A Courageous Decision: A Review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

For hundreds of years, slavery was accepted as a way of life. To see people beaten for working too slowly, sold to pay off debt, or killed in fits of anger was the ugly but unquestioned norm. Today, with slavery almost gone, it is something to speak of in somber tones and with grim faces.…

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Struggle for Self-Control: A Review of The Eye of the World

With a groan, I forced myself to look at the electric clock on my night table. I groaned again. It read 22:46. I should have turned off the light more than an hour ago, I thought guiltily. I nestled back into my blankets, glancing back at the book in my hands. More than anything, I…

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Emails in Elvish: A Review of The Silmarillion

When I finished reading The Return of the King, the third book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, I gazed at it sadly and turned wistfully to the appendix at the back of the book. I quickly forgot my melancholy mood, however, when the appendix turned out to be a treasure trove of…

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Robin Hood, Deromanticized: A Review of The Outlaws of Sherwood

I looked at the target and frowned. I had always imagined myself shooting effortlessly, looking cool and controlled as I let loose perfectly aimed arrows in rapid succession. At least, I had certainly never envisioned this. I was straining to pull the bowstring, my face red with exertion. My arrows flew high above the target,…

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Manhattan: A Review of The Rainmaker

  When we all slept in one room, I used to ask my siblings, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” One of my siblings wanted to live in Laos, in a house with screens instead of doors. I said I wanted to write in a great big lonely mansion in the…

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In the Darkness: A Review of Lost Boys

I dropped to a crawl and struggled through the door leading to the crawlspace. It smelled of earth and bricks and mortar. The floor was covered with a large sheet of black plastic, and above me fluffy bits of pink insulation hung from the ceiling. Chunks of fallen insulation lay scattered on the black plastic.…

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A Room Full of Laughter: A Review of The Importance of Being Earnest

My two siblings sat in front of me, holding the script to the monologue in their hands. I stared back and took a deep breath. Then I began the monologue. My younger sibling smiled, and soon my older sibling followed suit. As I continued, speaking the ridiculous words in a ludicrous accent, they laughed outright.…

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Noise and Silence: A Review of The Chosen

I squeezed my eyes shut. The book I was reading sat in my sweaty hands, its sharp corners cutting into my palms. Why couldn’t the house be quiet? I felt like crying. There was too much noise—the vacuum’s irritating drone coming from the hallway, my sister singing some song of her own invention, the CD…

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Inside and Out: a Review of Till We Have Faces

I knelt by the scattered makeup tubes which lay heaped on the floor, picking them up and putting them into their proper places. They were only props for a sketch we were performing, but the other girls with me were examining them expertly. “Do you wear makeup?” one of them asked me, twisting a perfume…

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