Friday, April 11, 2014

CMLT 2500: A Student's Perspective

Lesley Anne and I were talking the other day about how it would be cool if y'all could hear some reviews about the books I am teaching this semester from a student's perspective, not just mine. With this in mind, I asked both of my classes if anyone would be interested in writing a review of any of the books. After they learned they would not receive extra credit the enthusiasm died a little bit. But, lucky for you and me, someone stepped up to the plate. This student is one of my most astute when it comes to literature (and other things- she is a double major, English and Biology), and she is also a wonderful creative writer. I have to admit I was glad she was the one who decided to do this; I didn't want to trust the blog to just anyone. I enjoyed reading her thoughts and I think y'all will, too. So far we have read 5 novels in the class and she chose to give us her thoughts on 3. I have a feeling someone of you will like her reviews better than mine because she is much better at being succinct.

"Hello, I'm a student in Mrs. Medlin's CMLT 2500 class. I've really enjoyed all the assigned novels, and I would love to give my opinion on a few of the novels that, for me, have left an impression:

Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior: While I feel as if my class did not enjoy it or found it a confusing read, I think Woman Warrior shocked me in the best way possible. After I finished the first chapter called No Name Woman, I turned to my Chinese roommate and demanded to know if rights for Chinese women were as harsh as depicted, and she basically agreed. As an Asian woman and the child of emigrant parents, I found this book unbelievably relatable, especially Maxine's difficult relationship with her mother.

Although the novel is told in five very different chapters, I enjoyed how each story stood by itself, but had trouble connecting the five chapters.

Alexie Sherman's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: I have read other works by Alexie Sherman and have been impressed by him. It is difficult to tell the story of a protagonist living in very unfortunate circumstances because the focus is on the journey of the character and not the wretchedness of his circumstances. I've always enjoyed novels where I can root for the main character, and this certainly was the case. I also enjoyed how this novel had simple vocabulary; I admire novels where my immigrant mother, little sisters, and I can understand and communicate the same ideas.

Junot Diaz's The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: I adore this book. I remember how at first my class had already begun reading, but I did not have the book. So while waiting to borrow it from my friend, I began reading an online pdf file of the novel. That night, I finished half of the book. As of now, this is my third time racing the novel, and I wonder how have I made time to read the novel multiple times. I love reading about the women of the story. Belicia and Lola, as flawed and unfortunate in love as they are, are so strong- you can probably tell I admire strong women. But Oscar, he steals the scene. Who knew that pitiable, dorky Oscar would transform into a legend worth telling? His struggle with depression and self-worth mirrors the worst of times in us, but his transformation into the most true upholder of the ideals of love, the grandest you can imagine, has been a pleasure to read."

I told y'all she was a good writer. Hope you enjoyed hearing her thoughts on these works. We would love to hear your thoughts, too, if you have read these books. If not, you should go check them out. Pronto.

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