Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Have you ever thought about the future- what you plan to be and how you plan to get there? Well, unfortunately, this book puts a sad twist to the future and paints it in a gloomy way.

Willy Loman, your typical, average man, is down on his luck. He isn’t getting enough salary even though he has been with his company for 35 years, despite his brother in law being in a different company for the same length of time, and somehow is so much richer than him. While his son hates him, Willy sometimes blames it on his son’s laziness, and the other times the fact that his son is working too hard and doesn’t know what he wants.

So what does he do? Well, he’s a traveling salesman, so he sells the only thing he has left. Guess.

There are a couple of things to note about this novel. First, it’s a play, so the dialogue is easy to stand out, and one can know who’s talking. And thankfully, unlike Shakespeare’s plays, this play is only two acts long, which was just over a hundred pages in the copy I had, so it was easy to read.

Second, the theme. I won’t even talk about the fact that the author considers the American Dream fading, or even his interpretation of capitalism. No, I will instead talk about the other characters. Willy’s wife, Linda Loman, is down on her luck too, as although she gives Willy everything, including her undying loyalty no matter what he does, he still treats her without love. The son that hates Willy, Biff, is just a man like us teenagers (except he’s 34) that tries to talk to Willy, but gives up because Willy wouldn’t listen to him. And Willy’s second son, who is often forgotten about by Willy, has to face abandonment issues not only from his father, but from his mother too, in which not even him saying that he was getting married made them happy.

Overall, Miller claims that we all know a Willy Loman, and although his story ends in tragedy, it does not have to be this way for us.

-Megan V, 12th grade

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Image result for city of emberLina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow live in the city of Ember.  A city underground, but they can still live normally as a human. Lina lives with her grandmother and her little sister Poppy, and Doon lives with his father, who is an inventor.

But political corruption seems to enshroud the city of ember by inserting a rapacious mayor in them. He was a fat guy who stored all the delicious food such as canned peaches, meat, and sweets. While his citizens only eat squash and vegetable soup. Corns could be a very luxury type of food and can be eaten only during festivals.

I thought that this book has such an amazing setting and the adventure that Lina and Doon planned to save their city of very exhilarating to me. I cried so much when Lina’s grandma passed away, that means all the burdens are on Lina’s shoulder. And that also makes me glad for living above the ground in a cozy house with my family.

-April L

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

Image result for the outsiders bookIf you can visit Oklahoma back in the 1980s, you might have seen the gangs called the Greasers and the Social. Greasers, earn their name from the grease used to style their hair–enough to supply you to cook with for about two days. Life is unfair? No, it’s just too far to the Social, for their parents feed them money every day so that they are too full to stand up, walk to the fridge and grab a piece of bread to eat as lunch.

Ponyboy Curtis, whose parents died when he was little, lives with his two older brothers, Sodapop and Darry. One day, after going through a drastic fight with his brother, he ran away to the park with his friend Johnny. After witnessing the frantic Johnny killing a Social member, a rival gang, Ponyboy realized that life is going to smash him as hard as it can on the face.

I was very intrigued by this book that I couldn’t put it down for a second. But it’s absolutely incredulous to imagine teenagers killing somebody but still survive after all these streaks of dangerous events. But if it’s me, I’d rather behave well and listen to my older brothers because they are my only family members and I know that they love me so much like my parents.

-April L.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard

thattimeijoinedthecircu_jjhowardThat Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard is about Lexi Ryan, a native New Yorker, forced to look for her mother after a tragic accident took the life of her father. Tracking her mother down to a circus in the middle of Florida, Lexi leaves New York on a one-way bus ticket to the location of the circus. Arriving at the circus, she soon finds out that her mother is not there. Despite her mother’s absence, Lexi finds a home for herself, and people who are willing to accept her and take her in. Settling and enjoying her time at the circus, Lexi’s world is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Eli from New York, shows up at the circus. This debut of a book has humor, wisdom, and a great narrator.  

I have had this book for years now, and it is one of the novels on my shelf that I read over and over again. Despite reading it so many times, I am still intrigued by the storyline and the characters. Admiring how Lexi was able to overcome her various obstacles, I thoroughly enjoyed her character. As for the plotline, I did not really enjoy the fact that it jumped back and forth  from Lexi’s life before her Father’s death to her time spent at the circus. I enjoyed thoroughly the familial aspect among Lexi and the people of the circus; especially, Lexi’s friendship with the daughters of the ringleader was sweet.  Despite its title, there are many other elements to this amazing book besides the circus. I would recommend this book for those looking for a contemporary circus story.

-Anmol K.