Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guest Review by Jenny from Alternate Readality: Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak

#MZweek

When I decided to go ahead with the idea of a Markus Zusak week, one thing I knew I wanted for sure was to have my long time friend, Jenny (from Alternate Readality) write a post about Getting the Girl. It's funny because Jenny and I, even though we are the best of bookish buddies, we tend to disagree a lot about so many books. However, when it comes to Markus Zusak and his books, we are SO on the same page! I knew that this particular book meant something quite special to her, so I've asked her to try (and I know it was a hard thing to do!) and articulate why and how it speaks to her.

So while I've called this a review, it's actually more of a response or a reaction.

Take it away Jenny:


Whenever Markus Zusak’s name is mentioned what do you think? Admit it, you think of The Book Thief. Yeah, yeah, it’s his most beloved book. And if you couldn't quite get into, The Book Thief you probably love, I am the Messenger. Now don’t get me wrong. I love those books too. You can’t help but love anything Zusak writes if you give it a chance. It just saddens me that people give The Book Thief so much love and even give I am the Messenger a thumbs up but are hardly even aware that Zusak wrote three other books. Come on, people, you can’t call yourself a true Markus Zusak fan and not have read ALL of his books. Or worse, read them and dared say they weren't as good as his latest books. Why? Because they’re not about something as controversial as a World War 2 or something as fascinating as mysterious playing cards showing up in the mail? For shame!

The Wolfe Brother’s series stands all on its own as an amazing series about human nature, coming of age and conquering our greatest adversary. Self doubt. As much as I love ALL of Markus Zusak’s works I have a soft spot for Getting the Girl. K, I feel so stupid saying this but you know that song, Killing Me Softly by the Fugees? You know how it’s all about this girl that goes and hears this guy sing and he’s totally singing about her? Well, that’s how this book feels to me. I swear Markus studied my soul and then displayed it across the pages of this book. I feel arrogant as sin saying that, though because I’m not nearly as sweet and compassionate as Cameron Wolfe (the hero of the story) is. However I relate so much to him that I sob hysterically every time I read this beautiful book.

Cameron Wolfe just can’t live up to the rest of his family. His brother Ruben is charismatic, can win any fight he sets out to, and always gets the girl. Cameron, on the other hand, can barely even talk to girls and lives his life walking the streets of the city and longing after Octavia, the girl his brother is currently dating. He just wants to amount something and have real love. When Ruben breaks up with Octavia, Cameron is devastated that she’ll no longer be around but he never imagined that she might like him or believe in him.

We all have those books that will probably always mean more to us than to anyone else because of how well we can relate to the MC and for me, that book is Getting The Girl. Just like Cameron, I have a family who often makes me feel like I’ll never measure up to anything. Just like Cameron I’m a bit introverted and, yes, have been known to wander the streets at night. Creepy, I know, but mostly I relate to his longing for love. Ouch! That was hard to say. I’m not some social freak but the truth is I’m not married, not in a relationship and I wish I was. So I get it. Cameron’s words touch me. I think they’re capable of touching anyone who’s ever longed for love.

Another truth is I’m an animal.
A Human Animal….
…..God, how I want the skin of women! I want it on my lips and hands and fingers. How I want to taste her…
But-then-then-
Beneath that.
That’s not enough!
Yes, when that’s done, I also want the everything that’s her to fill up so much in front of me that it spills and shivers and gives, just like I’m prepared to do myself. 


For me, Getting the Girl is the story of how belief and love can give a person the courage and strength to begin the journey of becoming the something they've always wanted to be. And THAT is a beautiful idea for story.

“You ever hear a dog cry, Steve? You know, howling so loud, it’s almost unbearable?” He nodded. “I reckon they howl like that because they’re so hungry it hurts, and that’s what I feel in me everyday of my life. I’m so hungry to be somethin’ to be somebody. You hear me?” He did. “I’m not lyin’ down ever. Not for you. Not for anyone.” I ended it. "I’m hungry, Steve.”

So why do I love this one and how does it make me feel? In a sentence, (and I’ll steal it from the book)…….. My thoughts kneeled down.

**************

Ah that's so perfect! Thanks so much, Jenny, for spilling it out there for us! It's awesome to see plain and simple how books and especially these Markus Zusak books, get right down to our emotional core. 

My readers, what books have especially spoken to your emotions? Or what book felt like it was written just for you?

30 comments:

  1. Wow. I totally want to read this one now. I've only read I Am the Messenger and I really liked it. And I totally know what you mean about a book feeling like it was written just for you. I have a small selection of books that I call "my soul on paper".

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    1. Steph: My soul on paper... I love it! Now I'm wondering what those books are???

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    2. This is the only "my soul on paper" book. I wish I could find more...maybe. ;)

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  2. When Markus came to the library, I asked him if he feels like his other books are under appreciated. He said that he didn't think so because he feels like there were all leading up to The Book Thief. Apparently he feels like The Book Thief is his best work.

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    1. Kami! Way to ask him questions! I was too star struck to remember mine! I do feel like the success of The Book Thief has him frozen a bit... here's hoping that doesn't last long.

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    2. Yeah, I'm impressed you asked him a question. I just sat there smiling stupidly.

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  3. Thanks for the opportunity to do this. I may be in a reading\blogging slump but it was a pleasure to read this one again. Even if it does make me sob. ;) And thanks for adding links and pictures.

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    1. Jenny: And thank you for doing it even in the midst of your slump! I love how it turned out!

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  4. This book makes you feel like the girl in Killing Me Softly by the Fugees! That is the best description I think I've ever heard of a book really touching your soul, I love it! This is my last Zusak to read and I am so incredibly excited to read it.

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    1. Melissa: I look forward to hearing what you think of it. Cameron shows his true self and it's awesome.

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    2. Oh, I hope you love it as much as I do. Suey is right, it really shows Cameron's true self.

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  5. I don't think I have ever read a book that has spoken to my soul quite like Jenny experienced. I take that back - Delirium by Lauren Oliver came pretty close.

    This was a great "reaction", Jenny.

    Jayla

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    1. Jayla: I'm trying to think if I have or not...hmmm....

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    2. It's the only book I've ever read that has done that to me. I love and hate it all at once. ;)

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  6. What a great post! Now I want to read this one, too. I love it when I can relate like that to characters and books.
    And yay for an excerpt! I've never actually read any of his writing. Not even a little bit. But it sounds really good!

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    1. Kathy: It's really quite poetic, so be prepared, and hopefully you like that sort of thing!

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    2. I hope you like them to. They're unlike anything I've ever read before.

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  7. Lovely, Jenny. I know it was hard for you to share, but I think you did so beautifully. And I shall now read GETTING THE GIRL again. :)

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  8. Okay, now I want to read this book... I love the song Killing Me Softly, and to say that reading the book feels like that? Mmm... I like the idea of that!!! Great post Jenny! :)

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    1. Yeah, it really feels like that song.

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  9. Wow, I got a mention in a Markus Zusak post, "Just like Cameron, I have a family who often makes me feel like I’ll never measure up to anything."

    It's true Jenny, you'll never have as spectacular cleavage as I do. You do write better though!

    Love you!

    Great guest host, Suey, I guess I'll have to read some Zusak.

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    1. You know I'm talking about our lovely brothers. ;) But they're probably jealous of my cleavage too.

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  10. I haven't read this book, but I've felt that way when I read a book before. So, I can understand where you're coming from. You articulated it so well, too. :)

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    1. There's something wonderful and scary about reading a book that you can relate to that well, isn't there?

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  11. Wow, that was beautifully written, Jenny. I know what you mean about a book being written for you - Precious Bane was the one for me. I'm almost afraid to reread it, because it might have been the right book at the right time for me.

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    1. Well, I've read this one three times and it always means the same thing to me...sad actually. ;)

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  12. That was pretty much the most amazing guest post ever. I couldn't really get into The Book Thief but I am going to pick up Getting The Girl for sure now.

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    1. The Book Thief is really, really different than his other books. Same beautiful writing but much more relateable stories.

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