Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review:: Icy Sparks

The synopsis on the back cover reads:

Rural Kentucky in the 1950s is not an easy place to grow up, and it's especially hard for ten year old Icy Sparks, an orphan who lives with her grandparents. Life becomes even more difficult for Icy when violent tics and uncontrollable cursing begin-symptoms brought on by a troubling affliction that goes undiagnosed until her adulthood. Icy's adolescence is marred by the humiliation of her illness, and its all-too-visible signs are the source of endless mystery and hilarity as everyone around her offers an opinion about what's troubling the girl. Eventually, Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily, an obese woman who knows what it's like to be an outcast in this tightly knit community. Narrated by a now-grown Icy, this novel shimmers with warmth and humor as it recounts a young girl's painful and poignant journey to womanhood-and the many lives she touches and enriches along the way.

Random List of Tidbits About this Book

* I've been reading this book for over a month, and not because I was savoring it but because I found it very, very boring. There were times I went days without reading any of it and I was worried that when I picked it up again I'd have forgotten what happened. No need to worry. Nothing much happened throughout the entire book.

* The synopsis on the back cover seems as if it was written by someone who never read the book, or maybe read only half of it. That part about "Eventually Icy finds solace in the company of Miss Emily..." makes no sense because they were friends from the start of the book and remained friends until the end. Also, I found no "humor" or "hilarity" in this book.

* I really wanted to like this book. I had never before read a book with a main character (or any character for that matter) who suffers from Tourette Syndrome and I thought it would make for an interesting read. I was wrong.

* About half way though the book Icy gets kicked out of school and is sent to live for a short while in a mental hospital. This was where I thought, Okay, now the fun is about to begin, because I think that mental hospital life makes for some awesome reading. Again I was wrong. It was just the usual mental hospital stuff: the patient who poops himself, the one who doesn't talk, the one who bites, the one who butts people with his head, the one abusive orderly (because there is always one). Yawn.

*There were times that the dialogue in this book made me want to stab myself in the eyes. Take this passage, for instance, where Icy is at the mental hospital trying to convince her doctor to let her go home for the holidays:

"So let me go home," I said.
"We can't," Dr. Conroy said. "At least, not yet."
"So let my folks come and see me," I said.
"We can't," she repeated. "not yet."
"For Christmas?" I asked.
"Maybe," she said.

OH MY GOD. It's all so trite! To be fair, it wasn't like this through the whole book, but it happened often enough that around page 250, I was pretty much just skimming until the end.

*My friend Kashoan sent me this book, which makes me think she doesn't like me as much as she claims to. HA. I kid. Really though, I called Kashoan and asked her if she liked the book and after some thought she said, "Yeah. I guess. But I kept waiting for something big to happen and it never did." That pretty much sums it up. I'm still glad she sent me the book though because I really LOVE writing reviews for books I don't like, and I don't get the chance often enough.

*The ending of this book was totally bizarre. Icy goes to some raucous church revival with her grandma, there was a lot of Praise the Lord and Amen! and Onward Christian Soldiers (Seriously, it was like this from page 279-284. See: trite dialogue.) and then Icy decides to join the church choir and go to college. What?? How did we get to that point? I just didn't get it.

*Inexplicably, a lot of people like this book. I was reading reviews of it on Goodreads and they were mostly positive. Except for this one by someone named Jeff-is Moderately Brilliant which made me laugh:

"Ugh. I just saw the book cover, and wanted to hurl. My sister told me to read it. That's the last recommendation she ever gave... I killed her."

Hopefully he's joking, and Kashoan you have nothing to worry about, I'm not coming to kill you. But his statement does lead me to believe that when it comes to this book there is no grey area, you either love it or hate it.

I feel like I'm taking the easy way out by not writing a proper review but I honestly don't know what else to say. Girl has Tourette's, stuff happens, people come in and out of her life. The End. I'm just glad I'm done with it so that I can devote time to reading something else.


Maria Rose said...

Ha ha! I have a similar situation going on with a terrible book. I liken it to re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show, once you've committed a certain amount of time there some strange compulsion to see it through it the end...even if one is certain that nothing interesting will happen between now and then.

P.S. Sorry if you love Andy Griffith...

Tammie said...

maria rose: i completely agree and thats a great comparison.

i hate andy griffith yet ive seen every episode. numerous times.

~*Gumbo Soul*~ said...

*L* I can check this one off my list then??

Daphne said...

so funny. bad book reviews are awesome. this one sounds highly worthy of every bad thing you said about it. There's nothing worse than a boring, trite book. I mean, even The Hoff had some sort of bizarreness going for him -- it was bad! But never boring.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

oh my.
i haven't felt that way since our lemon cake debacle. so I will not be reading this one for sure.

I'm into autobiography's right now.

I have to say that this review reminded me of a book report I did in a class called Best Sellers when I was in high school. I couldn't get through this book. I went to my teacher and said I hated this book I couldn't do the report and he told me to write a report on why the book sucked...okay he didn't say sucked but you get the point. I did and it worked and I got an A. Only mine wasn't as well written as yours. :-)

micki said...

Yep, know what you mean. The topic had alot of promise. Tourette's Syndrome is fascinating to read about albeit tragic for those who suffer with it. I got the book at a thrift store, also because it was recommended to me. Everything you say about the book was true. There were no insights to be had or even emotion to feel. Well, I only spent 50 cents, so I'm not complaining much.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

Ha, I love Jeff's comment. I'm always annoyed when you're waiting for the story to kick in and realize IT NEVER DOES. I always figure that out way too late.

I didn't read Snow Falling on Cedars but a friend said he wished the book had as much action as the title...that was enough for me to leave the book alone.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I've decided life is to short to waste time on books that don't immediately satisfy. I'm shallow like that.

kraftykash said...

OMG I am laughing so freaking hard right now! I am plotting the next book to send you. *insert evil laughter*

Dani said...

Seeing as how my reading has been reduced to the sports page or cookbooks (don't judge), I'm glad not to have the desire to read this one.

Run Lori Run said...

I'm in the middle of a book like this too (but its non-fiction. I just keep waiting for the writing to get better and the pace to improve but I can't stop now because I've already invested 50 pages of my time. Ugh.

Jen C said...

Just discovered your blog by accident and LOVE your reviews, especially the books you didn't like. Cross this book off my list....thanks for saving my time!