Child of the Dark, by Carolina Maria de Jesus

Book 6 in "Sept. is read your own books month"
I received this book from paperbackswap about a year ago.
I think this will be  my final book for this reading challenge.
Thank you so much Shanyn fo this great idea and I got 6 books off my shelves!

 2 Stars  :-(

ABOUT THE BOOK - Carolina Maria de Jesus wrote her diary on scraps of paper each day while she scavenged through the squalid slums of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and tried to feed her three young children. Her account of daily life stunned the world with its honesty and its simple, moving artistry.

MY REVIEW - UGH!!! That's what I always start with when I have to give a bad review. I did not like this book at all. I feel I was being generous by giving it 2 stars. OK, here' goes -
I did not expect a great work of literature, I knew this was written by a woman living in the slums, that is not what bothered me about this book. I didn't mind the simpleness of it.
~ It was very very (let me repeat - very) repetitive. half way through the book I wanted to shout "Yes, I get it! You are hungry, your children are hungry. I know its sad! But I don't need to read the same thing 20,000 times."
~ Never does she take blame for her predicament. She started "making love" with strangers when she was a teenager! she had 3 children, she choose to never marry. Take some blame!!! She never says "maybe I shouldn't have done that, or - I have made mistakes, or - I would do it differently."
~ Everything is the fault of the Government or the politicians. I know that back in the 50's the government in Brazil basically sucked! I agree! But she is constantly expecting the government to walk in and "fix" everything. Quote - "The Politicians must give us things. That includes me too, because I am also a flavelado (one who lives in the slums)" She says things like this through the whole book.
~ She keeps complaining how dirty she is and how dirty her children and shack are. Quote - "If I'm dirty, its because I don't have soap" She say things like "I didn't wash today because I didn't have money for soap." Well I know soap does help, but seriously... if I didn't have soap, I would do the best I could with water and scrubbing! I don't think I would just go dirty complaining that I couldn't buy soap. And they did have water, they had to walk to get it, but it was there.
~ The whole book seemed like a long tattletale session to me. This person hit that person. This 40 yr old is fighting with a 5 yr old boy. She threw stones at him, He spit on her. Etc. etc.
~ She also tells ( almost sounds like bragging) of all the men that are lining up around the block to sleep with her and all the men that want to live with her. But she turns them away! Quote - "There is a Portuguese here who wants to live with me. But I don't need a man." She says things like this several times. Then later about a different person she says, "I slept with him. And the night was delicious." I can't seem to keep her love life straight because there are no details!!!
~ Her children are always getting in trouble, but she gives no details of anything. Just that she believes they didn't do it. Or gives the excuse that are poor, or that they are young. She doesn't tell of her love for her children at all. She does say that she doesn't like leaving them alone, but that's as close as she gets.
~ She doesn't give any details of her life, or her children, she doesn't describe anything. She doesn't tell of everyday life. Or what it is like in Brazil. It is just who did what to whom. Who is sleeping with whom. and that the politicians do nothing. I need this and I need that.
This book could have been at least interesting - if she had included any details or descriptions of anything.

To me, very disappointing book! This book got real mixed reviews,  it got some 1's and 2's but also got some 5 stars! I just don't see it.

1 comment:

  1. I think this book would have frustrated me for the same reasons it did you. When someone is chronically unable to take responsibility for their own actions, it makes me angry and embittered. I will be avoiding this book, and I am sorry that it was not what you had been hoping for. Thanks for sharing your feelings with forthrightness and honesty.