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Madapple by Christina Meldrum
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4995120,441 (3.66)14



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Narrated by Kirsten Potter. As the story unfolds and goes back and forth between Aslaug's past and her court trial of the present, you're never quite sure where the story will go. How does her sheltered and unconventional upbringing tie in to the aunt and cousins she reconnects with after her mother's death? Is Aslaug a cold-blooded murderer or unwittingly caught in a trap of cultural differences? Mysticism, religion, exotic plants, incest, and family dysfunction weave the strands of this unusual and intriguing story; Kirsten Potter's superb narration hypnotizes and draws you into the mystery. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
No. Just no. What I thought was going to be a murder mystery turned into a strange religious/sex assault tale that I just wasn't a fan of. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 30, 2014 |
Hallucinatory prose peels back layer by layer to reveal things hidden in plain sight. Very well done, if a little dense. A lot of botanical information and some fascinating comparative religion are threaded through the story, which is more like a mystery than not. I can't think of a way to describe it other than hallucinatory, which I've already said. Strong themes that will be sure to get this banned from school libraries. Worthwhile and certifiably strange. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Aslaug has lived an isolated life with her mother in the woods of Maine. A disturbing story is revealed in alternating chapters. One set of chapters reveals the course of Aslaug's life in the summer of 2003. The other reveals Aslaug on trial in 2007, for a crime that isn't even revealed until very late in the book.

These are some crazy *itches. I'm sorry, but that's the logical place to start this.

Aslaug appears to be an innocent victim, living in a house with her mother where they don't have electricity and all the windows are boarded over. Is it to keep the world out or Aslaug in?

When she finally starts to meet other people, she's woefully unprepared for what she finds. She doesn't understand a lot of modern technology, she's brilliant with languages but doesn't understand everyday slang, and she doesn't realize the evil that people can hold in their hearts. Well, evil probably isn't the right word. I'll try again. The evil that fanaticism can lead people to. Save us all from fanatics of any flavor. Is there anything scarier than someone who is doing crazy, hurtful things because they believe that God, Allah, the Easter Bunny, or anyone else has told them it's their sacred duty to do so?

I can't say that I enjoyed this--I was too upset throughout most of it for that. But I'm still mulling over some of the religious history that I read here. This is a book to get under your skin and unsettle you for a while. If you're in the mood for that, go for it. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |

Apart from a few annoyingly unanswered questions, this book was simply fantastic. I had been misinformed about [b:Madapple|2834214|Madapple|Christina Meldrum|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320522699s/2834214.jpg|3151862] and believed it to be a book mostly about teen pregnancy, but though the book does contain this, it is actually about much more exciting stuff. It's realistic fiction and yet there's this beauty to the writing that makes it read like a fantasy - a modern day United States setting that still manages to seem completely out of this world.

I'm disappointed that more people don't love this, but I suppose I can see why the lengthy herbology lessons make it an unlikely crowd-pleaser. I actually felt it really added something to [b:Madapple|2834214|Madapple|Christina Meldrum|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320522699s/2834214.jpg|3151862] and wasn't dull at all, it seemed to increase the sense that I was reading a book about magic. The story alternates between the past and a present day trial in a courtroom where Aslaug is being accused of murder and arson. I really enjoyed this unique format and found it made the mystery all the more interesting.

However, the best things about [b:Madapple|2834214|Madapple|Christina Meldrum|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320522699s/2834214.jpg|3151862] - in my opinion - are the discussions about mythology and religion that I found fascinating. Both those subjects interest me and I liked how the characters explored ways in which science and religion can live alongside one another without being mutually exclusive. Did any of you read [b:The Da Vinci Code|968|The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)|Dan Brown|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1303252999s/968.jpg|2982101] or [b:Angels and Demons|960|Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)|Dan Brown|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1303390735s/960.jpg|3338963] and find yourselves secretly (or not so secretly) enjoying the tales about religion and how it has developed over the centuries with the aid of popular myths... and then remember that you're not supposed to like this because [a:Dan Brown|630|Dan Brown|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1206553442p2/630.jpg] is a pretty terrible writer?

This novel is like that only without the poor writing. Things like this really had me intrigued:

"Dionysus was a god-man, he was worshipped in Greece six centuries before Christ. His mother was a mortal - and a virgin. His father was the god Zeus. He was born around the time of the winter solstice. Late December. Many of the stories about him describe him sleeping in a manger after his birth. As an adult, he was a teacher who performed miracles. He encouraged his followers to liberate themselves from society's rules and promised them new life. Dionysus also rose from the dead and was called the 'Only Bergotten Son', 'King of Kings', 'Alpha and Omega' and 'Savior'. Sound familiar?"

I adore this kind of stuff. I also like how [a:Christina Meldrum|1183644|Christina Meldrum|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1283188345p2/1183644.jpg] does not force any one belief on the reader with her novel, she explores, studies, opens the mind and straddles the line between scepticism and belief. [b:Madapple|2834214|Madapple|Christina Meldrum|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320522699s/2834214.jpg|3151862] is a beautiful, interesting, moving, sad and captivating novel that deserves far more love than it's been getting, IMO anyway. ( )
  emleemay | Mar 30, 2013 |
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For Doug, who believed, and for our miracles, Jacob and Owen. And for my mother, who sees God in every Mad Apple.
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The women resemble schoolgirls with gangly limbs, ruddy cheeks, plaited flaxen hair; they walk holding hands.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375851763, Hardcover)

THE SECRETS OF the past meet the shocks of the present.
Aslaug is an unusual young woman. Her mother has brought her up in near isolation, teaching her about plants and nature and language—but not about life. Especially not how she came to have her own life, and who her father might be.

When Aslaug’s mother dies unexpectedly, everything changes. For Aslaug is a suspect in her mother’s death. And the more her story unravels, the more questions unfold. About the nature of Aslaug’s birth. About what she should do next.

About whether divine miracles have truly happened. And whether, when all other explanations are impossible, they might still happen this very day.

Addictive, thought-provoking, and shocking, Madapple is a page-turning exploration of human nature and divine intervention—and of the darkest corners of the human soul.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:59 -0400)

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A girl who has been brought up in near isolation is thrown into a twisted web of family secrets and religious fundamentalism when her mother dies and she goes to live with relatives she never knew she had.

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