Against Happiness PDF Summary

Against Happiness PDF

In Praise of Melancholy

“Don’t worry, be happy…”

Or should you?

Happiness is the ultimate dream on this planet, but as we will see below, chasing for happiness, while running away from its polar opposite, can destroy us.

Who Should Read “Against Happiness”? And Why?

“Against Happiness” is a controversial book, in the context that it ‘glorifies’ melancholy as the source of creativity, and criticizes people for wanting to be constantly happy, even stating that such endeavors might destroy this world.

We recommend it to self-help buffs and all those who feel intrigued by this subject.

About Eric G. Wilson

Eric G. WilsonEric G. Wilson has penned numerous books on the topic of literary psychology and is currently teaching English at Wake Forest University.

“Against Happiness PDF Summary”

There are some names that we all know because of their work that stood the test against time. Literary and musical legends are still inspiring generations years after their death.

There are many things different about all of these people and many other things that connect them.

And, believe it or not, melancholy is one of the characteristics they shared.

Yes, they were depressed!

Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Napoleon Bonaparte et cetera, all belonged to this group of people.

Actors like Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, and one of our contemporaries Jim Carrey are part of the “crew” as well.

Melancholia, if we imagine it as a building, would be inhabited by one of this world’s most brilliant people: from artists to politicians, to scientists.

Why are we telling you this? Why has the author made an effort to tell you this?

Well, because melancholia is usually connected to bad feelings and destructiveness, and the reality is quite the opposite.

In fact, melancholia can trigger creativity and can be a source of inspiration for many individuals.

Even when asked, some composers or singers claim that their best work resulted from the worst period of their lives.

Accepting the dark part of yourself and reshaping them into something beautiful is a noble act.

In this context, we must mention Virginia Woolf who has openly claimed that darkness when it comes to her feelings and mood is what has inspired to write her best stories. According to her, these states made her face the “assault of truth.”

But how can such mental darkness and depression result in something so light and beautiful?

Well, the answer may be hiding somewhere in the connection between polarities.

Carl Yung believed that many of the things that seem opposite are actually just manifestations of the same principle – the unconscious.

He stated that the unconscious consists of linked oppositions such as sadness and joy, darkness and light etc.

He went even further, connecting melancholy to understanding and mental health.

Melancholia is shaping people’s ability to open their eyes to the beauty and make a distinction between something that looks pretty and something that is truly beautiful.

What is the difference, you ask?

It is simple. Pretty things seem made, artificial, and very much alike.

Beautiful things, on the other hand, breathe friends and wilderness.

But if melancholia is good for you, then why do people feel aversion toward sadness?

In most parts, it is because of the ever-present fear of death.

Melancholy makes you face the fact that everything in this world, including yourself, is temporary. Everything will one day disappear.

To be able to live freely, you have to stop running away from death, and instead directly confront it and explore it.

It seems that people in the Middle Ages were more in touch with this part of themselves since it was common then to decorate the houses with skulls and skeletons, in order for those that lived there to be constantly in touch with the thought of the inescapability of death.

When you embrace these unchanging facts about the life, you can look deeper into the meaning of your existence and the existence of all things.

Being a melancholic will keep you constantly curious, questioning the world, and therefore the chances of creativity and invention are much higher.

Although there are many benefits of adopting such mentality, people do not see melancholy as beneficial – instead, they just want to be happy.

Isn’t it strange that people just feed themselves with antidepressants at even the slightest feeling of uneasiness?

Just take a look at the statistics about people that have their own therapists – the numbers are humongous.

Does that mean that the whole world is depressed?

It certainly does not. But not accepting the occasional blues also means that the world passes on the opportunity to become more creative.

Key Lessons from “Against Happiness”

1.      Sadness is Healthy
2.      Destroying Melancholia Is Dangerous
3.      Do Not Immediately Reach Out For Help

Sadness is Healthy

We repeated many times throughout the text, and we will do it again: sadness is healthy. We are not talking about clinical depression here, but it is very artificial to try to be constantly happy.

We all have moments when we feel down, and when such moments come, instead of running away from them, we need to learn how to channel them the right way.

Destroying Melancholia Is Dangerous

The link between creativity and melancholia is confirmed. So, if the world continues fighting against the feeling and trying to get rid of it, it will also get rid of progress and the possibility of breakthrough innovations and beautiful art.

Do Not Immediately Reach Out For Help

Every time you feel uneasy or mental anguish, you should not immediately reach for antidepressants or a therapist’s help. Instead, you should learn to live with such feelings, as they might give you the chance to reflect.

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“Against Happiness Quotes”

Creating doesn’t make us unhappy; unhappiness makes us creative. Click To Tweet Melancholy shows us that our demons – the dark parts of our hearts, our agitations and our loathings, our cynicism and our acerbities – are integral parts of ourselves. Click To Tweet Some of our most sacred institutions have become happiness schools. Click To Tweet American happy types are hopelessly frustrated because they’re trying desperately for security in an insecure world. Click To Tweet Sadness reconciles us to realities. It throws us into the flow of life. It puts us on the brisk edge of experience. It makes the heart beat hard, throbbing between faith and doubt. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Against Happiness” is not your typical self-help book.

It offers a different look, a new perspective on one of the most avoided feelings in the world: melancholy.

After reading it, I felt more at ease with myself and started embracing those blue moments, instead of fearing them, and feeling uncomfortable when they came by.

So, I guess, when it comes to me, the book served its purpose. Now it is your turn to try it.

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The Autobiography of Gucci Mane PDF Summary

The Autobiography of Gucci Mane PDFDo you know Gucci Mane?

He is a rapper who went through it all: murder charges, drugs, and worldwide fame.

If you want to see how it all looks from the inside, read on.

Who Should Read “The Autobiography of Gucci Mane”? And Why?

“The Autobiography of Gucci Mane” is just what it says it is: a timeline of the rappers life from being a con-artist’s kid, to drug dealing, drug use, murder, stardom, and all the troubles he experienced in between.

We recommend it to all rap enthusiasts and Gucci Mane fans.

About Gucci Mane and Neil Martinez – Belkin

Gucci ManeGucci Mane is an American rapper, who, since his debut in 2005, has released 12 studio albums and 70 mixtapes.

Neil Martinez – Belkin was the editor of Gucci Mane’s memoir.

“The Autobiography of Gucci Mane PDF Summary”

Gucci Mane had a situation gone bad.

One day, in 2005, he visited a woman in her house, when a group of men entered and interrupted them.

In the quarrel, Gucci shot one of those guys named Henry Lee Clark III. When he was questioned, he pleaded that it was self-defense and the charges were dropped.

However, this event, no matter how wrong it was, actually helped him build his career, as he became a legend.

People started rapping about killing and getting away with it. It was more precisely Rick Ross that said that he always thought about him when he sang that.

Gucci’s birth name is Radric Davis, and he spent his childhood in Alabama and Atlanta.

His father was not always present, but he was sometimes there, enough of him to see that he was the original Gucci Mane, who had a fashion sense and love for designer clothes.

In fact, his father inherited it from Gucci’s grandfather, whose character and preferences were shaped in Italy when he was in the military.

That is why they called themselves “mane,” it stands for “man” in Alabamian.

Gucci’s father was not only a lover of high fashion but a lover of crime as well.

He was a con artist that had different schemes he was using.

Gucci says that he owes his understanding of people to his father, since while he was teaching him all those tricks he knew, he was actually teaching him how to read people by their body language, and then use that information to get something.

While he was a teenager, Gucci started robbing places and selling drugs to make money, and having a tough body image was crucial in this line of work.

He had a friend whose brother wanted to rap, and therefore they were all in touch with Zaytoven, a producer with whom he kept contact even after the kid moved on.

With him, he made his debut on “Str8 Drop Records Presents Gucci Mane La Flare” in 2001.

That is when Young Jeezy (another rap legend) heard about Gucci – he liked the song.

But, it all came at a price: as he began rising in the world of stars, his image weakened.

He was now under the close examination of the public eye, and being a drug addict did not exactly help him.

Then the incident happened.

The year after the incident, he recorded a song while being under the influence, which made him look like a hard drug user.

He did not want to release the song, but it was nevertheless released without his knowledge (if we believe his claims) and became a hit quite quickly.

But years later, someone decided to make new memes out of it connecting it to his crime.

Drugs were a problem for Gucci for the most of his life, but it is a fact that he does not hide.

After the murder charges were dropped in the following years, he was charged with several lesser crimes, like parole-violating D.U.I.

Soon after he was let out, he recorded a track to celebrate the occasion named “First Day Out” in which he openly talks about cough syrup and weed.

A few months later, he published his album, which was well received by both the public and the critics, but it all went down when he failed a drug test, and had to go to rehab.

He could not be there for his success, and it hurt him since he put a lot of effort into creating the album.

Things kept happening for Gucci: in 2010 one song leaked, and people did not actually enjoy it. Gucci was exploring new ways of making music, new sounds, beginning working with other producers except those he usually worked with, but critics believed that he had started following the trends and sold out.

When he was asked about it in public, he seemed okay.

However, soon after, he gave up on his next album, and fled to Miami with a bag full of cash to spend on women and drugs.

Then, he was arrested again and sent to the mental facility.

He realizes now that he was sabotaging himself since he was tired of it all – of all the care about his image and career.

We finish our story here: for more details and to find out the ending (for now) of Gucci’s story, pick up his autobiography and take a peek.

Key Lessons from “The Autobiography of Gucci Mane

1.      Keep Working On Your Dream, No Matter the Circumstances
2.      Everything You Go Through Is A Lesson
3.      Do the Work

Keep Working On Your Dream, No Matter the Circumstances

As you can see from our short summary above, as well as in the book, Gucci went through many hard times, but still kept making music and following his dream.

Circumstances change, so you must not give up.

Everything You Go Through Is A Lesson

Gucci’s life was filled with vices and unfortunate events, but still, all of those things made him the man he is today.

Embrace your mistakes, and if you want to change in the future, then take action.

Do the Work

There is one part of the autobiography, where Gucci explains how when he released the new album he went to strip clubs personally so that they could play the music.

Doing the work yourself is necessary.

Success does not come by itself – you need to put some effort into it.

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“The Autobiography of Gucci Mane Quotes”

I remembered that as low as my lows had gotten, I always had faith in myself. That I always knew if I could get past those temporary moments, eventually I’d be up again. Click To Tweet My father used to say that if you keep looking back you’re going to trip going forward. That in life, sometimes you reach a fork in the road and you have to make a decision. Click To Tweet I learned a lot watching James Franco do his thing. The whole way he approached his character was super impressive. He was all in, fully immersed as Alien. He played the hell out of that role. He knew his craft like I knew the rap game. Click To Tweet It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time for wounds to heal. Click To Tweet A slave ship of the skies. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

I personally do not like biographies, but this one kept my attention.

I was curious to see how a person who just gets from one bad thing to another, weighted by fame, can get away from it.

Another thing I like was the voice – it felt real and raw and invited me to keep reading.

If you would like to get immersed in a world as you would probably never see otherwise, this book is the right pick.

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Freak the Mighty PDF Summary

Freak the Mighty PDFFriendship is a wonderful thing – it connects you to people no matter your similarities and differences.

But how can two completely different people be friends?

“Freak the Mighty” explores this question.

Who Should Read “Freak the Mighty”? And Why?

“Freak the Mighty” is a story about a boy who befriends another physically handicapped, but very smart boy. It is a tear-jerking story about friendship and growing up, and blending differences by forming a beautiful connection with another person.

This book is intense and real, and funny at the same time.

There is no reader who would not like a good heartwarming friendship story – so we recommend it to all of you that came by this article.

Rodman Philbrick Biography

Rodman PhilbrickRodman Philbrick is an American writer who was mainly writing detective novels, until the day a boy living in the next block inspired him to write “Freak the Mighty”.

The become has become a worldwide phenomenon and has been adapted for the screen as well.

Plot

Maxwell Kane is a boy living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (a literary version of it), along with his grandparents Grim and Gram.

He has incredibly low self-esteem, mostly because he looks very much like his father, or at least that is what people say, who has been convicted of murder.

The first lines and pages of the story are filled with Max’s reminiscences about the past, especially about the moments while he was in daycare and made the acquaintance of a boy named Kevin.

This boy recalls a situation with one of his classmates nicknamed Freak.

They chose such name because he had Morhuio syndrome and has to use crutches in order to support himself since he wears leg braces.

Other people bully him because he is quite short, but Max actually likes his braces and crutches. Kevin, on the other hand, decides to turn his condition in fantasy and thinks of himself as a robot.

Years pass and Max grows up, and he loses touch with Freak.

But then, one day, while he is in middle school, he finds out that Freak and his mother are going to be his next-door neighbors.

Max approaches Freak, but at first, he colds his distance, and is even aggressive towards him.

However, after Max helps him save one toy that is stuck in a tree, he starts to trust him, and they become friends.

On the Independence day, they go together to watch the fireworks. There, they stumbled upon one boy named Tony “Blade” D that moves along with his gang, who attack them.

However, they wish to avoid any kind of conflict, so they try to escape. In order for them to be able to outrun the gang that is chasing them, Freak gets on Max’s shoulders. Then, a police car notices them and takes them back to their houses.

After that day, Freak gets on Max’s shoulders regularly and moves like that. They create a name for themselves: Freak the Mighty and go on different adventures together.

During one of those adventures, they found a lost woman’s purse and return it to her.

Her name is Loretta Lee and is the spouse of the leader of a motorcycle gang Iggy Lee. This motorcycle gang called the Panheads is fearsome for everyone, the cops included.

The Lees talk to the boys, and they reveal that they knew Max’s father and that Kevin’s father was also a part of the gang, but left once he found out about his son’s birth defect.

Later on, Max’s grandfather tells him that his father has been released on parole. This news brings unrest in the family – in fact, Max’s grandparents are afraid that their grandchild will grow up like him.

As the story develops we find out that Max’s father strangled his mother to death and that is why they are all afraid of him. His grandfather wants to buy a gun to protect the family because he believes that the parole will bring them unease and problems.

These fears become real when Max’s father shows up on Christmas Eve and kidnaps Max to be his assistant, taking him to Iggy Lee.

He swears to Max that he did not kill his mother, but he is very intimidating not only to Max but everyone else as well. On Christmas morning he ties Max up in an abandoned apartment, and he leaves him alone.

That is when Loretta feels sorry for the boy, and shocked that someone would do that to his own son, he helps Max escape.

However, this is only a try since Max’s father arrives while she is untying him, and tries to strangle her.

Max tells him that he had once witnessed him killing his mother the same way. So, his father gets angry and gives up trying to make him his assistant and decides that it would be better for him just to kill him.

He tries to strangle him, but at the right moment Freak arrives and squirts Kane with a squirt gun filled with curry, vinegar, and soap (but everyone thinks it is sulfuric acid).

The police are already waiting on the scene, and Max’s father is taken back to prison where his sentence is prolonged.

He pleads guilty.

Freak the Mighty Epilogue

Freak has a seizure on his birthday, and he is given to the hospital.

Before he is taken in, he gives Max a blank notebook which he asks him to fill up with the story of Freak the Mighty.

Max returns the next day, only to learn that he passed away.

The reason?

His heart was too big for his tiny body.

It seems that he knew about his destiny, but he never told his friend since he wanted him to have hope.

Max feels depressed for days and refuses to leave the comfort of his room.

But then, he realizes that doing nothing is the worst he could do, so he fills up the blank book as he was asked to, to honor his best friend.

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“Freak the Mighty PDF Quotes”

Books are like truth serum-- if you don't read, you can't figure out what's real. Click To Tweet Pain is just a state of mind. You can think your way out of everything, even pain. Click To Tweet Sure it will hurt. But so what? Pain is just a state of mind. You can think your way out of anything, even pain. Click To Tweet Remembering is a great invention of the mind. Click To Tweet His heart was simply too big for his body. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This was such a heartwarming experience!

“Freak the Mighty” is a book like I have not read in a long time.

I loved every bit of it. And so will you, if you give it a chance.

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Business Strategy PDF Summary

Business Strategy PDFWhat differentiates successful leaders and companies from unsuccessful ones?

What is the road you need to take in order to achieve all you strive for?

Today, we will try to give you the answer.

Who Should Read “Business Strategy”? And Why?

“Business Strategy” is a book about, just as the title states, business strategy, its importance, the components that it consists of, and how companies can become better at strategizing and therefore reaching more of their goals.

Tracy has an interesting approach, as he uses the historical example of the Macedonian king Alexander the great to illustrate his points.

We recommend it to all managers, leaders, as well as corporate strategists.

About Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBrian Tracy is a writer, a speaker and a consultant with vast experience in business, economics, and psychology.

He is one of the world’s top sales trainers, with over half a million salespeople in over 500 companies having learned his techniques.

He has authored 26 books and has produced over 300 audio and video programs. His works have been sold in over 38 countries and translated into more than 20 languages.

“Business Strategy PDF Summary”

Let’s start with some history.

Alexander the Great, was a king of Macedon, which was an ancient kingdom that was situated in modern-day’s northern part of Greece.

He was given the name “the Great” because he was a great strategist and used his power of judgment to create a vast kingdom for his people.

He became a king rather young when he was twenty years old, and he immediately decided to reorganize the army, appointing generals who were loyal and trustworthy, since he heard some rumors that rebels are trying to assassinate him.

By the age of 21, no one could doubt his rule.

He decided to conquer the world and introduce his culture to them. Those that did not oppose his plans and governance from the countries he conquered were allowed to keep their positions, as long as they paid annual taxes to the kingdom.

He also allowed soldiers from other countries to join the army, if they wish to do so, in order to catch booty.

There were many fights Alexander won by employing his strategic tactics, and not by just brute force.

Many times he was unnumbered, but that did not stop him from winning.

Strategizing means that you plant an image of a future desired position in your mind, and then work backward from there to understand what you need in order to achieve it in reality.

All of the strategic principles Alexander used to strengthen his power and expand his rule can even be applied today in modern environments and situations.

Just think of organizations as armies that go in battle. If they fail to do right in just one step of the strategy, they risk being defeated.

So, what are the principles that companies should follow in order to win every battle they face?

There are seven of them.

First is “the principle of the objective” that revolves around the importance of a business having a clear direction and goal in mind. For your employees’ efforts to be directed the right way, they need to know the result they are striving for.

Next is “the principle of the offensive,” which states that you have to be ‘offensive’ with the market, offering new products and services that will satisfy customers’ needs better than your competitors do.

Furthermore “the principle of the mass” means that you have to mass your forces in one niche. If you are not still a leader in your niche market, do not your energy on expansion – instead invest it in becoming better in the territory you currently operate.

“The principle of maneuver,” asks you to be flexible to move in all directions in the market if such a need occurs.

Then, “the principle of concerted action” is all about teamwork. In order to succeed, you need to be able to create an atmosphere where people work as a team, and where they see their coworkers as sort of an ‘extension’ of their abilities.

“The principle of surprise” will allow you to keep your competitors on their toes, and you can accomplish it by trying always to find novel ways to do things.

Lastly, “the principle of exploitation” explains to you the importance of staying on the offensive, so that your competitors will not be able to catch up. Just exploit your advantages and keep striving for more, keep moving forward.

Key Lessons from “Business Strategy

1.      The Five Strategic Questions
2.      Four Strategic Planning Principles
3.      Five Phases For Building and Implementing A Strategy

The Five Strategic Questions

You can ask yourself five strategic questions that can help you get the answers you need about how you can become better at what you do.

First, ask yourself about your current situation. Then, retrace the steps of how you got to where you are.

Third, think about the place you want to be in the future, your goals.

Then, asks yourself what you should do to get there. And finally, ask what kind of assets you will need to help you with your endeavor.

Four Strategic Planning Principles

There are four strategic planning principles. First focus on what you do the best of all, which is the principle of “specialization.”

Then you need to separate and differentiate your products from those of your competitors that embodies the principle of “differentiation.”

Furthermore, you need to create a good target group that you would focus on which is known as “segmentation.” And lastly, use your resources for the area in which you can reap the most benefits, known as “concentration.”

Five Phases For Building and Implementing A Strategy

  • “Strategic intelligence gathering and analysis.”
  • “Strategy formulation.”
  • “Strategy master-project planning.”
  • “Strategic implementation.”
  • Monitor your strategy

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Business Strategy Quotes”

Peter Drucker once said that, even when a business is starting out at a kitchen table, if the business does not dream of world leadership, it will never be a big success. Click To Tweet The most successful men and women in the world seem to be those whose values are clear to them. They refuse to compromise them for any short-term gain or advantage. Click To Tweet Strategic planning is not only about what you need to start doing… It’s also about what you need to stop doing. Click To Tweet Become brilliant on the basics of strategic planning by continuing to ask and answer the right questions. Click To Tweet Embed the strategy in the company. This means that most of your employees fully understand, accept and support the strategy. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Just like all other of Tracy’s books (and we have covered a lot of them so far), this one is quite comprehensive and helpful.

It is filled with actionable and useful advice, which, according to me, is the most significant aspect of business books.

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The Divine Comedy PDF Summary

The Divine Comedy PDF SummaryIn case you didn’t know till now, Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece “The Divine Comedy” is not called “Divine” because it’s about deities; it’s called “divine” because it’s, simply, that good.

So, we guess you wouldn’t mind having a walk with us through it, would you?

Who Should Read “The Divine Comedy”? And Why?

For years now, whenever there has been a debate on who the greatest basketball player in history is, two names tend to appear and reappear: Michael and Kobe.

In soccer, it’s between Maradona and Pele, or, more recently, between Messi and Ronaldo.

In football – between Jim Brown and Jerry Rice, or, lately, between Payton and Brady.

Our point is – it always boils down to a couple of guys.

Well, in literature, those guys are Billy “The-I’m-Gonna-Kill-All-My-Characters-Bard” Shakespeare and Dante “The-Afterlife-Tourist” Alighieri.

T. S. Eliot states this explicitly: “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them. There is no third.”

So, there’s no LeBron in this debate.

Do we need to say anything more?

By analogy, not reading “The Divine Comedy” is the same as never having seen a layup by Jordan or a touchdown pass by Brady.

Is that the life you want to live?

Dante Alighieri Biography

Dante AlighieriDante Alighieri was an Italian poet, widely considered the greatest in the Italian language, the foremost of the Middle Ages, and the most influential of the last millennium.

He was the first one who decided to use the Italian language to write poetry, and he did that so well that he singlehandedly founded the Italian literature.

He also invented the three-line rhyme scheme (terza rima) which he used to write “The Divine Comedy,” one of the greatest works in the history of literature, a feat so great that it’s basically unimaginable that someone will ever repeat it.

In Italy, Dante is known as The Supreme Poet.

Or, even simply, as The Poet.

Plot

The basic plot of “The Divine Comedy” is very simple.

On the night before Good Friday, the 35-year-old Dante loses himself in a dark wood, inhabited by vicious beasts (a lion, leopard, and a she-wolf), incapable of finding the right way or seeing the rays of the sun behind a mountain.

Just like for most of the book – not that covert symbolism, is it?

Translated into everyday terms: Dante is lost in a world of sins and can’t find the way out of it to salvation.

Enter Virgil, one of Rome’s greatest poets and – at least according to T. S. Eliot – the guy who wrote the emblematic book of the Western civilization (“Aeneid”).

Also, a pagan – so a strange choice for a leader by a Christian.

But, we’ll get to that later.

Anyway, Virgil takes Dante by the hand and walks him through the majesty of Hell.

Inferno, aka Hell

And Hell, should we bother saying, is not a nice place to be in.

But from Dante, we first learned that there are different levels to the unpleasantness of the experience.

More precisely – 9.

Before we move on to see who’s in each of them, we’ll leave you with the inscription above the Gates of Hell:

Through me the way is to the city dolent;
Through me the way is to eternal dole;
Through me the way among the people lost.

Justice incited my sublime Creator;
Created me divine Omnipotence,
The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.

Before me there were no created things,
Only eternal, and I eternal last.
All hope abandon, ye who enter in!

Apparently, in Hell, you need to understand well archaic iambic pentameters – or, in the original, hendecasyllabic terza rima verses – aka your worst nightmare in Literature class.

But isn’t that the point?

First Circle: Limbo

This was Dante’s way to justify before himself the fact that he liked to read the books of many guys who couldn’t have been Christian – you know, on account of being born before Jesus.

So, there’s one place in the Afterworld for all those virtuous and unbaptized pagans who didn’t even have a chance to become Christians in life.

Unfortunately, that place is the first circle of Hell.

Now, isn’t that great Plato, Homer, Cicero, Socrates and the rest of you?

Second Circle: Lust

If someone was overcome by lust in the upper world, he or she ends up here, in the second circle of hell.

And just like that person had once been swayed from the right path on earth by the strong winds of passion, he or she endures the exact same destiny after death.

Only, in this case, in a much more literal fashion.

Adulterers, Toby the Devil welcomes you in Hell!

Third Circle: Gluttony

The third circle is reserved for the gluttonous, i.e., the overeaters. Fittingly, watched over by Cerberus, they wallow in a putrid slush produced by everlasting icy rain, howling like dogs. So, it’s kind of like lying in your own fat, as primitive and animalistic as possible.

Fourth Circle: Greed

The greedy are divided into two groups – the hoarders and the squanderers. The first, miserly hoarded their possessions, the latter threw them away. These people joust with great weights (symbolizing their selfish greed) and are guarded by the ancient Greek god of wealth, Pluto.

Unsurprisingly, here Dante finds many familiar faces, cardinals, and popes mostly.

Fifth Circle: Anger

Nothing to see here: the angry are angry in Hell as well.

Those who were actively angry (the wrathful) are now fighting each other on Styx, and those who were passively angry on earth (the sullen) gurgle below the waters of the hellish river.

Sixth Circle: Heresy

Obviously, for God, the heretics are bigger sinners than the angry and the greedy because they don’t believe in him.

Their punishment?

Trapped in flaming tombs.

Seventh Circle: Violence

This circle is subdivided into three rings.

The first ring houses those who were violent against their neighbors, so a fitting place for Alexander the Great. These guys bathe in a Phlegethon, a river of fire and boiling blood.

The second ring is reserved for those who were violent against themselves, aka those who attempted to or successfully committed suicide. Here they are transformed into trees and eaten by harpies. And they thought that they would find salvation after death!

The final third ring is for those who were violent against God, Nature, and Art.

(Ha – you didn’t expect that, did you? Yes, by implication that means that destroying a painting of Picasso is worse than killing Picasso.

Not really – Dante is actually talking about usurers!)

It also means that God doesn’t like homosexuals because that’s what being violent against nature means in Dante’s eyes.

As for the blasphemers (violent against God) – may God have mercy on their soul!

Oh, wait a minute – we already know that:

He has absolutely none of it.

Eighth Circle: Fraud

This circle – called Malebolge – is divided into ten bolgias (picture it as a stony amphitheater).

And there are all kinds of bad people in each of them.

Bolgia 1: panderers and seducers.
Bolgia 2: flatterers.
Bolgia 3: Simoniacs.
Bolgia 4: Sorcerers and false prophets (so, presumably, this is where Gandalf is).
Bolgia 5: corrupt politicians, aka politicians.
Bolgia 6: hypocrites.
Bolgia 7: thieves.
Bolgia 8: counselors of fraud.
Bolgia 9: sowers of discord.
Bolgia 10: falsifiers (alchemists, imposters, perjurers, and counterfeits).

Ninth Circle: Treachery

Needless to point out, the ninth circle of Hell is the worst you can do in life. It’s basically a frozen lake, Cocytus, divided into four concentric rings (rounds):

Round 1: Caïna. Here you’ll find the traitors to their kindred, not the least among them the original brother traitor, Cain, after who this round is named.

Round 2: Antenora. The traitors to their country are in this round, which is named after Antenor who betrayed Troy to the Greeks.

Round 3: Ptolomaea. Traitors to their Guests – a big no-no in all written history. Ptolemy, according to the Bible, invited Simon Maccabaeus, his father-in-law, and his sons to a banquet and then killed them. So, he should also be in Circle 7, Round 1. And really how do they solve these things down under? Dante gives no explanation, so we’ll never know.

Round 4: Judecca. Traitors to their Lord. Judas Iscariot has that peculiar honor to have the deepest part of Hell named after him. Congratulations, Judas – you’ve been humiliated yet again!

Center of Hell

They are not done just yet, Dante and Virgil.

Because there’s someone who’s betrayed someone even bigger than Jesus and the center of Hell is reserved for that guy.

And the only one bigger than Jesus is His Father: God himself.

So, yeah: we’re talking about Lucifer.

This is his description:

O, what a marvel it appeared to me,
When I beheld three faces on his head!
The one in front, and that vermilion was;

Two were the others, that were joined with this
Above the middle part of either shoulder,
And they were joined together at the crest;

And the right—hand one seemed ‘twixt white and yellow
The left was such to look upon as those
Who come from where the Nile falls valley-ward.

So, Dante’s Satan looks nothing like Milton’s Satan.

Too bad!

We kinda liked the second one better.

Purgatorio, aka Purgatory

We have to warn you – in “Inferno” Dante sets up the bar so high, that, no matter how beautiful the rest of “The Divine Comedy” is, it’s all downhill from there.

Even though, of course, it’s quite literally uphill: Virgil and Dante actually climb on a Mount located on the only island in the Southern Hemisphere.

Nowadays, we’d call it Antartica, but hey – it looked way more mythological back when hemispheres weren’t a thing.

And you know the drill: 7 terraces of Purgatorio – here we come!

7?

But weren’t here 9 of them?

Well, not exactly, because the first two are located in the Ante-Purgatory.

Ante-Purgatory 1: The Excommunicate

This is the base of the Purgatory mountain, reserved for those who delayed the time before they turned Christian.

Their punishment?

They have to wait here 30 times the period of the delay before they are redirected to heaven.

So, an eye for an eye.

Or, more like, 30 eyes for an eye.

Ante-Purgatory 2: The Late Repentant

The Late Repentant are those who did repent but not exactly on time (i.e., they waited more than necessary) and those who repented at the last moment without receiving last rites.

Their waiting periods?

As many years as they lived.

It is at this moment that Dante falls asleep – just before the dawn of Easter Monday – and he wakes up in front of the door of Purgatory.

An angel comes and draws seven “P”-s on his forehead (P stands for peccatum, i.e., sins): these will be erased as Dante and Virgil progress through the next levels, one for each.

First Terrace: Pride

We kind of feel that those in the ante-purgatory will have a better time than those inside.

For example, the prideful – the good prideful – are cleansed from their sins by carrying huge weights on their back, as opposed to just waiting for time to pass.

Because of their weights, they are unable to see the beautiful sculptures around, all of which are representations of humility.

Hey, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Second Terrace: Envy

If you desire something which belongs to someone during your lifetime, your eyes will be sewn with iron wire, and you’ll be hearing angelic voices reciting examples of envy and generosity in the Purgatory.

OK, the second part – not that bad.

The first part – we’ll pass!

Third Terrace: Wrath

The wrathful – but penitent – don’t fight each other on Styx.

They just wander around on a cloud of black smoke, which symbolizes the anger they felt on earth.

So good that they were repentant: it saved them a lot of trouble!

Fourth Terrace: Sloth

There is no better way to punish a slothful person than forcing him or her to run.

God knows this full well, so the slothful do nothing else but restlessly run around the fourth terrace of the Purgatory.

Which made us think: not one marathon runner will end up here!

Fifth Terrace: Avarice

The Avaricious and the Prodigal lie on the floor of the fifth terrace hands and feet bound together, face facing the ground.

The reason?

They wanted too much on earth, and they’ll now learn the value of the absolute nothingness of the floor.

Sixth Terrace: Gluttony

The repentant gluttonous have to purge themselves by constantly experiencing hunger and thirst even though there are many fruit trees around them.

But, God has a good sense of humor throughout all this, so he has put the trees there so that the gluttonous can watch, but not touch.

You know – Tantalus-like.

Seventh Terrace: Lust

The penitent lustful are the ones who are closest to God.

However, they do have a serious problem here, because they need to pass through a wall of flame.

Dante has to do that too – but, since he’s not dead, he’s a bit afraid.

And then Virgil says the magic words: Beatrice is on the other side, waiting for you in Paradise.

Well, if that’s the case, says Dante –

Paradiso, aka Heaven

Because in case you didn’t know, Beatrice Portinari is the Juliet to Dante’s Romeo.

Or, better yet, Romeo and Juliet are the Dante and Beatrice of later days.

Or, at least, they would have been if Romeo had seen Juliet just twice and had fallen madly in love with her, but Juliet had married another man and had borne him few children before dying at the age of 24.

Possibly not even knowing who Dante was, let alone that he had loved her.

That’s romantic love for you, right there!

But, you see, writers have an unfair advantage over everybody: they are capable of changing history. And even getting the girl of their dreams in the fictional land of their imagination.

In Dante’s case, it’s fictional times twenty, since Dante doesn’t get anything but a new guide in Beatrice, and because Beatrice is already dead even in his fantasy, and hence is much more of a chaste Christian soul than a body.

But, you can’t walk around Heaven unless you are a chaste Christian soul, which is, in fact, the reason, why Virgil hands Dante to Beatrice.

Not that he minds.

We’re back to number 9 in Heaven – in Dante, it’s always about 9, because he first met Beatrice when he had as many years, and because he saw her the second and last time nine years later.

Pretty obsessed guy, ha?

First Sphere, The Moon: The Inconstant

The Moon is associated with inconstancy, and it’s the best place for those who were inconstant in their lives, mostly by failing to keep their vows for reasons which were not in their control.

Like forcibly being taken out from a convent by a king.

Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do in life!

Second Sphere, Mercury: The Ambitious

So, you can be ambitious and yet be nice enough to earn yourself a place in Heaven?

We didn’t know that!

But Justinian, the Byzantine Emperor, is here, so that’s nice to know!

Because it means that you can occupy other countries and still be considered good enough for Heaven. If, however, you are an all-around good guy, but depressed enough to want to kill yourself – well, I’m sorry, Werther, but you’re going to Hell.

Third Sphere, Venus: The Lovers

It’s Venus, so it was always going to be the lovers!

Mostly, though, the lovers of God and humanity.

The other types of lovers (the interhuman ones) are actually mostly located in the better circles of Hell.

Fourth Sphere, The Sun: The Wise

Just like the sun, these guys – 24 in number – enlightened the world with their knowledge.

The first 12 of them are who’s who in the world of philosophy: Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Gratian, Peter Lombard, King Solomon, Dionysius the Areopagite, Orosius, Boethius, Isidore of Seville, Bede, Richard of Saint Victor, and Siger of Brabant.

The second dozen are led by St. Bonaventure, and we learn that these two groups didn’t get along on Earth, but here they praise each other constantly.

Because that’s what Heaven does to you.

Fifth Sphere, Mars: The Warriors of Faith

Mars is reserved for the Warriors… of Fate.

In other words, those who died during the Crusades.

Because no matter which religion you are, your God probably likes nothing more than you killing people from other religions.

So, this is where some of the greatest holy warriors (seriously, Dante, that should be an oxymoron) in history live forever after Joshua, Charlemagne, Roland, Robert Guiscard, Judas Maccabeus, and others.

Sixth Sphere, Jupiter: The Just Rulers

What do David, Hezekiah, Constantine, Trajan, William II of Sicily, and the Trojan Ripheus have in common?

Nothing much, really.

Not if you ask Dante, however: they were all just rulers, he thinks, and they all deserved their place in Heaven.

Also: they were not.

On the contrary: all of them were responsible for the deaths of many.

Seventh Sphere, Saturn: The Contemplatives

Did we mention that Dante had some reallife problems with the Catholic Church?

If not, this is a good place to do that, because, in the seventh sphere of Heaven, Dante encounters upon some contemplatives who mostly contemplate about how corrupted the Church has become.

That’s not something you’d expect people to contemplate about in Heaven, but, on the other hand, that may mean that you’ve seen a glimpse of it at some of your family’s gatherings.

Still want to end up there?

Eighth Sphere, Fixed Stars: Faith, Hope, and Love

We’re entirely in the realm of the mythical here.

Virgin Mary, Peter, John, James, Adam.

And they all seem interested in testing Dante on all matters related to faith, hope, and love.

They also want to speak about how bad the Catholic Church is (a common conversation topic in the Afterlife).

Peter, the original Pope, especially.

As far as he is concerned, the Papal See is empty, and Pope Boniface VIII is the worst Pope there ever was.

An interesting trivia: that’s the guy the real Dante had serious issues with.

Peter concurs: he should be having issues with Boniface VIII.

Which is the number of the circle in Hell he is located in.

Ninth Sphere, Primum Mobile: The Angels

Here are the Angels, all nine orders of them.

You’d think that at this point in Heaven (we’re just whiff away from God himself), all is harmony and acceptance, but think again!

Now, it is Beatrice who wants to say a word or two on current political matters:

Christ did not to his first disciples say,
“Go forth, and to the world preach idle tales,”
But unto them a true foundation gave;

And this so loudly sounded from their lips,
That, in the warfare to enkindle Faith,
They made of the Evangel shields and lances.

Now men go forth with jests and drolleries
To preach, and if but well the people laugh,
The hood puffs out, and nothing more is asked.

But in the cowl there nestles such a bird,
That, if the common people were to see it,
They would perceive what pardons they confide in.

If you have problems following the symbols, the bird is a demon and it perches under the hood of the preachers of Dante’s days.

The Divine Comedy Epilogue

Finally, Dante’s there:

The Empyrean

This is the abode of God, a realm beyond physical existence.

Beatrice turns into something Dante says is indescribable in the words of the mortals.

He is not too shabby himself, becoming enveloped in light which enables him to finally meet God.

A meeting which makes Dante bemoan his incapability to write better twice more – on top of a nice description of the three faces of God:

Shorter henceforward will my language fall
Of what I yet remember, than an infant’s
Who still his tongue doth moisten at the breast

Not because more than one unmingled semblance
Was in the living light on which I looked,
For it is always what it was before;

But through the sight, that fortified itself
In me by looking, one appearance only
To me was ever changing as I changed.

Within the deep and luminous subsistence
Of the High Light appeared to me three circles,
Of threefold color and of one dimension

And by the second seemed the first reflected
As Iris is by Iris, and the third
Seemed fire that equally from both is breathed.

O how all speech is feeble and falls short
Of my conceit, and this to what I saw
Is such, ’tis not enough to call it little!

And that’s your “Divine Comedy” for you.

It is divine alright.

But it’s hardly a comedy by today’s standards.

For there’s absolutely nothing funny about it.
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“The Divine Comedy PDF Quotes”

All hope abandon, ye who enter here. Click To Tweet The more a thing is perfect, the more it feels pleasure and pain. Click To Tweet O human race, born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fall? Click To Tweet Into the eternal darkness, into fire and into ice. Click To Tweet There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Jorge Luis Borges called “The Divine Comedy” “the best book literature has achieved.”

And Borges was a librarian and the librarian – having read practically everything important anyone had written before he left us.

So, we’ll just strongly advise you to believe him.

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao PDF Summary

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao PDF SummaryA Pulitzer Prize winner, a “New York Times” bestseller, a “Time Magazine” #1 Fiction Book of 2007, a counterculture favorite, an overnight cult classic.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t think of a book which checks all those (often contradictory) boxes as neatly as Junot Díaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

It’s a tour de force and a joy to read!

Who Should Read “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”? And Why?

In a 2012 Q&A with “The Daily Pennsylvanian,” Junot Díaz described his style as “a disobedient child of New Jersey and the Dominican Republic if that can be possibly imagined with way too much education.”

And then he added: “You can never do it justice. It’s sort of like describing a kiss versus having a kiss. To read the book is to have it.”

We think so too.

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is more than just a touching story, more than a thought-provoking history lesson.

It’s also style, a very unique, original style.

And we can’t tell you much more about it.

You can only experience it.

Trust us: it’ll hit you in the face right from the first page.

By the second – you’ll be hooked and wanting for more.

Junot Díaz Biography

Junot DíazJunot Diaz is a Dominican American writer, whose work focuses mainly on the Latino immigrant experience in the United States.

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, at the age of six, Díaz immigrated with his family to New Jersey. He earned a BA from Rutgers University and an MFA from Cornell. Soon after, he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled “Drown.”

A decade later, he published his second book and first novel, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” a book which brought him both wide acclaim and dedicated audience.

His third – and, so far, last – book was another short story collection, published in 2012, “This Is How You Lose Her.”

Plot

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is an interestingly structured book. It’s divided into three parts, each few chapters long, and it contains 33 footnotes by the author himself.

So, here’s your chance to finally read one.

Prologue: Fukú

And it’s mostly about a person who never appears as a character in the story but, nevertheless, shrouds the experiences of all the book’s characters; a man who permeates through each and every aspect of what it means to be a Dominican – even today, half a century after his death.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.

El Jefe.

A politician, a dictator, a sadist, and an all-around madman.

Also – the hypeman, the high priest of something called fukú americanus, fukú for short, “a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World”:

No one knows whether Trujillo was the Curse’s servant or its master, its agent or its principal, but it was clear he and it had an understanding, that them two was tight. It was believed, even in educated circles, that anyone who plotted against Trujillo would incur a fukú most powerful, down to the seventh generation and beyond

So, basically, Trujillo is not a mere human being (and that’s basically a quote from a newspaper celebrating his 25 years in power).

He’s a sort of a Sauron.

And we’re not going overboard here!

That’s how Díaz describes him.

The book is filled with references of this type!

Part I

One: Ghetto Nerd at the End of the World (1974 – 1987)

Now, fukú plagues everyone under Trujillo’s rule, notwithstanding Oscar’s family – and Oscar himself.

But, we’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s see: who’s Oscar?

Well, he is Nerdiness personified, the archetype of the anti-Dominican (read: anti-Latino, anti-macho and many other anti-stereotypical versions of a Hispano-American man).

Or, in other words, a Latino who doesn’t have much luck with the ladies. (“How very un-Dominican of him,” notes our narrator.)

It wasn’t always like that, though.

When he was very young, he had been “something of a Casanova,” one time even dating two girls at once.

But during the course of most of this book – he isn’t capable of getting the attention of not one.

And that’s because –

Dude wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn’t have passed for Normal if he’d wanted to.

Unsurprisingly, what Oscar dreams most about is, well, what he can’t have: a girl.

Also: sex.

Which to him is more SF than any SF in the world – since he’s read basically everything SF ever written!

His search for those two things – a girl and sex, not SF – is basically what the whole book is about.

It could have been a much shorter book if his first girlfriend (not counting the two he had for a brief period of time when he was seven years old), Ana Obregón, cared some more about him.

Unfortunately, she abandons Oscar once her boyfriend Manny comes back from the army. It doesn’t matter that he’s a drug addict who beats her.

Oscar, somehow, is worse.

And that’s the story of Oscar’s life right until college.

Two: Wildwood (1982 – 1985)

You see, Oscar has a restless sister called Lola and a tough mother with breast cancer called Beli. Their relationship is what the second chapter of the first part is about.

It is exactly what you’d expect from a relationship between a mother and a rebellious teenage daughter.

Times twenty.

Needless to add, at one point, Lola runs away, but, with the help of Oscar, Beli finds Lola and sends her to live with her grandmother, La Inca, back in the Dominican Republic.

Three: The Three Heartbreaks of Belicia Cabral (1955 – 1962)

Just look at the years in the titles – Díaz is moving us back and forth in time as if a Doctor Who on drugs!

Anyway, now that we’ve experienced adolescence through Oscar and Lola, we spend some time doing the same through the eyes of Beli.

In her case, we are back in the Dominican Republic, and the aforementioned Trujillo is in power.

And you know what they say – an apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree: Beli in the 1950s is not much different from Lola in the 1980s.

She lives with her adopted mother – so, La Inca – and she’s a catch, to say the least.

Such a catch, in fact, that (after a few stints with the handsomest studs around) she catches the eye of a powerful and wealthy guy nicknamed the Gangster. Little does she know that the Gangster is influential because he’s married to Trujillo’s sister.

Fukú.

Or, in an entirely expected turn of events: the beating up of a lifetime.

The same night, fortunately (we never said we’d say that for a man, but…), Trujillo is assassinated.

Unfortunately, the Trujillo-governed fukú travels across deaths and time and space.

So, Beli’s life goes from bad to worse.

And La Inca sends her on a plane to New York.

Four: Sentimental Education (1988-1992)

Once again with Oscar, back where we left him in 1: in college.

Here he befriends (as we’ll find out only later) the narrator of the novel, Yunior.

And falls in love with another girl, Jenni Muñoz, a black-eyed goth and your regular Halloween dominatrix.

Their strangeness connects them.

Not enough, it seems, and Oscar has his heart broken again.

This time, however, it’s serious: he tries to commit suicide, by jumping off a train bridge.

Fortunately, he doesn’t die.

And it’s all because of a mongoose – although, don’t ask us what the mongoose is and what it does.

Some kind of a guardian angel, it seems.

Not all-powerful, though, so we leave here Oscar in the hospital, with both of his legs broken.

We also leave Yunior a bit smitten.

With none other but Oscar’s sister, Lola.

Part II

Five: Poor Abelard (1944 – 1946)

Oh, come on, Junot!

We wanted to move forward in time, not as back as we’ve never gone before!

And who is this guy Abelard?

And what does he have to do with anything?

Remember when we said earlier that seven generations might be afflicted by the fukú if someone tries doing something bad to Trujillo?

Well, this is where it all started.

Abelard Luis Cabral, a doctor, is Belicia’s father (i.e., Oscar’s grandfather), the husband of Socorro Cabral, a nurse, Oscar’s grandmother.

Well-educated and successful, they had a nice time living in Santo Domingo.

They also had two more daughters besides Belicia, one of which is named Jacquelyn.

Beauty seems to run affluent in this family: Jacquelyn, it seems, is even more beautiful than Belicia, making her the catch of catches.

And nobody can have those in the Dominican Republic unless Trujillo has them first.

Abelard tries to protect his daughter. Or, maybe makes a joke about El Jefe. Or, maybe – just maybe – he looks Trujillo the wrong way.

It doesn’t matter: it’s prison sentence or death for all of them.

Abelard gets both: 14 years into his 18-year prison sentence, he dies, a shell out of his former self.

His wife Socorro dies as well in mysterious circumstances, shortly after Belicia is born.

Mysterious is the death of Jacquelyn Cabral as well, few days after she is accepted to a medical school in France.

Three years after Jacquelyn’s death, Astrid, the third of the Cabral sisters, is killed by a strayed bullet in a church.

Beli is the only one left.

It makes a lot more sense now her behavior with Lola, doesn’t it?

Six: Land of the Lost (1992 – 1995)

You look at those years, and you know that we’re once again back with Oscar.

We learn that he has graduated from college and that he has become a substitute teacher (later teacher) at Don Bosco, his old high school.

We also learn that he doesn’t want to do that – or anything else, for that matter. He’s still the sad, miserable, deeply depressed nerd without a girlfriend.

The only difference is that now he teaches few classes no one attends.

So, not that much of an improvement.

Anyway, Oscar decides to join Belicia and Lola for a summer trip to the Dominican Republic.

And then and there, Oscar’s final love happens.

Oh, come on – it’s not a spoiler! The title, after all, is “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” – so, please don’t tell us that you didn’t know that he was going to die.

But, hey – we said “wondrous”!

There was nothing wondrous about it till now, you say, so there better be if you’re going to kill him in the end!

Well, here’s a good start:

In DR (that’s short for the Dominican Republic), Oscar falls in love with a semiretired prostitute, Ybón Pimentel, La Inca’s next-door 36-year-old neighbor.

The only problem with this: one of Ybón’s many boyfriends is/was/has been the ultra-possessive captain of the National Police force.

It’s not like it’s not obvious what may happen to Oscar if he spends any more time with Ybón.

Also, it’s not like he isn’t warned about this – by literally everyone.

But Oscar would have none of it.

So, Beli sends him back to Paterson.

(She’s known to send people away, that Beli, she is…)

Part III

Seven: The Final Voyage

Back in Paterson, Oscar thinks about Ybón and only about her.

So, he asks Yunior for some money and goes back to the Dominican Republic. Here he spends his time either writing or chasing after Ybón.

The former’s great – he dreamt about being the new Tolkien ever since childhood – but the latter one – not so much.

Because it leads to the only place where it could: the police’s capitán catches Oscar and has him lined up before a firing squad. It’s not that the police officers – or whatever they are – want to listen, but Oscar nevertheless speaks:

The words coming out like they belonged to someone else, his Spanish good for once. He told them that what they were doing was wrong, that they were going to take a great love out of the world. Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him.

He told them about Ybón and the way he loved her and how much they had risked and that they’d started to dream the same dreams and say the same words. He told them that it was only because of her love that he’d been able to do the thing that he had done, the thing they could no longer stop, told them if they killed him they would probably feel nothing and their children would probably feel nothing either, not until they were old and weak or about to be struck by a car and then they would sense him waiting for them on the other side and over there he wouldn’t be no fatboy or dork or kid no girl had ever loved; over there he’d be a hero, an avenger.

Because anything you can dream (he put his hand up) you can be.

The firing squad isn’t that fascinated or touched.

So, they shoot him.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Epilogue

Eight: The Last Days of Oscar Wao

“That’s pretty much it” – that’s how Díaz starts this last chapter of his book.

Only – it isn’t.

First of all, you didn’t learn the whole story of our narrator, Yunior, and Lola.

If you remember, back in the fourth chapter, we informed you that Yunior fell for Lola. Well, after a while, Lola fell for him too.

She asked him to never lie to her. He, the playboy that he is, does.

She leaves him.

One day, ten years later, he wakes up next to someone he doesn’t care a bit about, his upper lip covered in coke and blood and says: “OK, Wao, OK. You win.”

Fast forward to today, he is the changed man writing this book.

There’s a zafa to every fukú, we learn.

Telling your story may be one of the most powerful.

Apparently, Yunior is also still in love with Lola.

Only Lola is already married to someone else and even has a daughter with him going by the name of Isis.

So, it’s too late:

Before all hope died I used to have this stupid dream that shit could be saved, that we would be in bed together like the old times, with the fan on, the smoke from our weed drifting above us, and I’d finally try to say the words that could have saved us.

__________ ___________ ____________

But before I can shape the vowels I wake up. My face is wet, and that’s how you know it’s never going to come true.

Never, ever.

It ain’t too bad, though. During our run-ins we smile, we laugh, we take turns saying her daughter’s name. I never ask if her daughter has started to dream. I never mention our past. All we ever talk about is Oscar.

Those three lines above – not a mistake.

Just a symbol that, once you do enough bad things, there are no such words.

Epilogue: The Final Letter

Believe it or not, there’s still some left.

Because the second thing you’ve found nothing about is what was happening to Oscar during the last few days of his life.

Fortunately, eight months after Oscar is shot, a letter reaches Lola’s mailbox. It’s from Oscar – sent just before he was killed.

(Man, the efficiency of that postal service… Makes you think of Seinfeld’s postal Newman!)

And the letter recounts his last days, all spent with Ybón.

Yes – before you ask us – they did have sex.

And, unsurprisingly, it was fun.

However –

You know what, we’ll just quote this last paragraph.

It always gets us.

So, for Oscar, sex was great, but

what really got him was not the bam-bam-bam of sex—it was the little intimacies that he’d never in his whole life anticipated, like combing her hair or getting her underwear off a line or watching her walk naked to the bathroom or the way she would suddenly sit on his lap and put her face into his neck.

The intimacies like listening to her tell him about being a little girl and him telling her that he’d been a virgin all his life.

He wrote that he couldn’t believe he’d had to wait for this so goddamn long. (Ybón was the one who suggested calling the wait something else. Yeah, like what? Maybe, she said, you could call it life.)

He wrote: So this is what everybody’s always talking about! Diablo! If only I’d known. The beauty! The beauty!

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao PDF Quotes

But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in. Click To Tweet If you didn't grow up like I did then you don't know, and if you don't know it's probably better you don't judge. Click To Tweet That’s life for you. All the happiness you gather to yourself, it will sweep away like it’s nothing. If you ask me I don’t think there are any such things as curses. I think there is only life. That’s enough. Click To Tweet Love was a rare thing, easily confused with a million other things, and if anybody knew this to be true it was him. Click To Tweet It's exactly at these moments, when all hope has vanished, that prayer has dominion. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If there’s one 21st century book you should bother reading, it’s this one.

And that’s not just our opinion.

In 2009, it was chosen by readers of “The Millions” as the best novel written since the beginning of the third millennium. And in 2015, in a poll of American critics organized by BBC, “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” was voted the best novel of the 21st century.

So, there you have it.

Everybody – whether an avid reader or an erudite critic – thinks that you must read it.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray PDF Summary

The Picture of Dorian Gray PDFWhat if you could stay forever young? What would you have to give in return?

Would you want to, even if the price you will have to pay is your soul?

Who Should Read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”? And Why?

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a story about a young man who wants to stay eternally young and beautiful, and pledges his soul to the Devil, if he is granted his wish.

We recommend it to everyone!

There are important lessons to be learned, out of which all of us can benefit.

Oscar Wilde Biography

Oscar WildeOscar Wilde was an Irish novelist, playwright, and poet, that was one of the most famous and appreciated writers in the 1890s.

Plot

Basil Hallward is an established artist living in London in the house of his aunt.

Basil Hallward has been introduced to Dorian Gray when the story opens. Dorian has a godlike appearance, as well as cultured manners and enough wealth. So, it is not surprising that he would immediately become an object of artistic admiration and attraction.

Basil asks Dorian to pose for him, and so he does. While he paints him, he explains his features as a mythological figure or a Greek hero.

The first portrait is nearly finished in the first pages of the novel. However, Basil is not satisfied with his work, and when he talks to his friend, Lord Henry, we realize that he believes that the painting is a mirror of his feelings for the subject, and he doesn’t want that.

Lord Henry does not agree. He is a person who celebrates beauty, youth, and pleasures of any kind.

Soon, Dorian arrives in Basil’s studio and makes the acquaintance of Lord Henry. However, Lord Henry makes a lasting impression on him. He talks to him about beauty and youth, and Dorian feels the fear of losing both of these transient characteristics creeping on him.

Spurred by these thoughts he curses his portrait, thinking that one day when he is old, and his beauty is lost, he will feel only sorrow when looking at it. With mixed emotions in his heart and mind, he offers his soul if he could only get the gift of staying forever young.

Lord Henry wants to own the portrait, but Basil wants to give it to Dorian since he is the rightful owner.

As the weeks pass by, Lord Henry meets Dorian frequently, and the influence of his opinions take over Dorian’s life. So, Dorian wishes to live a life that centers around achieving pleasures in any form.

He soon falls in love with a young actress, Sibyl Vane. Sybil Vane plays in the city’s slums, but Dorian just adores her acting.

She, in turn, believes he is a “Prince Charming.” Her brother does not agree and thinks that Dorian is up to no good, and is unfit for her, but she refuses to listen to him or his warnings.

Sibyl falls in love with Dorian so deeply that she now believes that she can no longer act to be in love on the scene since nothing is as sincere as the real thing.

However, Dorian is in fact in love with Sibyl’s acting and not with her actual personality, so when she states that she gives up the theater, he breaks up with her.

As soon as he does that, he returns home, and to his surprise, he notices that his portrait has a changed expression: now the face on the picture sneers.

He suddenly feels fear and remembers his vow to give his soul in return for eternal youth, and realizes that it might become true, so not wanting all his sins to be left as a mark on the portrait, he decides to apologize and reconcile with Sibyl the next day.

But, he is too late.

Sibyl has already killed herself.

Lord Henry urges Dorian not to feel bad, but instead consider her death as some kind of a triumph, an artistic one, in which she, an actress, decided to do her final act of a tragedy, to personify it.

Although Dorian decides to leave the matter in the past, he still feels uneasy with the portrait, so he hides it in a secluded room in his house, where it would be away from anyone’s sight.

Then, he gets a book about the Frenchmen living in the nineteenth century from Lord Henry, and he immerses himself into it completely, as it is a book that talks about sin and corruption.

He begins to mirror the life of which he reads, and just cares for possibilities to gather new experiences, without any regard for the morality and ethics of his behavior.

Eighteen years later, Dorian is still living a life of pleasures, and all around town rumors begin to spread about his scandalous actions.

However, no matter what they think or talk behind his back, he is accepted everywhere because of his beauty.

The portrait, on the other hand, grows increasingly ugly.

Then, one day, Basil decides to confront Dorian about all the talk he has heard about him, so he arrives in his house.

They quarrel, and in a fit of rage, Dorian takes Basil up in the room for him to see the portrait, and therefore his soul.

Basin is horrified by the sight.

However, Dorian considers himself as a man who has already gone too far, so there is not a point to go back now.

Provoked and irritated by Basil’s pleas to repent, he kills him.

The Picture of Dorian Gray Epilogue

To get rid of the dead body, Dorian blackmails a doctor to blackmail him. Then, he goes to a place to get opium, where he encounters Sibyl’s brother, who tries to avenge her.

Afraid, he escapes to his country house, where he also invites some guests. While he is entertaining them, he sees that Sibyl’s brother has followed him.

But, soon, he is accidentally killed by a hunting party, so Dorian is relieved. All of these events make him want to start over, but he cannot make himself confess his crimes.

He goes to the picture, that shows his dark life, and tries to stab it.

When the maids enter, they find an old, ugly man lying on the floor stabbed in the heart, next to the portrait of a good-looking young man.

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“The Picture of Dorian Gray PDF Quotes”

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. Click To Tweet Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes. Click To Tweet You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit. Click To Tweet To define is to limit. Click To Tweet I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

What an enjoyment it is to read Wilde!

This book is truly a masterpiece. First it is written so beautifully, second, the story is captivating, and third, it offers a valuable moral lesson.

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A Wagner Matinee PDF Summary

A Wagner Matinee PDFOnce we make a choice in life, we cannot go back.

That is what Georgiana is facing – a life she chose but wants to escape.

Who Should Read “A Wagner Matinee”? And Why?

“A Wagner Matinee” is a short story about a young man who receives a visit from his estranged aunt thirty years after she has eloped, and takes her to a concert where he finds out the truth about the life she ended up living.

It first reached readers through Everybody’s Magazine and was later included in Cather’s “The Troll Garden,” her first published short story collection.

We recommend it to all lovers of short stories.

Willa Cather Biography

Willa CatherWilla Cather was an American writer of novels and short stories.

Plot

Clark is a young Bostonian man that is soon to be visited by her Aunt Georgiana from Nebraska.

His aunt used to teach music at the Boston Conservatory, something she was very talented in, but then one day, while traveling to the Green Mountains, she met Howard Carpenter, a man ten years younger than her.

She fell in love and decided to elope with him, moving to a homestead in Nebraska.

Now, thirty years later Georgiana comes back to Boston for the first time, to settle an estate. Thinking about her visit, Clarks remembers the times when he, as a young boy, visited her in Nebraska.

In the meantime, she introduces him to classical mythology and teaches him about Shakespeare. He also remembers her small parlor organ and the music she played on it.

When she arrives in his home, he takes her to a symphony concert that plays music from Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser and Tristan and Isolde.

As the concert ends, she is crying, moved by the music, and by her own destiny.

With tears in her eyes, she screams: “I don’t want to go, Clark, I don’t want to go!”

In this short, but intense story, Cather has created a puzzle of isolation, hardship, struggle, and loss.

As soon as you read Clark’s voice, you will get the feeling that Cather will be talking about hardship throughout the text.

It seems that Georgiana finds giving up the comforts of city life difficult, and is defeated by her reality.

Her position is even clearer when the narrator describes her as “pathetic.”

The fact that Georgiana has not traveled anywhere far from her home in Nebraska for three decades is also surprising and suggests that she has isolated herself from the world she knew.

But, we have to delve deeper into the story and try to understand her circumstances back when she eloped.

In the time when Cather was writing this story, thirty (the age of Georgiana when she eloped) was am the old age to marry, so we have to bear in mind that maybe that is the reason she decided to take the step she took.

Maybe, it was not her love that pushed her to such a decision, but society’s norms and “rules” about what is right and what not.

Ironically, though, trying not to spend her life alone, in the end, resulted in her isolating herself completely.

The narrator can see the grotesqueness of Georgiana’s life, as he calls it, but he is still grateful for all the moments in the past when she was nice to him. He still remembers the moments spent with her in his childhood, and all the things she introduced him to.

The way he describes her, as a woman with bent shoulders, yellow skin, and false teeth, makes us feel as though she is not only struggling at the moment, but she has indeed lived a hard and struggle-filled life.

Another thing it may be interesting to notice is Clark’s focus on the color black during the course of the story.

Black is intuitively connected to darkness so Georgiana wearing black constantly may be a way for the narrator to refer to the darkness that has covered her once she decided to leave the city and elope.

The importance of this color is further strengthened when Cather makes sure to pay attention to the other women present at the matinee, which wear light and upbeat colors.

Georgiana is a total contrast to all of these women, a “dead shadow” as the author calls her.

It is not only the clothes that Georgiana wears that are black, but her house is also grim, the pond is black too, and the word “dead” is used as well, which may be possibly a way to describe the life Georgiana has – an isolated life, away from everything she once held dear.

A Wagner Matinee Epilogue

The words that Georgiana says: that she does not want to go is an interesting ending to this story.

The place this revelation happens at – at the Wagner matinee, is a way that the author uses to compare art and life.

While Georgiana listens to the music, her fingers move over her dress. She does that mechanically, remembering the way she was living long ago.

We know that she has been very talented and that she has given all that up to be with her husband. We can guess that it is the first time in thirty years that she hears the music that brings back all of her memories.

Music’s impact on Georgiana seems to be so strong that even after the concert’s ending, she does not want to leave.

She probably just wants to stay at that place filled with beautiful memories for a just a little longer, before she is forced to go back to the isolated and dark life she is living.

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“A Wagner Matinee PDF Quotes”

Don't love it so well, Clark, or it may be taken from you. Oh, dear boy, pray that whatever your sacrifice may be, it be not that. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“A Wagner Matinee” was a moving story.

The vivid description of the details and the style of the author are cream on the top of a perfectly delicious cake.

And, as it happens with delicious cakes, after finishing this, I wanted another piece.

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The Sorrows of Young Werther PDF Summary

The Sorrows of Young Werther PDFLife can be tough and sorrowful, especially for a gentle being like Werther.

He gives us his soul on a literary platter, for us to take a peek at all of his sorrows.

Who Should Read “The Sorrows of Young Werther”? And Why?

“The Sorrows of Young Werther” is a specific, dark story told in the form of letters, or what is known in the literary world as epistolary form, about the melancholics events and experiences of the main character, as he moves town trying to escape from the sorrows of existence.

It is a book known to be loosely inspired by its author’s life, and that makes it even a more compelling read.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Biography

Johann Wolfgang von GoetheJohann Wolfgang von Goethe was a prolific German writer of texts in all forms: from essays to scientific texts, to novels, who became a literary celebrity rather early – at the age of 25 and still holds the same status among passionate readers and critics.

Plot

The novel starts as Werther, the protagonist and narrator of the novel, is writing the letters to Wilhelm, who is his friend, and tells him all about his life, starting from the moment when he left his town in the rural area of the country, because he faced a failure in his love life.

To be more exact, he was a lover of both a woman, and later her sister, and that romance, as one could only expect, ended badly and forced him to flee.

However, he does not express any regret about the way everything turned out to be; in fact, he really likes the village he ended up living in.

It is a place called Wahlheim, and the beauty of the place made him retrain from his art, and instead enjoy the nature and the walks around the countryside.

During his walks, he meets a lot of peasants, and he tells the stories of these characters usually along with his own.

Werther is a passionate person, and deeply romantic, and so when his eye catches Lotte (Charlotte), he falls madly in love.

Lotte is a woman whose mother passed away, and she was, therefore, left alone to take care of her siblings.

There is one problem though (which Werther does not seem to consider as such) – she is engaged to be married.

Although this fact brings him sorrow, Werther is already too much in love, and so he cannot refrain from communicating with her.

But building that close of a relationship only puts him in unbearable pain. That is one day, he decides that it be the best if he left Wahlheim.

However, when he leaves to visit a friend in Weimar, he finds that place to be completely opposite and not a good fit for him.

His friend, whom he knew from long ago, has become a part of a group of aristocrats, where Werther does not belong in and feels out of place.

This forces him to go back to Wahlheim, and doing so makes him hope that he will be able to pick up the relationship with Lotte from where they left off, but sadly she is already married by the time he is back.

She does agree that they meet but believes it is inappropriate for her, now that she is married, to spend so much time with him, so she asks him to minimize his visits.

He agrees, but before he does as she asks him to, he writes a poem in which he expresses all of his feelings, all of his love.

She loves him too and feels moved by the gesture, so they share an embrace, but they both know that they are not meant to be – at least not in that situation.

But, there is a way out of such a love triangle, and the way is death. One person has to die, and then the people left will be able to live in peace.

Werther is too nice and gentle to be able to murder someone, and so he decides that it would be best if he is the one that dies.

He sends a letter to Lotte’s husband and asks for dueling pistols, telling him that he will go on a journey.

Lotte receives and reads the letter, but although she knows what kind of journey he is talking about, she does nothing to stop him.

He gets the pistols and believes that getting them is a confirmation that everyone agrees him to be the one who dies, so he shoots himself in the head.

However, he somehow shoots himself in a bad place, which leaves him in 12 hours of agony before he finally takes his last breath.

He does not forget to leave a note for Lotte, in which he expresses his belief that she and he were meant to be, and that they have to meet again, and finally be together – in heaven.

This whole book is colored in shades of sadness, but the last moment of Werther’s life is nothing but sorrow.

The Sorrows of Young Werther Epilogue

Although Werther sacrificed himself and was always gentle to the people he met, Lotte does not attend his funeral to tell her last goodbye.

He is buried under a tree he usually mentions in his letters, believing that one day Lotte will follow him in death because of her broken heart.

Despite all the hope he had, however, in death, he is entirely alone.

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“The Sorrows of Young Werther PDF Quotes”

The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it. Click To Tweet I have so much in me, and the feeling for her absorbs it all; I have so much, and without her it all comes to nothing. Click To Tweet I am proud of my heart alone, it is the sole source of everything, all our strength, happiness and misery. Click To Tweet I am proud of my heart alone, it is the sole source of everything, all our strength, happiness and misery. Click To Tweet It's true that nothing in this world makes us so necessary to others as the affection we have for them. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Sorrows of Young Werther” is strangely enjoyable novel. At least for me. I did not read any epistolary novels before this one (or after it, as a matter of fact). It was fascinating to me how can one author build a whole story just through the letters the character writes.

I know it may sound boring, but give it a chance.

You will either love it, or you will hate it – there is no middle when it comes to this book.

My bets are on the former.

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The Days Crayons Quit PDF Summary

The Days Crayons Quit PDFDuncan wants to draw.

But he has nothing to draw with.

His crayons decided to leave their “job positions” because he was over or under-using them.

So, Duncan has to find a way to make amends with his crayons, in order to be able to draw again.

How will he do that? Will the crayons come back?

Who Should Read “The Days Crayons Quit”? And Why?

“The Day Crayons Quit” is a children’s book about a little boy named Duncan and his box of crayons, which one day decide to go on strike because they are not satisfied with how they are used.

Duncan tries to find a way to solve this problem, in order to keep his crayons happy and be able to paint again.

We recommend this book to all parents, as well as to kindergarten teachers that are searching for some new stories to tell.

Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers Biography

Drew DaywaltDrew Daywalt is a Holywood screenwriter, living in California. “The Day the Crayons Quit” is his first attempt at writing children’s books.

Oliver Jeffers is an award-winning Australian illustrator of children’s books. He currently lives in New York and has penned twelve books since the start of his career.

Plot

First things first.

“The Day the Crayons Quit” is actually not a book about crayons that quit – but about crayons that have issues and complain about them to little Duncan.

The story goes like this:

Duncan is a little boy who has a desire to draw. But when he takes out his crayon box and opens it, he is surprised but what he sees.

The box is empty. His crayons are all gone!

But it is not that someone took them, but they decided to leave by themselves. They are on strike!

Behind them, they left little papers with Duncan’s name all over it, on which they write all the issues they faced and all the trouble they had with the way they were being used.

For example, Red is exhausted because every Christmas and Valentine’s, everyone grabs it and colors everything with it: Santa’s, hearts et cetera. I mean, you would be too, right?

Blue is also overused, and feels physical consequences of this – it is becoming stubby and short.

White, on the other hand, is very depressed, because it is rarely if ever, used (perhaps this is the issue I understand the most).

So is pink.

Purple hates that it is forced to color outside of the lines, and thinks that if it has to do it one more time, it will “lose it.”

Grey just wants to color something small – it has had enough of big things.

Orange and Yellow are in a fight and cannot come to a conclusion about the color of the sun, and which one should be used for it (now I am forced to think about this too).

And then, there is Peach, which Duncan left undressed when he accidentally destroyed and unwrapped its wrapper. So it refuses to come out of its box, I mean how can it, it doesn’t even wear underwear!

Each of the letters is accompanied by a crayon drawing in a children style. These monochromatic, but bright and vividly colored drawings jump off the white background (uh-oh, do not tell white we said this!).

These drawings are extremely cute, and it is interesting how the illustrator managed to keep the kid’s unskillfulness in painting.

There are of course problems with the book. For example, as you will notice, first the title is misleading (as we already said, no one actually quit), and second, the problems of the crayons (overuse or underuse) are repeating and overlapping. The only peach has a different issue.

The letters the crayons have written are not connected in an actual story but are just a collection of complaints, so the fact that they could be read in any order without doing something to the story means that there is no build up in tension.

Also, when the ending comes, we notice that Duncan tries to please the crayons, and so uses Black to paint the beach, and then gives Beige and White new things they could color, but he does not fix all the problems of the other crayons.

In fact, I could not help but notice that Red, Blue, and Grey did not have their problems solved at all.

The Days Crayons Quit Epilogue

Duncan feels bad for his crayons. He does not want them to be sad; he just wants to keep them happy!

That is why he decides that the next time he has an assignment to paint a really colorful one. So then, nothing is in the same color that it is supposed to be.

Actually, that is a bad word: “supposed.”

Let me fix it: nothing is the color it usually is.

But the end is rewarding for him too. By creating something completely unconventional he not only made his crayons happy but also got praise from the teacher for being really creative.

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“The Days Crayons Quit PDF Quotes”

It's me, RED crayon. WE NEED to talk. You make me work harder than any of your other crayons. Click To Tweet I'm tired of being called light brown or dark tan because I am neither. I am BEIGE, and I am proud. Click To Tweet It's not fair that Brown gets all the bears, ponies and puppies while the only things I get are turkey dinners (if I'm lucky) and wheat, and let's be honest - when was the last time you saw a kid excited about coloring wheat? Click To Tweet Baby penguins are gray, you know. So are very tiny rocks. Pebbles. How about one of those once in a while to give me a break? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Day the Crayons Quit” was a fun book to read.

It is a children’s book, so I am guessing you are reading this summary because you consider reading this to your child. Children will love it.

I know that I would make my parents read this to me many times if I was a child.

For adults, on the other hand, it is satisfying because it is different.

When was the last time that you took a children’s book in your hands and decided to read it “just because”?

Probably long ago. So, this will be a breath of fresh air for you.

Of course, the book has some problems which I already mentioned before, but that does not make it any worse. It is a children’s book – and all things are allowed in the reality of children.

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