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Review: The House of Tomorrow

The House of Tomorrow

The House of Tomorrow
By Peter Bognanni
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425238882, March 2011, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

Brilliant, beautifully written and touching in a way that surprised me.

The Rest of It:

After losing both parents in an accident, sixteen-year-old Sebastian Prendergast lives with his eccentric grandmother Nana in a geodesic dome. Nana, who studied with the infamous R. Buckminster Fuller (architect, philosopher and futurist), continues to share his teachings by conducting tours of their very unique home.

Most people visiting Iowa come for other reasons, but every once in awhile they have a visitor or two, and that’s enough to keep Nana happy. Sebastian spends his days polishing the dome and as he’s gazing down upon the town below, it occurs to him that he hasn’t seen much of it, or the rest of the world for that matter. You see, the dome acts as a barrier to all things. It protects him, yet it also imprisons him.  In his sensible shoes and conservative outdated clothing, Sebastian finds pleasure in simple things, but he secretly desires more. When his Nana falls ill, he meets a family that helps him realize how special he really is.

This is a wonderful story and includes the most interesting cast of characters I’ve encountered in a long time. They are terrifically flawed. I seriously loved them all, which I almost never say. Bognanni manages to make them vulnerable in beautiful, subtle ways. The story is funny and sad and touching without being overly worked. The transitions were effortless, or seemed so anyway. 

I adored this book and this is Bognanni’s first novel! It blows my mind.  You know that feeling you get after reading a page or two of  a new book? The feeling where you just know that it’s going to be great? I had that feeling throughout the book and the ending did not disappoint. There is so much more to say, but it would be better to experience it on your own.

Source: Purchased

Geodesic Dome (Source Unknown)

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Review: Lost Boys

Lost BoysLost Boys
By Orson Scott Card
(HarperTorch, Mass Market Paperback, 9780061091315, February 2005, 544pp.)
(Originally published in 1992)

The Short of It:

A touching, moving, all-around great read. A perfect package.

The Rest of It:

Set in the early 80’s, Step Fletcher and his wife DeAnne move to Steuben, North Carolina to begin his new job as a technical writer. With them, are their three kids, Stevie (7), Robbie (4) and their toddler sister Elizabeth. DeAnne and Step are expecting baby number four and life looks promising.  Except, that the job isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and Step’s real passion is designing video games. Having previously been self-employed, Step finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. You see, he’s been hired as a tech writer, yet his real job is to audit code behind his boss’ back which is really, an impossible situation to be in.

On the home front, DeAnne is trying to find her place in this new neighborhood, and since they are of the Mormon faith, they are immediately accepted into their new ward. However, that’s not as perfect as it sounds, as this particular ward has some colorful characters who set out to make things difficult for the Fletcher family. Stevie has an increasingly hard time in school and cannot seem to find his place. The house they live in is plagued by insects (no one knows why) and there is the quite a bit of debt hanging over them all, which forces Step to work in a place that he truly hates.

This novel is classified as a horror story, and I must say, it took quite a bit of time for the horror to sink in but when it did, it took my breath away. It’s not the type of horror that is obvious. It’s the slow realization that something is desperately wrong. While the Fletchers try to settle into their new life, little boys begin to disappear one by one and then it becomes obvious to both DeAnne and Step that Stevie is not quite right.

I loved this novel so much that I turned right around and listened to it on audio. The audio version is read by Stefan Rudnicki who is absolutely fabulous. I’ve never read anything by Orson Scott Card so I had no expectations while reading this book but I don’t think it could have been more perfect.

You must read or listen to this book and then tell me what you think of it. Since it was originally published in ’92, the references to computers and video games is quite dated, but since I work in technology, where everything becomes outdated in just three months’ time, I found this to be quite entertaining. Also, don’t let the religious undertones scare you away. The Mormon faith plays a big role in this novel, but it’s not preachy in any way.

Since I enjoyed Lost Boys so much, I’ve added all of Card’s other books to my “to-read” list. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on his work prior to this. I must have been living under a large rock. Oh, and Stefen Rudnicki on audio…I can’t say enough about him. I’m adding everything he’s done to my list too.

Source: Borrowed from the library.

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