The Joy Luck Club: Many Weeks Later

Captain Spazzmataz Thoughts:

  • P. 87 – TeeHee. She deserved it.
  • P. 91 – Well that is kind of terrifying. I am glad that we aren’t known for performing the best torture.
  • P. 94 – I feel like it would be extremely frustrating to explain chess to a seven year old.
  • P. 95 – Man, there are a lot of gruesome names for chess tactics.
  • P. 100 – I like the image of the apartment having tiger eyes.

I liked this section. It was more interesting for some reason. I guess because the past few chapters were told from the old ladies’ points of view and this one was from one of the daughters.

Sickly Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 87 – These malignant gates sound very intense.  Malignant is just such a great descriptor.
  • p. 89 – Waverly’s mom is obviously a boss.  Also, I kind of love the name Waverly.
  • p. 90 – “Golden teeth” is a sneaky description.  It sounds fancy, but you know its got to be super gross.
  • p. 94 – I can’t even imagine the difficulty of learning chess from an instruction book.  Go those kids.
  • p. 95 – This adorably reminds me of the Pixar chess short.
  • p. 97 – Momma Jong just roasted the brothers! Also, Bobby needs to calm it down.
  • p. 100 – Man, Momma Jong is rough.  I don’t know how I would feel if my parents called me “this girl.”

So far, I really like Waverly’s portion of the story.  The intense place of pressure and pride that she comes from is so different from my own childhood experiences, as I am obviously not a child chess champion.  I’m definitely interested in the progression of this story arc, especially as it continues into their adult lives.


The Joy Luck Club: Labor Day Reading

Captain Spazzmataz Thoughts:

  • P. 67 – Man, these mothers are so depressing. It is horrible that she doesn’t think she is noticed by anyone. It’s so sad that they have gone though such troubles in their life and now they are so far removed from modern life that they can’t connect with anyone.
  • P. 70 – Wow. Really? “A girl can never ask, only listen.” That is just horrible. How could anyone live like that!?
  • P. 71 – Do her sisters really not have names, or does she just not care to say them?
  • P. 72 – How do they expect a four year old to stand perfectly still and not play?
  • P. 73 – What! They get to take afternoon naps! So jealous.
  • P. 75 – I think that is kind of cruel making a bird get your fish for you.
  • P. 78 – Has nobody on her boat noticed that she is missing!?
  • P. 83 – I don’t really understand what happened in these last few pages. It was really strange, but I am glad that her family did care that she was missing and that they found her again.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 67 – It’s such a sad beginning, the obvious disconnect between the mothers and daughters.
  • p. 71 – Her sisters don’t get real names?  They’re like the things from the Dr. Seuss book.
  • p. 72 – I’m so curious as to what a mooncake tastes like.  The combination of bean paste and egg yolk doesn’t strike me as something sweet, but they’re always used as a treat in this book.
  • p. 74 – The old ladies hitting each other with fans is a hilarious image.
  • p. 75 – The shrimpies!
  • p. 76 – Using the bird is such a sad yet ingenious way of fishing.
  • p. 78 – What a horrifying event for a little girl! Or anyone.
  • p. 81 – And to think, I thought the yin and yang concept was cool when I was younger.
  • p. 82 – Say whaaaat.

I feel like my comments on this book are fairly boring because I like it so much.  I don’t have any complaints, I just want to keep reading it.

The Joy Luck Club: Keeping a Steady Schedule (so far)

Captain Spazzmataz Thoughts:

  • P. 43 – Popo’s stories are  weird and gross. Why would you tell these things to a nine year old girl?
  • P. 47 – This family is horrible. How could you tell a little girl that she won’t be mourned for very long if she dies young!?
  • P. 48 – Well that is just disgusting.
  • P. 52 – Man, that must be so disappointing to realize your future husband is a big baby.
  • P. 55 – Well it sounds like it is going to be a lovely marriage if he is just trying to make her cry all of the time.
  • P. 56 – That is a pretty sad description of a good life.
  • P. 58 – She is just amazing to put up with all of the nonsense and still be able to see her true self and be happy.
  • P. 65 – Dang. She is so clever. I like her.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 42 – that sure is an odd way to show affection.
  • p. 43 – these stories are so gross!
  • p. 44 – someone has family issues.
  • p. 46 – the attitudes toward women in Chinese culture are sometimes so difficult to realize.  This story, which I’m sure could apply to many non-fictional women in China, breaks my heart a little bit.
  • p. 48 – and now, a little cannibalism to deepen the story.
  • p. 49 – Shots fired! Shots fired!
  • p. 51 – It seems so strange to assess a child for marriage at the age of two.  I’m kind of fascinated by the idea of a matchmaker.  How does she make decisions?  What are her determining factors?
  • p. 53 – I’m also generally fascinated by all of the Chinese traditions, the festivals and the name rituals.  And the kind of devotion that inspires such ties and severe characteristics among family members.
  • p. 57 – What an impressive girl.  It’s odd; her situation seems so sad, but it’s basically impossible to pity her because she seems to handle everything with such personal strength.
  • p. 58 – see? It’s impossible to feel pity for her.  She’s so great.
  • p. 65 – So much brilliance!

I am still very much so enjoying the book.  I particularly liked the epistolary style of the third chapter, as though it were both a story and a letter to her daughter.  Each of the characters, so far, have such interesting and unique stories, but I still feel like they represent a larger whole that other real-life women could be apart of.  No complaints, thus far.

The Joy Luck Club: New Book!

Dearest Readers,

We are terribly sorry for not posting regularly in quite some time, but we will get back on that shortly. In the meantime, we have decided to start another book for our sister book club.

Captain Spazzmataz Thoughts:

  • P. 26 – That is probably one of the saddest things I have ever read!
  • P. 34 – This would be so uncomfortable. Replacing not only a legend, but your mother must be so difficult.

So, I didn’t have much to say about this chapter whilst reading. But I think it is a really interesting premise for a book, and I can easily see it as being a true story.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 17 – and the novel begins with some deep, metaphorical implications.
  • p. 23 – I love her mother’s descriptions.
  • p. 26 – So much incredible sadness.
  • p. 29 – So many dollars!  Quite the impressive club.
  • p. 33 – I want to learn to play mah jong.
  • p. 36 – What terrible family members!
  • p. 40 – What an adorably nice surprise!

I really liked this first chapter.  I’ve read this book before, but I was a sophomore in high school at the time, and I don’t really remember much besides doing well on the quizzes for it.  It’s just written in such a skilled yet simple way, and I’m instantly interested in the lives of the characters.  Excellent beginning and set up for the rest of the story.

AMLP: Super Post Part 3

Dearest Readers,

We will finally be finished with this book after this post! It only took four months, but we stuck to it and only read it together.

Captain’s Thoughts:

  • P. 361 – I see thorough your lies James Frey! I shall no longer fall for the dream sequences at the beginning of your chapters.
  • P. 364 – I knew I liked Lincoln
  • P. 366 – Haha! This is great! It’s probably the first time I have actually laughed while reading this book.
  • P. 370 – Seriously though, James couldn’t have chosen hang out with a better group of people.
  • P. 372 – No no no! Miles cannot be sad!
  • P. 374 – How do they not know what is going on? I know what is going on, and they haven’t even told me yet!
  • P. 375 – Well isn’t this just the gosh darn most precious moment ever.
  • P. 381 – Oh. It was so nice to have a whole chapter without Lilly, and then he has to go and ruin it and talk about her again. James, this is not healthy.
  • P. 384 – Well this whole laughing party is just sad.
  • P. 387 – What is this Inventory and what does it entail?
  • P. 389 – No. This is the cutest moment ever. Leonard is literally the best ever.
  • P. 394 – James was honestly a genuinely horrible kid.
  • P. 397 – Wait what!? He can’t just leave it like that. Is he going to say what happened with that man?
  • P. 400 – Why is Matty’s wife an idiot?
  • P. 406 – So that’s what he did. Okay.
  • P. 412 – Who sent those and why? What was the point?
  • P. 414 – It has bothered me this entire book that James doesn’t read the Tao in order. He skips all over the place, and it bothers me.
  • P. 419 – Why would James care if Lilly’s supervisor is telling him to leave? He is leaving the complex, so they can’t really kick him out.
  • P. 422 – Yay Hank! I love Hank!
  • P. 424 – Okay. This is tied for the cutest moment. So many cute moments in this final stretch.
  • P. 424 – Why doesn’t James get a fancy ceremony when he leaves? Everyone else seemed to get a sort of going away party.
  • P. 429 – Of course. He can finally look into his eyes when he is testing his limits. How could anybody ever have guessed that?
  • Last Page – It doesn’t have an official page number, so yeah. I really liked that he finished with the ‘Where is everyone now’ bit. It is kind of cheesy, but I appreciate it. Mot of it is really sad, but there are a couple of people whose lives turned out okay, and that makes me feel good.

It is over. I have read A Million Little Pieces. I don’t know exactly how I feel about it, but I am happy to be done with it. I am not upset that I read it, just happy to be done. As a whole, the book was really good. It had some obvious fabrication to it, and some part did get repetitive and tedious, but overall, I enjoyed myself while reading it.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 361 – No, James Frey, you don’t.
  • p. 362 – I just get really unjustifiably annoyed with James’s treatment of the 12 Steps.  Not because I believe there is only one path to sobriety, but because I’m tired of him humble-bragging about his immense personal strength of will.
  • p. 363 – Lincoln is so cute!
  • p. 368 – Lower eyelid tattoos are no joke.
  • p. 370 – Miles and Leonard are so cute!  Though we already knew that.  I so passionately hope that they are real, adorable people.
  • p. 372 – Oh my goodness, this is about to be so cute.  I just know it.  Also, sad times for Miles’s sad times.
  • p. 377 – Poor, poor lobster.
  • p. 381 – I’m interested by the emphasis on the fight in the story.  I feel like there’s supposed to be some sort of metaphor that I’m not quite grasping.  Maybe because it’s not solidified enough.
  • p. 383 – Who possibly thought it would be good to have James be the greeter?  Have we learned nothing?
  • p. 384 – Ted and his Momma though.  So creepy.
  • p. 390 – All the end of the book cuteness!
  • p. 392 – Yay, Miles’s wife!
  • p. 394 – Man, James was the worst.  It’s a miracle his parents still like him at all.
  • p. 397 – I didn’t know it was possible to break this many things.
  • p. 400 – Well this is a terribly sad turn of events.
  • p. 405 – Before he even says what he did to this priest, I don’t believe him.  It’s just too perfect and full circle that the darkest thing he did would be to a priest and that he would also be revealing that secret to a priest.  Skepticism.
  • p. 407 – Skepticism is still strong.
  • p. 411 – I really like how the relationship between James and his counselors has progressed.  It speaks a lot to the growth he has gone through.
  • p. 418 – So much niceness.  Miles is fantastic.  Though, I’m still iffy about this Lilly thing.
  • p. 422 – Hank is back!
  • p. 425 – Time for a test?
  • p. 430 – What a wonderful brother.
  • I also liked the ending section, as I had been very curious about these things whilst reading the book.  Though it was a most depressing section.

I am finished!  For the most part, I think I liked this book.  The writing style, while unique and worth experiencing, was certainly not my favorite.  But, he did an excellent job of communicating his thoughts and emotions through said style.  I guess the biggest problem is reading it after the scandal.  I hate not knowing what to interpret as factual and what to interpret as fiction.  Overall, an interesting read.

AMLP: Super Post Part 1

Dearest Readers: As a part of our 24 hours of reading over a period of three days, we plan on finishing A Million Little Pieces this weekend, so be prepared for massive posts on our thoughts and reactions over these few days. Captain Spazzmataz’s thoughts:

  • P. 219 – Darn his dreams making me think he has fallen off the wagon again.
  • P. 221 – Leonard is still the best. I love him.
  • P. 228 – I don’t like whiny James. Go back to being happy James.
  • P. 229-230 – Why is he being so philosophical and deep. I feel like someone in his state of mind would not have these thoughts; also, it is weird and doesn’t make any sense especially considering the conversation he just had with Joanne.
  • P. 232 – We finally learn more about the Girl!
  • P. 233 – Well maybe if you weren’t such a butt face, you wouldn’t get embarrassed in front of your lady friend.
  • P. 234 – Don’t listen to his lies Girl!
  • P. 234 – No! She listened to them!
  • P. 235 – I don’t like in love James either. It is gross.
  • P. 237 – The plates thing is hilarious.
  • P. 239 – “If you do get caught, do it again.” That is fantastic advice Leonard.
  • P. 241 – Well now he is just being down right dramatic.
  • P. 244 – Daw. He can be cute sometimes.
  • P. 248-251 – I think that when people read this part that they should have realized that he was stretching the truth quite a bit. Also, I don’t know why, but I imagine him saying all of these things in a very monotone, bored, almost sarcastic tone of voice. Therefore, for me, his apology (if that is what you would call it) at the end comes off as super insincere.
  • P. 258 – That was sweet, even though I still kind of feel like his parents are insensitive.
  • P. 259-261 – Why doesn’t James’ parents go into the group meeting with him? I am confused. Didn’t other people’s family members go in too? Or was it just a big gathering of random family members and patients?
  • P. 265 – I am tired of this pity party. Maybe it is the fact that I know that basically none of this stuff is true, but I am really bored with it. Maybe if this book hadn’t been completely discredited then maybe I would have different feelings.
  • P. 266 – WHY!!! Why does he have to do these gross things!!!
  • P. 271 – I really like Miles. He seems to be a really good guy at heart.
  • P. 267 – I don’t really understand Lilly. Why would she still have faith in James after hearing all of the stories he told her. Also, she must be pretty dumb for going around telling other people about them. They are just going to wind up in trouble because of that.
  • P. 277 – Okay now I am really confused. When did she switch from talking about her mom to talking about herself?
  • P. 279 – I can see where this is going
  • P. 280 – Yup. I was right.
  • P. 284 – I am very annoyed with James’ mom. She needs to get over herself
  • P. 286 – Whoa, whoa, whoa! What happened, we were having a good moment, and it is just over now!?
  • P. 287 – I desperately want to know more about this new mysterious man.
  • P. 291 – I feel like there are other options to quitting other than AA and the Twelve steps. Maybe they haven’t been found yet, but it really bugs me that the facility doesn’t even try any methods. They are supposed to be helping these people get better. Why wouldn’t they be willing to try as many different treatments as possible?
  • P. 291 – For once, I totally agree with James.
  • P. 297 – Wow. He was really an awful kid.
  • P. 299 – Well I can see where James gets some of his anger issues from.
  • P. 305 – How can you possibly go two whole years without realizing that your child is screaming from nothing other than pain? I am starting to think that maybe they weren’t very good parents after all.
  • P. 308 – I don’t exactly buy into all of this mushy stuff. I feel like something bad is going to happen again. If it doesn’t the book will probably get really boring really fast.

Over all, this very large section was really good. It is finally getting to where James isn’t so whiny anymore and he actually wants to do something to make himself better, so that is much more pleasant than before. However, I think James Frey could learn the valuable lesson that a comma can go a long way. His punctuation style, or lack there of, made some chunks very difficult to read, and it was often confusing as to who was saying what.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 219 – The “start a segment with a troubling dream” technique is getting a little old.
  • p. 223 – I have this problem where I feel like he’s starting to develop a “look how strong I am” narrative.  It’s like a really sneaky form of humble bragging.  No body makes it without the Twelve Steps, but right now we’re supposed to believe intrepid James Frey will, step by step.
  • p. 227 – I am not deterred.  Leonard is still the best.
  • p. 232 – This Girl thing seems like a mess, and this Lilly thing seems like even more of a mess.  James clearly has interpersonal relationship issues.
  • p. 234 – I get a little skeptical when it comes to his conversations with Girl.  They just seem so oddly scripted, like a reel of bad movie moments.
  • p. 237 – One thousand bonus points to Lilly for not putting up with nonsense.
  • p. 240 – Leonard deserves all the Foo Fighters, because he is simply the best.
  • p. 241 – I feel like this rant on how addiction is presented to the public is a little overkill, but also valid.  Like, several really good points were made on this page.
  • p. 243 – Hooray! No dream sequence.  Yet
  • p. 244 – His attitude is starting to annoy me, though the Miles interaction was nice.  Miles is on my approved characters list.
  • p. 246 – But for real though, what do his parents do for a living?
  • p. 248 – Jeez, who were these theoretical babysitters?
  • p. 250 – I’m just really impressed by the idea of getting charged with “Felony Mayhem.”  James Frey is the Joker.
  • p. 252 – At least he gives the impression of being slightly self-actualized about the whole situation.  There’s not a lot of ridiculous excuses.  I almost think he could give himself a little more slack.
  • p. 256 – Uhm, this Ted story is really disturbing.  I do not understand the laughter.
  • p. 257 – Oh, Moms being Moms.  It’s like an unavoidable impulse.
  • p. 260 – I’m inordinately curious as to whether or not James hugged anyone.  He doesn’t strike me as a hugger.
  • p. 262 – I’m apprehensive about this whole parent conversation thing, but I find it to very brave of his parents.  Lilly was right when she said how lucky he was to have his parents participate in his rehabilitation and to care about him in general.
  • p. 267 – Well that was just NOT OKAY.
  • p. 270 – I really, really like Miles’s wife.
  • p. 271 – And Miles himself.
  • p. 273 – LILLY.  GROSS.
  • p. 282 – I just feel like now is not the time to be concerned about profanity.  Your son smokes crack, lady.
  • p. 285 – Definitely don’t believe that James has never hugged his mother in his entire life.  Toddler James probably hugged her.  Tone down the melodrama.
  • p. 287 – But really, why is Ted so disturbing?
  • p. 291 – I’m pro the treatment of addiction as though it is a disease, but I can thoroughly see James’s point on the issue.  I find it very interesting that, as an addict himself, he feels that way about it.
  • p. 293 – Given the bald man’s previous story, this moment makes me very warm and fuzzy.
  • p. 297 – Obviously, more parental fear is required.  It’s kind of a bummer they didn’t do something more than ground him for a month.  This process could have begun, in some ways, when he was fourteen.
  • p. 305 – I don’t really know what to do with this ear information.  If James can’t accept a genetic predisposition to addiction, it seems even less like that he would accept an horrific ear infection when he was a toddler.  Also, how did his parents not go absolutely crazy?

So far, the book is still fairly enjoyable.  I think the level of interest I have is indicative of a strong writing style, because there’s not a lot of “action” in this book, it’s mostly socially based.  However, I just positively loathe the conversations.  The retrospective take on them, and in some cases fabrication, makes them seem awkward and forced, as though Frey is writing this subpar movie of his life.

AMLP: Super Post Part 2

Captain Spazzmataz’s Thoughts:

  • P. 310 – Miles might be my new favorite character. If he is not, he is a close second behind Leonard. He is just so great and nice.
  • P. 312 – Wow. Lilly is super dramatic.
  • P. 316 – I just feel like they have only really known each other for about a month, maybe less, and I think these feelings of love are a little premature.
  • P. 319 – I don’t understand his obsession with being able to look into his eyes. It is not like when you look into your eyes your entire life runs like a slideshow. I get the whole concept of you have to be able to look yourself in the eyes and accept what you see, but I am tired of reading about it.
  • P. 322 – I thought their argument was going well, but then all of a sudden it got super intense! It was kind of scary.
  • P. 332 – Well that ended very depressingly. I thought with all of the hype surrounding the fight that they were going to watch it. It is so depressing to finally hear that they can’t.
  • P. 334 – No. Not now. This is going to be so sad.
  • P. 337 – Why didn’t they run!? Are they stupid? Now everything is ruined. Also, I totally guessed it. Something bad did happen.
  • P. 341 – I really don’t like when he uses this style of writing. It is just so choppy and doesn’t really make any sense.
  • P. 345 – Yay! Go James!
  • P. 347 – Yay! More good people!
  • P. 349 – What is happening? He knows something that I don’t.
  • P. 352 – Okay. I get it now.
  • P. 352 – I don’t think it is the best idea to have a rehab center so close to an abandoned building filled with addicts. It seems like a bad combination to be. Also a bus station that is crawling with dealers seems like another bad idea. They obviously didn’t pick the location all that well. How are people trying to stay sober supposed to when they have to leave from a bus station that wants them to mess up?
  • P. 353 – Well I guess he passed that test that he wanted to put himself through.
  • P. 358 – That turned out much better than I thought it was

This section was probably my favorite so far. It was interesting, tense, and James is done being a baby. The book as a whole is much better now that he isn’t so whiny.

Super Koala Thoughts:

  • p. 310 – Oh, I miss Hank.  And I just love the way Miles speaks.  So very eloquent, even coming through the James Frey conversation generator.
  • p. 311 – Jesus, this is what she was upset about?  I guess it got easy to see Lilly as a reasonable, healing person.  Obviously not the case.
  • p. 313 – Lilly is more of a nutcase than I realized.  The psychiatrists are so right; two people this unstable have no business trying to form a relationship.
  • p. 317 – I guess this is a cute moment they’re having, but it’s all so worrisome.
  • p. 318 – Leonard.  Still scary.  Still adorable.
  • p. 320 – Who is this Bobby person?  And the guy that came back.  Shouldn’t they be focusing on improving themselves?
  • p. 321 – This story is horrifying.  The people telling it are horrifying.  I am so pro James punching them both.
  • p. 324 – Leonard is so incredibly, awesomely horrifying.
  • p. 328 – This is my nose wrinkled at very false feeling conversation, which is really just a monologue from Frey fused with more humble bragging.
  • p. 335 – I just feel like Lilly has formed this dependency on James really quickly.  You’re in a treatment facility with rules, and you can’t make these extraneous demands that jeopardize the other person.  That is not a healthy or supportive form of love.
  • p. 340 – As bad as this situation seems, it’s really positive that James says he needs to be there.
  • p. 342 – Miles is like a delightful and sympathetic superman.
  • p. 346 – This behavior is so exhaustive and irrational.
  • p. 347 – HANK IS BACK.
  • p. 349 – What is wrong with this bathroom?  Who is this guy?  What are we doing here?
  • p. 351 – Where is Leonard when you need him?
  • p. 354 – I am so confused by this location.  Is it some sort of mystical, run down crack hotel?
  • p. 355 – Well, Lilly hasn’t taken to this whole sobriety thing very well.  Precisely why they shouldn’t be in a relationship together at all.  Both people need to be stable.
  • p. 356 – This is terribly cute of Lincoln.  James needs to give people more credit.

This section was a lot to deal with.  James’ was impressive in his actions, though his attitude about how well he’s doing occasionally grates on me in this weird way.  I don’t know.  More than anything, I am once again so appreciative for the supporting characters.  I really feel like they steal the story of this book and keep it worthwhile.