The Emperor of Any Place, A Review

IMG_8958The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones was a book chosen by my Facebook YA book club. Most of the people in the group said that they had a hard time getting into it. I had put it on hold at the library, but by the time I picked it up, I’d almost decided not to bother reading it. After all, I have about a thousand other books on my TBR.

I read the jacket copy, and the premise intrigued me, so I started reading, fulling intending to abandon it at the first sign of boredom.

That never happened.

It’s not a typical book. It starts off with 16-year-old Evan’s father dying. While Evan is overwhelmed with grief, he allows someone to call his estranged grandfather, Griff.

Evan has never met Griff, but Evan’s father had nothing but negative things to say about him. In the meantime, Evan finds a handwritten book his father was reading before he died, about an American and Japanese soldier stranded on a ghost-infested island during WWII. Somehow, it has something to do with Evan’s grandfather, but no one will give any answers.

The story shifts in point of view between Evan, the Japanese soldier, and the American soldier. It’s a strange story, but I had no trouble suspending disbelief throughout.

I sped through this book, couldn’t put it down. I wanted to solve the mystery and find out the truth about Griff. I wanted Evan and Griff to work through their anger and listen to one another.

I take book recommendations from other people, but this is why I don’t allow other people’s opinions to stop me from at least trying a book. If I’d assumed that because it was hard for others to get into, it would also be hard for me to connect, I would have missed a fantastic book. Allowing myself the option to abandon a book means that I never have to finish something I hate. It’s liberating, and means I can try books I’m just not sure I’ll like.

What books have you read (and enjoyed) that others didn’t like?

I is for Idgie

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

IMG_8359.JPGI caught Fried Green Tomatoes on TV when I was a teenager. I watched it, probably because I loved Mary Stuart Masterson. It was one of my first encounters with a frame story. Evelyn starts visiting with Ninny, and Ninny tells the story of Idgie and Ruth. I’m not sure when I found out that it was actually a book: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg, but it stayed on my TBR for a few years.

When I finally read it, I fell in love with the characters all over again. They were even better (of course) than the characters in the movie. Idgie was a rebel, determined to do her own thing, even when it might have been easier to be more accommodating.

Idgie is never afraid to fight for the people she loves. Though Evelyn never meets her, Idgie becomes a role model to her, and through the stories she hears, Evelyn learns to become more assertive and happier in her life.

The movie was good, but the book was better. There are some things left out of the movie. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a pretty quick read. In fact, writing this post makes me want to go visit Idgie right now.

Have you read the book or seen this movie? Thoughts?