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Page history last edited by Allia 14 years, 1 month ago



So, I read three books and I'm still trying to decide which one to use for my self select...so help me choose i guess.

1) The Pact by Jodi Picoult

2) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

3) Lucky by Alice Sebold

     They are all good books, but I don't know which one would be better for my project.



Alright, so I'm leaning toward a whole new book all together. I just can't decide!! Bonnell what do you think?



THE PACT - Jodi Picoult

     Okay, so I have decided on The Pact. This book takes place in Bainbridge, New Hampshire, where two couples--the Hartes and the Golds--become best friends. The Golds move to Bainbridge in 1979, where Michael Gold can get a better job as the town's veterinarian. Melanie Gold willing follows her husband, gets herself a job as the local librarian, and winds up meeting Augusta Harte, her very pregnant, enthusiastic next-door neighbor. After a few run-ins with each other, Melanie and Gus find that they have something in common: the love of books. Not only that, but only after a few weeks of living in Bainbridge, Melanie discovers that she herself is pregnant! Almost at once Melanie and Gus because best friends, and eventually James Harte and Michael Gold also become good friends.


Page 21 -

"Gus became comfortable enought to walk into the Gold household without knocking; Melanie borrowed baby-name books on interlibrary loan and left them in Gus's mailbox. Melanie started to wear Gus's maternity clothers; Gus bought Melanie's favorite brand of decaffeinated coffee to keep on hand; they grew able to finish each other's sentences."

     I can totally and completely to relate to this new relationship that Gus and Melanie have created with each other. I understand what it's like to have your best friend walk into your house without knocking, or wear your clothes, and pick up things for you. In my experience, my best friend is pretty much my other half. I don't know what I would do without her.



     So I was read this quote the other day and I instantly fell in love with it.....

"Boys are like stars. There are a million of them, but only one of them will make your dreams come true."

     In my eyes, this is so very true.



          For my new self-select novel, I have begun reading a very interesting book called The Handmaid's Tale. The book is told from the point of view of a young woman named Offred and it tells of her experiences in a very controlled environment. I will post more tomorrow.




by Sue Monk Kidd


     This book portrays the life of young Lily Owens in the time of racial change. This book is set in in South Carolina in 1964. Throughout her life, Lily has always been verbally and mentally abused by her father, while the memory of her mother's death is foggy in her mind and haunts her constantly through her days. After she turns fourteen, her entire life is transformed when Rosaleen, an African-American woman who takes care of her, angers three town racists. Rosaleen and Lily are thrown in jail, but Lily's dad manages to take bail her out. Lily decides to take charge and breaks Rosaleen out of jail. Rosaleen and Lily begin to travel to Tiburon, following a torn picture of Virign Mary that it is in Lily's possession. This is far as I have gotten so far in the book. I'm going to finish the book this weekend.



     Page 2 -

'I want to say they (the bees) showed up like the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, setting events in motion I would have never guessed.'

     - From this quote, I believe that Lily almost wishes that she would have been given a clear cut sign that her life was going to spin into a whole new orbit. Lily wants to believe that the bees were sent to her as a sign to take charge of her life, leave her abusive father behind, and discover the mystery of her mother's life.


     Page 13 -

'The bag contained a pair of white cotton gloves stained the color of age. When I pull them out, I thought, Her very hands were inside here.'

     - Lily has few precious items connecting herself to her mother. She marvels at the fact that her mother's hands were acutally once inside the old pairs of gloves. The pair of gloves is a connection to her mohter, making Lily feel safe and protected. It is her safe haven and comfort to imagine her mother touching her and holding her. It helps her escape the horrors of her abusive father.




     So I have finished the Secret Life of Bees. I have to say that it was a pretty good book. On a scale of one to ten, I would have to give it a 7.5. Throughout the book, there are so many different analogies comparing and contrasting the life of bees to the life of humans. To me, it is crazy to think how easily we can be compared to just a tiny bee. Then I begin to realize that all of us individuals are merely tiny bees in the "hive" of the world, contributing our talents and flaws to the entire human race. Crazy right? 

     However, the plot of the story is important, so let me explain. I left off when Rosaleen and Lily are traveling to Tiburon, South Carolina, following a picture of a African-American Virgin Mary. Lily discovers the same depiction of Mary on a jar of honey labeled "Black Madonna" in the general store in Tiburon. The store clerk explains to her that a family of black sisters, the Boatwrights, make honey from their countless beehives kept around the county. He tells her to ask for August Boatwright. Following the clerk's directions and her intuition, Lily persuades Rosaleen to come with her to look for the Boatwright sisters. They find them living in an obnoxiously bright pink house. Lily and Rosaleen meet the three Boatwright sisters, giving them fake names and asking for a place to stay. August Boatwright, the eldest of the sisters, immediately takes them in through her kind and caring spirit. May Boatwright is extremely excited to have company and greets them with open arms. June Boatwright, however, is suspicious and keeps a close on both of them, especially Lily.   

      In exchange for board and food, Rosaleen and Lily help around the Boatwright's house. Rosaleen finds a friend in her new roommate May and helps her with the housework, while Lily is taken under the watchful and protective wing of August. June stands back in the shadows for the time being, watching Lily closely and suspiciously. While staying with August, June, and May, Lily learns all about the secret life of bees  from August's wisdom of beekeeping. All of them teach her about their own religion group known as the Daughters of Mary, based on a statue of black Virgin Mary that has been passed down through their family through generations. Lily learns countless lessons throughout the course of the book. From understanding how to give bees love and feel the grace of Mary, Lily not only finds her true family, but learns that skin color doesn't distinguish person. Lily finds that color is only an interpretation and that your gifts that you share with the world determine who you are. 


      In the book, there are countless times when I see an event or even just a phrase that reminds me so much of myself, my life, or someone else I know. It is incredible to me how much a book relate to a person's life, even if the topic of the book is completely different from anything you have ever experienced. I wish I could experience what Lily does. It would be incredible to see the world through another's eyes and find a family that never has to love you because you share similar DNA. The Boatwrights choose to love Lily regardless of her skin color or where she came from. They love her for who she truly is.



I wonder what bees think of us??????





In the Heart of the Sea 

Nathaniel Philibrick



I think this picture is a perfect representation of this book. In the beginning, the sailors of the Essex whaleship are not very experiened and many of them are even first time sailors. This makes them naive, nervous, and optimistic about their whaling voyage. They are anxious and excited to travel and explore the open ocean, but they do not fully anticipate the full dangers of whaling voyages. In the photograph, the open ocean and stretching horizon represent new opportunities and possibilities. However, notice how cloudy and dark it is at the edge of the horizon. This suggests difficulties in the future for the Essex.




          "First they saw bones--human bones--littering the thwarts and floorboards, as if the whaleboat were the seagoing lair of a ferocious, man-eating beast. Then they saw two men. They were curled up in opposite ends of the boat, their skin covered in sores, their eyes bulging from the hollows of their sjulls, their beards caked with salt and bllod. They were sucking the marrow from the bones of their dead shipmates."


          -This shows how animalistic and ravenous humans can become when pushed to extreme survival conditions. Think about how disgusted how the sailors felt when they saw these two men hanging on for dear life. I know that if I EVER saw two human beings hanging on for pure survival I probably couldn't handle it.





by Philippa Gregory

          I could not put this book down! It was truly amazing! I had never heard so much about Mary Boleyn until now and I have to say that DEFINITELY did not have it easy. This book takes place when Henry the Eighth is ruling England. At the time, Henry is currently married to his very first wife, Catherine Aragon, who originates from Spain. The Boleyn family thirsts for the power and triumph of the royal court. Question: Only how will they accomplsih this lofty goal? Answer: Playing the game by strategically using the young Boleyn girls as pawns to climb higher into the rafters of society. Result: Anne Boleyn dances Henry on a string like a dog, eventually marries him out of ambition for power, and is beheaded three years later for withcraft towards the king. Mary Boleyn defies the king, whom she once loved deeply, and her family, marries for true love, and becomes housewife and mother in the sprawling country of England. Which girl do you think is truly happy?




          The Consequences & Triumphs of Ambition


  • Anne Boleyn is a young woman of HIGHLY lofty objectives. Not only does she believe that she can play the king right into the palms of her hands, but also she expects him to marry her. Quite honestly, I'm still not sure how she did it, but she definitely succeeded. However, was it really worth it? In the book, (which is told from Mary's point of view) Anne is desrcibed as depressed, weak, sickly, and exhausted from all of her "games" with the king. What kind of life does that sound like? Not only did the king select her sister Mary as a mistress before her, but she is attempting what no other woman has ever even dreamed about. In the end, even though she manages to marry the king, Anne falls long and hard with failure after failure to produce a male heir to the throne of England. Eventually, Henry tires of Anne's mind games and beheads her on the grounds of incest with her brother and witchcraft.


  • Mary Boleyn comes to court as a young girl of twelve, married to a lord, William Carey. Not only is Mary naive and docile, she feels overshadowed by her powerful and charismic sister, Anne, who has been educated in cultured France. As she grows up at court, learning her place as one of Queen Catherine's ladies-in-waiting. A few years pass by and Mary catches the eye of the king himself. Mary, very insecure and awkward, seeks Anne's help. Anne attempts to teach Mary how to play a man and drive him insane, but Mary's docile mentality keeps her from being so cold. Eventually, Mary becomes the king's mistress and bears two of his children, Catherine and Henry. Meanwhile, Anne catches the king's eye with her quick wit and flashing dark eyes. Mary no longer feels love for Henry and does not care if Anne has him. Mary only wishes to be with her children, who the king has sent away to small manor in the country. Mary falls in love with a lowly man, William Stratford who is a mere lord, but nothing can keep them apart. Mary begs Anne to let her go and be with her children. Anne reluctantly accepts and Mary goes to visit her children. While Mary is in the country, she marries William. While Anne finally marries the king, Mary is called back to court and is forced to abandon her children and her new husband. Mary stays by Anne's side until Anne is beheaded. After Anne's death, Mary, William, and their children live a long happy life in the country together.



So both Boleyn girls strived for very different dreams. Both were mistresses of the king. Only one of them was truly in love with him at one point. One played him for power. One became the king's wife and the Queen of England. One became a wife of a lowly lord. Only one of them became truly happy. Which one? That's depends on your own perspective.





ALICIA: My Story

by Alicia Appleman-Jurman 


"First they killed my brother Moshe...


Then they killed my father...


Then they killed my brother Bunio...


Then they killed my brother Zachary...


Then they killed my last brother, Herzl.


Only my mother and I were left. I vowed that I would never let them kill her, that I would protect my mother from the Nazis and their collaborators for as long as I lived. Love and hate were what motivated my young mind and heart. Love for my dear, gentle mother--and hate for the cruel murderers.


And this is my story."


Alicia Appleman-Jurman


     There are three words that describes this entire memior: heartbreaking, but uplifting. Alicia Appleman-Jurman tells the story of the Holocaust through her eyes and experience. The story begins in the year 1939. Living in Buczacz, Poland, the German army invades her country when Alicia is only 9 years old. Alicia's family consisted of her mother, father, and four brothers. When German and Russia divided Poland between them, Buczacz became under Russian control. Alicia's family is torn apart by the Nazis and Poland is seperated and divided. Sheer willpower and hope kept Alicia, and countless other Jewish people, fighting, rebelling, and living throughout the war. Through the book, Alicia accounts her experiences from the Jewish ghetto in Buczacz to the Polish countryside. Her true character of unshaken faith and hope makes Alicia an example not only to people who are discriminated against, but to all people. Alicia shows the world what it takes to survive. Alicia endured one of the worst genocides in history and survived. This is her story.



     Alicia's brother, Moshe, made the decision to recieve education at Leningrad in Russia. A few months after leaving, Moshe's letters to his family became more distant and cold. Alicia and her family were becoming increasingly worried about Moshe. He didn't sound anything like himself. A few weeks later, Moshe showed up at his family's door, frightened and haggard. The "school" in Leningrad wasn't actually a school, but a labor camp. The boys at the school were forced to work long labor hours in terrible condition. Moshe just barely escaped. However, about a week later, the Russian authorities found Moshe and imprisoned him. They were afraid of him spreading the truth about Russia's poor conditions. While in prison, Moshe died during hard labor. He was the first one of the Jurman's to die under the German and Russian power. -

     "Moshe's death meant more than the loss of a son--it also made my parents realize that their lives were not their own to control, that they no longer had the power to protect their children. We had found out, as had many others, what life under Russian occupation could really mean." - Pg 15



     Next came Alicia's father. The German's made it a law that all Jewish men were to go to a central meeting place and "register". However, no one was ever informed on what they were registering for. The reailty was that all 600 Jewish men that went to register were taken to a large field called the Fador and shot by firing squads. However, the German's claimed that the men were being held for ransom. This claim resulted in numerous families, including Alicia's, to sell all their precious and valuable items for the ransom. It was a trick on the German's part to bankrupt the Jews and tear them down morally.

     "My mother had given away all her remaining jewelry and money to ransom my father, leaving us with no means of support." - Pg 21



     After losing her father, Alicia and her family were forced to move away from their home and were relocated in a specific area in Buczacz that the German soldiers had created called the ghetto. The ghetto was intended to keep the Jews trapped. This way the German's could keep track of them more easily. All the Jews were stripped of their privileges. They were banned from even stepping into the synagogue. Any person who was caught would be killed immediately. They were forced to wear the Star of David on arm bands. They were banned from entering the market place. If any Jews were discovered in the market, they would be shot on the spot. Children were no longer allowed to go to school. It was a horrible and terrifying times for the Jewish people.


What Alicia Lost:

  • Father
  • Moshe (brother)
  • Bunio (brother)
  • Zachary (brother)
  • Herzl (brother)
  • Mother
  • Health 
  • Home 


What Alicia Gained:

  • Courage
  • Bravery
  • Hate 
  • Wit
  • Humanity 
  • Resourcefullness
  • Intelligence
  • Revenge 
  • Pride
  • Recognition 
  • A sense of the world
  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Power of love 



     It is incredible to me that Alicia had the strength and courage to continue on in the horrible situation that she was in. Honestly, I don't think I could have made it through the Holocaust alive at twenty. Alicia made it through the Holocaust alive at thirteen! It's so amazing that she was intelligent and resourceful enough to survive the German's discrimination and rath. I know that I couldn't have managed to survive everything that she endured. She lost her entire family. I can't even imagine losing my sister, even if we don't get along at all. She lost her health. It's hard for me to comprehend never having the promise of food for the next week, let alone the next day. She lost her home. I love my home so much that I can't even bear thinking of someone barging into my house and kidnapping me. It's too painful for me to even consider. However, even though Alicia lost all of these things, she never gave up and she held onto her hope and faith. From all of her losses, she gained so much. For example, when Alicia saw the way the German's treated her fellow Jews, Alicia realized that not all people are good. She learns from her experiences in the concentration camps and interaction with the German's that not all people view the world in the same way. Alicia begins to understand that the German's aren't just carrying out orders by murdering Jews and other minorities. She realizes that they literally hate the Jews and truly believe they are lower than scum and deserve to be treated as such. This experience gives Alicia the understanding that the world is a cruel place and the people in it aren't much better. 

     I believe that the main lesson Alicia learns from the Holocaust is the power of faith, love, and hope. She sees so many different people still have faith in life and hope in a better future, that she adapts the same thoughts. This is the sole reason why Alicia never, ever gives up on herself or the people around her. She claims that "love and hate were what motivated my young mind...". 

So, not only was it love that pushed Alicia through the Holocaust, but it was hate for the Germans as well. 

     Alicia is a shining example to all people in the world today and I think that the quote from Gabriel Appleman, her husband, that is shown below describes Alicia and her journey perfectly.

Quote by Gabriel Appleman:

     "Above all, Alicia has described a young girl who faced a terrifying and violent world and manged to retain her faith in humanity, in God, and in her people." 


SONGS LYRICS - Reflections on Alicia


"Like we used too..." - A Rocket to the Moon, "Like We Used Too"


"Just a small town girl...Living in a lonely world!" - Journey, "Don't Stop Believing"


"But baby, it's the price we pay. To get the things we wanted and get the things we've left behind..." - A Rocket to the Moon, "Baby, We're Invincible"


"In a world that's starting to fade, a little love could pave the way. Don't keep it tied with a simple lock. You think it's ordinary, but it's not..." - Edwin McCain, "Shooting Stars"


"It ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about whats waiting on the other side...It's the climb..." - Miley Cyrus, "The Climb"

All of these songs represent or reflect Alicia in some way shape or form. A chapter of Alicia's life was horrible and terribel one, but she made it to the other side and remembered the climb to get there. I think Alicia's climb is what she should be remembered for, not making it to the other side.



ALICIA'S STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE.........NEED I SAY MORE?????????????????????????????




Comments (18)

Adriana said

at 8:29 am on Oct 5, 2009

Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooovely Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooones!!!

Allia said

at 8:31 am on Oct 5, 2009

Are you sure about that Adriana?? I'm stil not sure...

Brooke said

at 8:33 am on Oct 5, 2009

Use iny mini miny moe

Allia said

at 8:34 am on Oct 5, 2009

It's not enough!

Coe said

at 8:44 am on Oct 6, 2009

Which one is easier to do a project on?

Allia said

at 8:46 am on Oct 6, 2009

Probably The Pact....that's probably which one I will end up using.

Lorena said

at 8:46 am on Oct 6, 2009

The Lovely Bones is an amazing book. I loved it! What's Lucky about?

Coe said

at 8:48 am on Oct 6, 2009

oh yeah what are they about?

Allia said

at 8:48 am on Oct 6, 2009

Lucky is Alice Sebold's autobiography about how she was raped and that was she considered "lucky" to survive. I liked it...but I didn't like it nearly as much as The Lovely Bones.

Allia said

at 8:49 am on Oct 6, 2009

I'm not sure what I want to do for a project yet Bonn.....i haven't thought about it in depth yet.

paul bonnell said

at 6:12 pm on Oct 18, 2009

I liked what you said about _The Pact_ in class--the bit about people feeling trapped in their decisions or something. Weren't we discussing redemption or some similar idea?

Rita said

at 9:08 am on Oct 19, 2009

I read The Pact too and I loved it. I could not put it down from start to finish. I thought that it got really intense with certain themes of loss and secrets. What did you think of it?

Allia said

at 10:59 am on Oct 19, 2009

Bonn - I think we were talking about redemption with Reid's book I believe. I'm not positive though. I think we got on the topic about making decisions according to what we are feeling and how we respond to the other people around us.

paul bonnell said

at 10:42 am on Dec 18, 2009

Your last comment actually relates quite well to your thoughts about _The Secret Life of Bees_. Lily struggles to figure how to make her own choices and decisions. The pressures of society and history are enormous and overwhelming. How does one find her way in life?

Allia said

at 8:48 pm on Dec 30, 2009

Bonn -- I believe that society and history have a huge impact on the decisions that a person makes in his or her life, especially nowadays. Society has such a huge grasp on the young people in today's world that is it scary what can happen to teenagers transforming into adults. In the book, I think Lily follows her heart instinct with what is right and wrong and defies society's beliefs, instead of succumbing to them.

Allia said

at 9:04 pm on Dec 30, 2009

Rita -- I totally understand what you mean about The Pact. I got so intriguied with the way she wove everything and every character into very specific, detailed, and important themes. It was a very good book.

paul bonnell said

at 12:26 am on Mar 28, 2010

Yes--you're truly making the wiki a forum for reflection and discussion. In this case, it's with a book that crosses over to history class as well. Good work!

paul bonnell said

at 12:27 am on Mar 28, 2010

What about some visuals to link to the Alicia's story?

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