Books #7 and #8 of 2013

Monster is a lot of fun. We read it in Humanities class with the guiding question “Do you wear a mask?” The students sympathize with Steve Harmon, and they cheer at the end of the book, but then I asked them “What is the difference between innocent and not guilty?” We had a very rich discussion before looking back in the text and finding sections which cast doubt on the protagonist’s claims on the stand. Myers created an engaging book which can be used to teach point of view, screenplay format, memoir, or as an enrichment for a zillion social studies topics.

The Comfort of Strangers gave me a sinking feeling and this feeling got more and more intense as the novel progressed. Creepy, claustrophobic, and deeply disturbing–The Comfort of Strangers showcases Mckewan’s taut, clinically precise prose. Brought to mind other creepy and beautifully crafted books like John Hawkes’s The Lime Twig, or The Talented Mr. Ripley. The inevitable climax so disturbed me I could barely keep reading, but was at the same time compelled to finish–a deliciously intense literary experience.

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