The Wilson Beacon

A review of the AP Language and Composition books

Erin Harper and Rebecca Smith

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“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
Rating: 10/10
This story is seen through the eyes of Janie Crawford, a beautiful girl originally from Eatonville, Florida. The book is extremely relatable because, from the beginning, Janie learns how to deal with love, something many students at Wilson are currently navigating. The book has an interesting structure, as the narrative starts at the end of her life and works its way back to the beginning. The book is written with the characters all talking in a Southern dialect, which helps brings the story, as well as the characters, to life. We liked that Janie soon found happiness, but the thread of love, heartbreak, and hope throughout the novel ties the story together.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Rating: 10/10

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic, and is one of the most recognizable books in English literature. The book deals with the issues of race and segregation as the main character’s father must defend a Black man in court. Not only does Lee have a talent for narration, her word structure also creates a visual picture in one’s head that makes the book enjoyable and easy to read. Lee depicted the main character as a vanquisher of racial bias, which we admire given the Jim Crow time period that the book was set in. The way that Lee portrays each character makes this book one of our all-time favorites.

“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel

Rating: 9/10

Martel’s “Life of Pi” is his best-selling book, and understandably so. This novel is relatable, as it covers the topic of overcoming tragedy and beating odds that are stacked against you. The book is written in the style of magical realism; each section of the novel addresses one’s life purpose and religion, which we think is a clear message that the author manages to get through to the reader. Although the story was a bit hard to follow, we enjoyed the overall theme of the story: when in danger, faith is the invisible force that will bring you to safety and will shape you into the person you are destined to become.

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz

Rating: 8/10

This isn’t a traditional English book. Díaz’s novel deals with an overweight boy who grows up in New Jersey, while simultaneously exploring the legacy left behind in the Dominican Republic from Dictator Rafael Trujillo. Throughout the novel, Díaz isn’t afraid to tackle discussions of race, love, and violence. The book strays from the conventional with a surprisingly blunt and casual tone; his sentences are littered with Spanish slang and expletives. Díaz could’ve done a better job of connecting all the characters together; at times the plot seemed a bit loose and not focused on its central themes. Overall, the book was not our favorite, but it was great to read. 

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