?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
27 January 2011 @ 07:01 pm
#4  
The Changeover, Margaret Mahy

From all the excited chat I'd read about this book, I was expecting it to be the seminal YA romance.

What I got ... was cracked-out, leftover-seventies hippie bullshit.

Let's examine this:

The 'magic' in the story involves drinking herbal concotions and getting high. Throw in some meditation and 'inner landscape' focuses and they might as well be wandering around in flares and discovering the word 'dude'.

The original witches, Winter and Miryam, are focused on saving their ... farm. I can't say I really feel this. (In other words, make me give a shit.) I can all too easily imagine them dancing 'moon-clad' with the cows, though. There is a smug emphasis on how the terrible commerical beast has taken over all these lovely fields and ... fields, and other fields. YAY FIELDS! is the message. Me, I'm more for: internet connections, television coverage, loads of shops with a huge variety of (gasp! horror!) disposable goods and cars - you know, those things that get you places really fast. I am whatever the opposite of an eco-warrior is, for good reason. I hate the outdoors. Mahy did not even attempt to sell me on their greatness and superlative need to be 'saved': it was just assumed that if you were reading this book, you were pro-trees and anti-nice shoes. That level of superior pomposity made me grate my teeth all the way through.

Then there was the description of Sorry (stupider nickname! try harder!) wearing a black dressing gown (I refuse to even imagine the alternative CAFTAN) and rings on every finger. I got the impression that this was actually supposed to be attractive. YEAH I DON'T THINK SO.

"It needs its battery recharged; probably needs a new one." Kate gritted her teeth. "They're so expensive."

I changed my battery for fifty euro. I bet twenty-seven years ago they were even less expensive. It was also creepy reading about people not having telephones - not just mobiles, but landlines - but I forgave that for the time period.

Also, Mahy is allergic to the verb 'said'. Clearly it's a fatal anaphylatic reaction, but at this point, I'd rather stand over her with an epi pen than have to read one more piece of dialogue 'exclaimed/cried'.

Kate had some good lines, particularly regarding her marriage, but nothing that saves this book from being utter tripe.


Previously, on book glomp 2011:
The Regency Companion, Laudermilk and Hamlin
World Without End, Ken Follett
Godmother: the Secret Cinderella Story, Carolyn Turgeon
 
 
 
Ginbackinblack on January 27th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
WHAT.

D: I LOVE THIS BOOK AND I AM SAD YOU DID NOT :(
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on January 27th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
That's the general consensus. Maybe I read a different book to everyone else ...?
Jenniferfate_envies_us on January 27th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
I've never read this book, but your review of it made me smile in spite of a bad mood, so thanks for that. :) How have you been, stranger?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Japanese bluescoradh on February 1st, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
lol, glad to be of service! As for me - 'stressed and overworked' probably covers all bases, yay my life! :/
Blindmouseblindmouse on January 28th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
I changed my battery for fifty euro. I bet twenty-seven years ago they were even less expensive.

50 euros is a lot of money, if you don't have much in the way of expendable income :/
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: melancholy girlscoradh on February 1st, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
... and yet she went off and got her hair done, which costs just as much if not more (if it's my hair). Yeah, Kate irritated me extremely. Even outside of the extremely irritating book she was in.
Riakessie on January 28th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Nope, I still love it. :)

I changed my battery for fifty euro. I bet twenty-seven years ago they were even less expensive.

They were probably cheaper, but as my parents always reminded me, people had less money then. Also, Kate was a single mother working a job that didn't pay well.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Candy lipsscoradh on February 1st, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
Nope, I still love it.

Oh no, you can't just leave it at that! This book held for me no redeeming features whatsoever! If you profess to love it, at least give me one insight into why. Otherwise I am both irritated AND puzzled.
nishatalitha: Claim Innocence - swinging feet in skirtnishatalitha on January 29th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
I suspect it might be one of those books that is better if you read it when you're a young teenager (I did and still love it)? Also, it was local - it was pretty much every growing New Zealand town, so being able to identify was really good at a time where practically everything else I was reading was US or UK based. Also, it's better than the Night World series by LJ Smith, which I was reading around the same time.

Given it was published in 1984, near the beginning of when the conservation movement really started to take off in New Zealand, the cracked out leftover seventies bits aren't really surprising.

Also, fifty euro - lot of money in NZ now (about$90) - and would have been even more then, particularly for a single parent.



Edited at 2011-01-29 02:32 am (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Disney: Twilightscoradh on February 1st, 2011 10:36 am (UTC)
I suspect it might be one of those books that is better if you read it when you're a young teenager

Given that teenagers generally have less discerning taste and breadth of reading experience, I totally agree with this assumption.

So, is Gardendale a real place, then? I think I would trade in my locality being mentioned for it being mentioned as Evil Shantytown TM. Mahy mentioned this aspect in her author's note at the end. I grew up in Australia and then moved to Ireland, two places that are equally neglected in fiction as NZ, yet I never felt the lack. (Although it was irritating to buy all those Sweet Valley High diaries that claimed the school year started in September.)

I don't know anything about conservation movements in NZ. I suppose it would have be doubly irritating to locals to have their history skywritten for them, but I would have found it handy.
nishatalitha: Jar full of starsnishatalitha on February 2nd, 2011 08:17 am (UTC)
Too true - I loved the Night World books by LJ Smith when I was a teenager.

I freely admit that one of the reasons I love it is because I read it when I was a teenager (I had to study it for school, and it remains the only book I've done for school that I liked), but I also love it because it's a coming of age, coming into power book. Laura is ordinary, with ordinary cares and concerns and she has to make a drastic change to her life - so much easier to relate to than Alanna or Daine from Tamora Pierce's Tortall books.

Well, Gardendale was based on Christchurch. It's not in quite as good nick nowadays, but things are slowly improving.

I wouldn't say that I actively seek out NZ fiction, because I don't, or that I feel there's a lack, but when I come across it I tend to read it. Like you most of what I read is set in Europe or the US (or analogues thereof); it's nice to see something based at home.

If you want to try more recent NZ YA fiction, The Bone Tiki and its sequel The Taniwha's Tear explains more without being overwhelming. Or, for Australian fiction, have you read John Marsden's Tomorrow When the War Began series? Also YA and fairly good.

We grow up learning learning about conservation, some of the history and so on. There was growing awareness about how many birds here that were endangered and that they would be extinct unless something was done about them back in the seventies, and now it's more or less part of our culture. The Department of Conservation has a decent budget and a decent amount of power, and I feel that's important. Despite being a complete and utter city girl, I want some of green spaces preserved for the future.
nishatalitha: Jar full of starsnishatalitha on February 2nd, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
I wouldn't say that I actively seek out NZ fiction, because I don't, or that I feel there's a lack, but when I come across it I tend to read it. Like you most of what I read is set in Europe or the US (or analogues thereof); it's nice to see something based at home.

I think what I meant by this is that I don't notice it when it's not there, but I notice when it's there. If that makes sense.
Scarletscarletscarlet on January 29th, 2011 10:07 pm (UTC)
I remember loving this one as a kid (though haven't read it since), but even then, yes, "Sorry" was an odd nickname and a dressing gown was too peculiar for my adolescent brain to find appealing. Coat, sure. Dressing gown? That's the thing my granddad wore that smelled kinda musty.

There's a good chance a car battery was pretty expensive, tbh - my (very hazy) recollection is that until the mid eighties there were fairly hefty tariffs operating, and car batteries would've been an import. With all the associated freight costs whacked on top. There's some stuff here that's still really, *really* expensive compared to other places in the world because everything has to travel so far.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: halowrites: metal birdscoradh on February 1st, 2011 10:39 am (UTC)
'Sorry' was trying too hard to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but its main problem as a derivative nickname is that it doesn't follow from Sorensen. 'Soren' or 'Sen', maybe. Plus, I have never yet met a man who wore a dressing gown.

Fair enough - everyone has mentioned how batteries are expensive depending on your POV yadda yadda yadda. It was a throwaway comment about an unimportant aspect of the book. There were far more annoying things I'd rather chat about, particularly if people can justify them as vehemently.

Edited at 2011-02-01 10:40 am (UTC)
nishatalitha: Swinging girl in red dressnishatalitha on February 2nd, 2011 08:49 am (UTC)
I always imagined a Victorian smoking jacket or something along those lines, which sounds much more appealing than a dressing gown.