Monday, August 13, 2007

Tamar


Peet, Mal. 2007. Tamar.

This book is the WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL. It says it right there on the front cover. So I won't feel too badly for being honest in my review of it. It's already won an award. It is already being talked about as a good--if not great--read of the year. It's not that I hated Tamar, which is "a novel of espionage, passion, and betrayal." It's that I felt uncomfortable with it. Two young men are working undercover in Nazi-occupied territory. Tamar is the story of what happens when they both fall in love with the same woman. Also what happens when insanity takes control of a person. Not just one of the main characters, but in some of the minor ones as well. I suppose it falls under the heading of 'war changes a man and makes him do things he never thought he was capable of.' Tamar is the code name for one of the men. So decades later, when the son of one of these two men is expecting a baby, the father makes a request...to name the baby (if it's a girl) Tamar. This causes a very strange reaction from the soon-to-be-grandmother. Though it's not quite apparent to the readers why.

The big secret is revealed slowly and suspensefully within both timeframes. The undercover spies provide the narrative in 1944-1945. And the grandaughter Tamar provides the narrative in 1995 and 2005.

Mal Peet's Carnegie Medal-winning masterpiece is a story of violence and resistance, love and deception, loyalty and betrayal.

If violence, deception, and betrayal sounds like a good way to spend the afternoon....then Tamar may be the book for you.

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Reading about murder--even if it is belatedly related to a crime of passion--has never really been my cup of tea. So to watch this plot unfold chapter by chapter was just painfully uncomfortable for me. It wasn't that it was poorly written. It was that I didn't want to go where it was taking me. It was well written. The characters were well developed. I just had a hard time liking most of them.

3 comments:

Heather 2:19 PM  

I enjoy your reviews---they're very well-written! I hope you don't mind my adding your blog to the blogroll on my own reviews blog.

Becky 3:07 PM  

Heather:

I'm glad you're enjoying my site. I always appreciate a link :)

Becky

Anonymous,  4:12 PM  

Thank you for reading the book all the way through even though you did not really enjoy it. Thank you even more for being unbiased by saying it was well written even though you did not enjoy it! So many reviews try to say something is not well written even though it is, and they simply disagree with the subject matter!!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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