Pure Fiction: A review of Arrival…and Other Books

posted in: Large Family Reviews | 7

Post contains affiliate links.Review of the book Arrival

I’ve been reading a lot lately, which feels great. One thing I miss now that I don’t have nursing babies is my reading time. I can’t even estimate how many hours I logged reading while nursing babies…the forced need to sit and be still for ten minutes every couple of hours meant I had plenty of time to read. I still read, every day, but it is harder to carve out the time now.

A few weeks ago we went to the library and I picked up four (four!) books for myself. It felt so luxurious. So far I’ve read three.

I started Wild Mama first and was disappointed. It was basically a memoir about a reluctant mother who found time to still take solo hikes, camping trips, and adventures after motherhood while leaving babies and husband behind. Basically, the author and I have very little in common, so I found it hard to relate. But hey, you might love it.

Next was It’s Not About the Broccoli, a great book on raising good eaters (click here for more picky eating resources).

Now here is the book I want to focus on for this post…

I was so excited to read Arrival.

I have seen the previews to the movie and this is one I plan to watch when it comes out on Netflix. As I’ve said before, I read very little fiction, but if I watch a movie based on a book, I always want to read the book first. I didn’t even know Arrival was based on a book until I saw it in the library. I grabbed it immediately and was really excited to read it.

The book started out slow. I didn’t particularly enjoy chapter one, The Tower of Babylon…I’m not a fan of books that need to go back to the beginning of time to lay out their plot, but it’s a common enough way to begin a book.

The plot picked up speed in the next chapter, entitled, Understand. This chapter followed a character who achieved super-human intelligence and it led to surprising places. Cool.

Chapter 3, Division by Zero, was also a fun chapter to read. It explored the idea of what might happen if a mathematician discovered a formula that changed his/her entire perspective on the world.

In chapter 4 (out of eight chapters) Story of Your Life, the aliens (as portrayed in the movie trailer) finally arrive. Ah, now things were getting good. Since I majored in Linguistics in college, I particularly loved the parts where they discuss learning the language of the aliens.

The next chapter, Seventy-Two Letters was where things began to fall apart for me.

I can deal with going back to ancient times to set up a plot. Artificial intelligence and mathematicians…all make sense in the context of a book about alien visitors. But this chapter? I was unable to see any connections between it and the previous chapters. Not to mention I was over halfway through the book and the author had not yet drawn the characters and various plots together.

What was going on?

This made me look a little closer at the book I held. And then I noticed this at the bottom, originally published as Stories of Your Life and Others. Others? As in more than one? A quick search on Amazon (remember, I picked this book up at the library) led me to a very embarrassing conclusion. The book, Arrival, is a book of short stories.

Yes, my friends, I made it fully halfway through the book before I realized I was reading short stories. And all those “connections” I had made between the chapters? Pure fiction..fiction I had made up in my own mind.

All this led me to believe:

I need more sleep (we are in the middle of using a bedwetting alarm on one of our kids).

I may be going crazy.

I now need to go back and read every chapter as it was intended…a stand alone story.

*sigh*

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner alone rocking back and forth…and reading my book of short stories.

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7 Responses

  1. Sally Chancellor

    Lol, thanks for the confession, I needed that 🙂 I was going to go check out Arrival, but our library doesn’t have it :/ I may do an inter-library loan, though, because now I’m very curious!

    • Yeah…embarrassing but I figured someone would find it amusing…

  2. Sally Chancellor

    Aha! It was under Stories of Your Life and Others instead of Arrival 🙂

  3. Jennifer

    I think I’m quite the opposite. I like to read the book after watching the movie. This way I can love the book & still enjoy the movie! Lol. I miss nursing babies too. Reading now feels like a guilty pleasure. I’m trying to read a few books this summer too, Lost & Found by Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers & Peaceas well as Homeschooling In Real Life (HIRL). I’m also reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I’m just a few chapters in, but really enjoying it. Enter your Space bags & ZipLock bag post here! Lol.

  4. Tanya Redfield

    Reminds me of years ago, pregnant with my first child, reading a book about infant care as I struggled to stay awake. So I was reading all about breastfeeding when a line from the book struck terror in my soul…”If the nipples become clogged, dip them in boiling water and use
    toothpicks to clear the holes.” Imagine my relief when I found I had moved on to the section about bottle feeding…..

    • Oh my goodness…the “use toothpicks to clear the holes” sounds far worse to me than the boiling water…I’m still cringing.

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