a certain age group though I would say teenage boys, which in my mind is anybody who is a boy at heart whether you are fifteen or seventy years old. Although it is not as great as its sequel, it easily scores 7.5 out of 10 in my book.
.5 out of 10
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a 1980’s set book that takes place on a small street in the heart of an unspecified big city, Mango Street. The Latino neighborhood is made up of different types of people, each with their own unique story. Esperanza is at first disappointed with her family’s new home on Mango Street when the house is not satisfactory and life is dull. Her family could not afford any better and she longs for a big luxurious house in a suburb somewhere. Esperanza realizes that she must make the best of her new home and not judge the neighborhood upon its outside, because after she meets and hears the stories of her neighbors she is changed. I thought that this book was that it was written beautifully and had a great message, but due to a lack of action in the plot, it could get a little dull at times. This is why it receives an 8 out of 10. One of the best aspects of The House on Mango Street is the style in which it is written; poetic, seamless, and thoughtful. Also, wonderful imagery is used and there are no dialogue marks, which contributes to its smooth patterns. If has recently gone through as serious change in their life and is having trouble adjusting, this would be a great book for them to read, but anybody can learn something from it.
8 out of 10.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden tells the story of a ten-year old girl named Mary who is taken in by her wealthy uncle, Mr. Craven when her parents die of a cholera epidemic in India. Her entire life Mary has been ignored and unloved, therefore growing into a high-tempered, spoiled child. Then she finds a neglected garden behind the manor and starts to tend for it in secret. One day Mary finds Colin Craven, a boy her age who is convinced he will die young because of constant sickness. Through the secret garden, both of them start to learn what true happiness is like. And as the garden matures and blossoms, the two characters do as well. The main emphasize of the story is that at the root of every illness is unhappiness, and that positive thoughts can combat any disease.
The reader will admire Burnett’s constant imagery as winter turns to spring and the garden comes alive. Many details are painstaking written to fully bring the garden to life in one’s mind. Because the novel is written from mainly the point of view of Mary and sometimes Colin, everything is viewed through their childish eyes. They approach situations like keeping the garden secret with a naïve, often unrealistic eye, but the insight offers a refreshing view on how ten-year olds think. I rate this book an 8 out of 10 because some minor plot lines are a little too coincidental or not entirely believable, like how everything goes down perfectly for a happy-ever-after ending. This book would be most enjoyed by children from 6-13 because there are no inappropriate topics or profanity.
Night, by Elie Wiesel, shows detail of gruesome images in death camps during the Holocaust which concludes to the “Red Army” pushing to Germany. However, as father and son struggle to help each other, the father dies, before the liberation of Buchenwald
The writing is straightforward which helps convey the mood of the story to the reader. Night shows details in death camps that Anne Frank could not describe. It is obvious that Night deserves 10/10 at the very minimum.
One quirk to the story was that while keeping his father alive, the son still wished to get rid of his father, feeling that his father was a burden to carry. However, he still fought and kept his father alive for as long as possible. Yet, when his father died, the son instantly thought, “Free at last” (Wiesel 106).
Wiesel used many literary devices, one of which was visualization. By using sharp visualization, one could depict small hints that would lead to foreshadowing. Wiesel also used many quotes from Jewish Religion to show the personality of each character and how they would treat religion in the face of adversity.
Although this book may not be for the weak hearted, ones who look for a good book about human survival must read Night, by Elie Wiesel.
In The Moonflower Vine, by Jetta Carleton, a family learns to grow together, mature, and find their own individual lifestyle while living in a small town in Missouri. Everyone disappoints each other and may make the wrong choices. Through these tragedies the family learns to thrive and their bond grows stronger. On a scale of 1-10, The Moonflower Vine is rated a solid 9. This score is because of the interesting story, amazing development of character, and surprising plot. There is plenty of detail and the book is not complex but simple. This makes the story better because it is not weighed down by challenging vocabulary words. Each chapter is about a particular character. Within each chapter are smaller chapter’s, and the book is divided up equally between character’s. By uncovering a single character’s story, the reader discovers the entire story as a whole and everything connects together. The author uses similes and metaphors sparingly, but the few recognizable ones sparked interest. Imagery was used creatively, and throughout the book I could imagine exactly what was going on. Only one character had a chapter in first person and the rest were in third person. Symbolism is also strong in the novel. If you like a book with surprising twists about love, family, and betrayal, then this novel is perfect for you. Everyone will find something to like and appreciate about this novel. It is described as a rediscovered classic that everyone should read.
-Samantha S A2