Book reviews

A blog by @mircwalsh

Book reviews

Tuesday 4th August


Book name: Marley and me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog

Author: Josh Grogan

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (26 Jul 2007)


 “A dog doesn’t care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb give him your heart and he will give you his”.

Brought in as a distraction for not having a baby journalists John and Jennifer decide to add a new member to their family. Picking up Marley from the breeder all seems fine. He is a cute and cuddly golden retriever who soon becomes “the world’s worst dog”

The passing of time is dictated through passages from John Grogan’s column. Bringing Marley to life in these columns the reader is guided through the happy and sad times. The story will touch the heart strings of anyone who has ever had a pet and that is what makes this a book for all ages.

The best bits: The column extracts are definitely asset to the story and nicely break it up.

The worst bits: Realizing that good things don’t last forever.


Book name: Broadway musicals: The 101 greatest musicals of all time (2004)

Authors: Ken Bloom, Frank Vlastnik.

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc; 11 Nov 2004.


Providing an insight into the New York Theatre District readers can experience the magic as they flick through pages of pictures, reviews, plot summaries and interviews which bring each show to life. Covering 101 award winning shows this is a must for any theatre fan. Following the history of the show the reader can learn what made it a success as well as any difficulties faced along the way.

Included in this book are classics; Evita, Chorus Line and Cats.


The best bits: the photographs that were never before published.

The worst bits: the fact that the contents were quite old and given that many shows are not running anymore this means that the content is not suitable for today’s theatre market.

Book name: Nine Stories

Author: J.D. Salinger

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st Little Brown Mass Market Pbk. Ed edition (1 Jan 1970)

This book is a great introduction to the work of J.D Salinger. Consisting of nine short stories the reader is introduced to many characters who are each dealing with their own emotion. Containing the classic “For Esme” this book gives readers some traditional Salinger whereas other stories “A Perfect day for Bananafish” and “Uncle Wiggly goes to Conneticut” are thought provoking and make readers feel for the characters.

The fact that these stories are all so short leaves the reader wanting more.

The best bits: The laughing man was the best story which leaves the reader wondering what happens next.

The worst bits: A perfect day for Bananafish provoked feelings and emotions that some readers may find uncomfortable to deal with.


Book name: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Author: Mildred Taylor

Publisher: Puffin; New Ed edition (27 Jan 2005)


This book gives a unique insight into the hardship of growing up in Mississippi in the 1930’s. This is the first of four books told through the eyes of ten year old Cassie Logan as she deals with racism first hand and struggles to cope with the reality that she will always be treated as second class.

Being the only girl in her family Cassie takes on the roll of big sister, mother and protector to her brothers.

Mildred Taylor doesn’t hold back on detail but this lets the reader experience the full emotions of the story.

Cassie fights for her rights whilst at the same time understanding her place in society. She struggles to hold back when a friend goes too far.

Although aimed at younger readers the story is timeless and appeals to all ages.


The best bits: the whole book is filled with great scenes perfectly illustrated through the

eyes of a child.


The worst bits: There are some storylines left open which require reading the next book

in the series.


Book name: The Great Gatsby.

Author: F Scott Fitzgerald.

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics (25 Jan 2007)

For one man life appears to be perfect, he has everything he could ever want, the looks, the money, a social life and more than many could ever dream of. First published in 1925, the story is set in Long Island‘s North Shore and New York City during the summer of 1922. Narrated by Nick Carraway a bond salesman the reader is told of the struggles of his neighbor Jay Gatsby a millionaire who is hiding a dark secret. The pressure of keeping such a secret causes him such emotional turmoil that eventually his life begins to fall apart. This timeless tale of struggle with oneself is suitable for older readers.

The best bits: knowing that money cannot buy everything.

The worst bits: the constant struggles of the character get repetitive.