Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Last Thing I Remember

(Note:  I have NOT read this book, but my son did & he is so excited he can't wait to read the rest of this series!  He begged-begged-begged me to take him to the book store to buy the 2nd book - you know I did it, too...  I am a HAPPY mom!  He wrote a 4 pg report, and here it is verbetim ... er, is that right? Is it verbetim if written???  ~sigh~ a contemplation for another day!)


The last thing Charlie West can remember is being a normal kid.  When life was going great for Charlie, it all changed.  He wakes up strapped to a chair, hurting all over, with blood on his shirt.  He over hears men ordering his death, wondering why anyone would want him to die and how he got here, he knew he had to escape.  He plots his escape and executes it perfectly.  Escaping from who seem to Charlie as terrorists, his adventure of getting back to the life he once had, begins.

He finds himself stealing a car, to escape the compound, and driving away.  Then, still being chased and shot at, he runs into the woods.  Charlie then finds himself in dark underground caves and tunnels, and sliding through some of the tightest spaces in pitch black, not knowing what lies ahead.  Once escaped from the darkness, Charlie is found by a young girl and her mother.  He assures her, he means no harm, and she offers to help him, but things aren't always what they seem.

Mrs. Simmons (the woman helping Charlie) takes Charlie home.  He attempts to call home, no answers, the number had been disconnected.  Confursed, Charlie told Mrs. Simmons, she then offered him food (which he gladey accepted) and was to call her husband, the assistant district attorney.  After the call, Charlie had finished his food and Mrs. Simmons (acting strange) ordered Charlie to shower and offered clean clothes.  Before showering , he saw a newspaper, read the title, and above it, it read the current date.  It was a year later than the last day he remembered.

Once finished with his shower, and dressed, he walked into the kitchen.  No one was to be seen, he called for Mrs. Simmons and no one answered.  Next thing he knew he was being handcuffed at gunpoint.  He kept saying they were wrong, that the men who captured him were the bad guys.  But no, he was being arrested for killing his best friend Alex Hauser.

Of course, Charlie didn't know what they were talking about.  He didn't remember any of this, and knows he would never do such a thing.  But, he did remember the last time he talked with Alex, they fough, well argued.  Witnesses and everything say that he was arguing with him, which was correct, but then the murder weapon had Charlie's fingerprints, and he had the motive.  He knew they were wrong, but no one would believe him.

Then, while he was in jail he heard that the homeland secretary was to meat the president.  He then remembered the men outside of the room with the chair and voices.  They said "we'll never get another shot at Yarrow (Yarrow is the homeland secretary).  Two more days, we can send Orton, he knows the bridge as well as West."  Then he knew the homelanders (the men who had him in the chair, at the compound) were going to kill the homeland secretary, Yarrow.  He tried to warn the police, but they wouldn't listen.

Then while being put in the police cruiser to the jail.  Soemone unloced his handcuffs and whispered "You're a better man than you know, find Waterman."  He knew he had to escape, and so he did.  He then found a woman named Jane who "knew" him.  She knew everything Charlie did and believed him.  She helped him get to the bridge to stop the the homelanders (terrorists) from killing Yarrow.

Once Charlie got to the bridge, there was an agent in the center and two officers on either side.  The agent killed the officers and went to the car next to him, it was Orton.  He opened the trunk, it was a bomb.  Yarrow was close and Charlie had to stop him.  He got to him and stopped him before Yarrow made it to the bridge, Orton still alive saidCharlie was also a homelander, in anger after he had ruined the plans.  The cops across the bridge (the one with Yarrow) had shot Orton in the stomach.  Charlie prayed and ran away into the forest.

This is one of my favorite books ever.  It had plenty of action, and twists.  I enjoyed every minute of the suspense.  I recommend it for anyone who likes twists in stories and action.  This book fit me perfect, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

So proud of my boy & so excited he has actually found something he's excited to read!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3/161: Drowning Ruth

Had lunch with a reader friend the other day & was telling her about this book.  She asked me what made me buy it to begin with...  the back jacket, written by Francine Prose, of all people (she keeps popping up on me!), explains it all:

"[A] gripping psychological thriller... In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake.  The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband... Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowing..."

And once in my hand, once inside the cover, this book had me with the first sentence:  Ruth remembered drowning and held me captive until the very last: We will begin again.

So many words come to mind when I think of this book:  compelling, riveting, engrossing, haunting, captivating, fascinating, creative...  So intriguing and thought-provoking that I was not able to pick up another book for well over a month after I finished.  I just wanted to hang on to it because it is a story I wish I had thought of, a tale I wish I had told.  I just couldn't quite let go of it...

So, so many, many things I take away from this book - the pages dogeared and creased... and away we go into the quotable quotes of Drowning Ruth:

But if the stranger I had recently become was relieved, some other part of me shuddered with despair, and I found myself weeping, the tears searing my frozen cheeks, at the thought that I'd had to hide myself from a man I'd once loved.

Somebody had to see that things went as they ought.

When I thought of God, now, He was hovering somewhere over France, not paying any attention to me at all.

You have to be careful with your feelings, I think.  It's a mistake to let them go just because they're summoned.

Of course, I would miss my work, but I was secretly a little pleased to see my proper course lay elsewhere.

- it never made sense to buy at the top.  You made money only when you could see what others couldn't.

She smiled on, looking as if she meant to live forever.

Coming home couldn't change me back into the girl I'd once been.

It was the kind of day that makes you fear that God, distracted by finer things, has forgotten you.

It made me shiver to think how loyal she was, ready to do what I asked, trusting it would be all right as long as I said so.

Maybe there was no hiding here.

But everyone was a fool about something.

Imogene appreciated skill, especially if she could make use of it.

"Sometimes you die, sometimes you don't.  That must be how it is with drowning."

His knock was a warning, rather than a request.

You shouldn't visit your dead mother to impress your bored friend.

It was a strange idea, frightening somehow, as if for a moment the door between the world of the living and the world of the dead had blown open.

"You know things, but you don't tell."

"There's a proper time for things."

At least, he'd packed her away somehow.

He missed her with a sense of nostalgia, in much the same way he missed his own youth, and even when he tried, he couldn't find a trace of the unbearable agony and black dispair that had once overwhelmed him.

"Carl, you have to think ahead of the farm.  You can't just be running from one emergency to another.  You'll never get anywhere that way."

You could stare and stare at the water, but you could never see down more than a few feet.  A whole other world could be going on under there and you'd never know it.

Almost against her will, Amanda found herself graspoing for Ruth again and again, but every time her fingers closed they seemed to scratch, and the girl who'd once clung to her as if she were life itself shrank away.

"I know how things can change in ways you never meant."

She'd begun to realize that people always had something to say.

You can't imagine how fierce people can be when they're crazy with fear, when they know they're going to die, when they believe you're an angel pushing them toward the grave.

"He's bursting with good ideas.  It's just that bursting makes a mess, and somehow he's never around when it comes time to clean up."

"Garnish makes the plate, that's what Mrs. Owens says."

The air had freshened slightly that morning, signaling the end of summer, but to Ruth th ecoolness was more sad than invigorating.

Keeping things whole, she reflected, rubbing the base of her thumb, demanded a great deal of concentration.

That summer, the path he'd been following, the route chosen and painstakingly marked by his parents, had forked.

"Sometimes a blank slate is best," she'd said.  "There's something to be said for a girl who's open to influence."

He was sure that she would take him somewhere he'd never been, somewhere he couldn't even imagine.

"But what you want doesn't always matter, does it?"

He loves Imogene.  Did this grieve her because he would have Imogene or because Imogene would have him?  Both, she supposed.  Both left her alone.  But she was Imogene's friend, that was the important thing.  And she would be Imogene's friend, with or without her.

When people left, in my experience, they stayed gone.

On a farm, the earth has secrets, and the weather has passions, but people don't matter so much.

I will have you, I thought.  I will keep you.  We will begin again.

And the madness continues...

a quick run thru Goodwill, a brief stop by Barnes & Noble... ~sigh~  I'll never catch up!