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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review:Ostrich Eye

Here's another long one.

Premise:A fifteen-year-old believes the creepy man she has seen throughout town is her biological father.

Author:Beth Cooley


Notes:Cover taken from Beth Cooley's website.

Pros:Conflict resolution between characters is done believably. The relationship between Ginger and her boyfriend.

Cons:It's dated. A couple of characters that aren't too likable.

Did you know an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain? That's the bit of trivia that the book gets its name from. Ultimately, this story is about the relationships between the main character and those around her.

Let's start with her family:Ginger likes her stepfather just fine. It's her mother that she takes issue with throughout the book. Her mom is portrayed as disorganized, unlistening, and generally in a negative light. A big part of the story is how they relate to each other (which isn't very well). There's also her sister, whom she sees as an beautiful, but obnoxious child.

Next up is her boyfriend. They talk and play games together. There's not a whole lot of sexual stuff there (the most they get is kissing). The relationship is done pretty well, since they appreciate each other as people, not just someone to hold hands with.

Finally, and most importantly, there's the relationship between Ginger and her father. This is the one that drives the plot. He hasn't seen her in about 10 years, so when she thinks he may have come back, she's eager to get to know him better. I won't tell you if the guy is actually her father or not, but I will say the dialogue between them will sound a little different upon a reread.

It starts out pretty calm. It grows more and more emotional as things happen. I can't really talk about that without spoiling the plot. But it does deal with the problems between family members in a way that isn't contrived and cheesy.

One of the book's issues is that it's dated. It always annoys me whenever a book or movie or whatever says what year it is when that information is not important to the plot. Also, a couple of characters aren't very likable, but it's already obvious Ginger has problems with them.

Overall, this is a story I'd recommend.

12/21/2016 update:Can you guess?

Sex:When Ginger sees a older guy staring at her and her friends, she's creeped out. Someone asks her if he thinks the man is stalking her. According to her friend, middle-aged men have a biological attraction to younger, fertile women.
Ginger's mom was wild in her younger days and was sexually active by the time she got her driver's license. She has a rule against young men being in the house without adult supervision. The young couple breaks this rule (though not for sexual reasons) and gets caught. Ginger's mom grounds her for this and asks her if she needs to be considering some kind of birth control (which shocks Ginger). Later, she remarks to Suzanne she's sure nothing happened, but she's still upset about the lying.
Annie gets matching tattoos with a boy in an intimate area. Ginger says if Annie's not careful, she'll end like Ginger's mother. Teen couples kiss. Ginger worries about a girl who comes on to Nicholas.
Part of the plot deals with child molestation.

It's revealed John Arlen is under investigation for child porn. Know the worst part? This is not discovered until after he drives off with a little girl. There's discussion of what he did to her later. Ginger later finds them naked in a sleeping bag. John emerges without covering up. When she sees Nicolas without a shirt, she's reminded of this and freaks out. The police ask Ginger if she had a sexual relationship with John (she says no).
end spoilers

Violence:Nicolas slips in the tub and ends up with blood all over his face. Ginger gets a bad allergic reaction to a face mask her friend's sister applied and ends up at the emergency room. She also feels like her head will explode when she gets a taste of a spicy dish. Nicolas mentioned they worried they'd need to call 911 when his best friend ate the same thing. Young girls visit a hospital for sick children. They later ask if the kids will die; the response is that some will. Someone is stabbed.

Language:"G*d", "J*sus", "bas**rd", "a**", "son of a b**ch", "h*ll", "p*ssed", and "f*g".

Drugs and Alcohol:Ginger's biological parents were into drugs and alcohol, the mom stopping because of her pregnancy. Her dad sold drugs as well. Women take wine to a park, rationalizing they can handle a couple of drinks. Ginger advises Annie not to drink anymore of her boyfriend's special cocktails.
Ginger goes to the ER, getting an IV and painkillers. Drugs and alcohol are forbidden at a food bowl, though guys smoke outside the door.

Spiritual:John tells Ginger a story about a knife he got from a Navajo shaman. Supposedly, whoever eats fruit sliced by this knife will become fruitful themselves. Nicolas says it could be real and there are shamans with powers we don't understand. There are mentions of the afterlife, reincarnation, Catholic schools, churches, evangelicalism, and angels.

So what did you think?

Once again, please label any spoilers.

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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