Sunday, August 31, 2014

Netherlands Adventures!: Where I Live Now

I have arrived safe and sound in the Netherlands as of Wednesday!

I made this video for Central College, but this is also for my friends and family who would like to know what my living situation is like.  This is just the inside of my building.  There will definitely be a post about Leiden in the future!  Right now I'm a little overwhelmed because there are still so many new things happening-- I feel like I have so much to talk about already, but I haven't even been here a week!

Tot Ziens!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Predeparture: Oh My God I Leave Today

The day has come!  At the time this post is live on my blog, I leave for the airport in four hours.  

Last night I spent a good hour-and-a-half choke-sob-gasping with my boyfriend and again with his littlest sister (she's such a sweetie).  Just the prospect of leaving them finally made me feelings come to a head and burst from me.  I knew full well that this was coming-- a sad and tearful goodbye followed by "We'll see you in December/January!" but I never anticipated how hard saying goodbye, even just for a semester, would be.  It's gut-wrenching.  I've spent weeks trying not to cry and now the flood gates are opened.  But last night wasn't the end of it.  Today when I go to the airport, my boyfriend is coming with my family to send me off.  Even more sobbing is bound to ensue because of him and because I'll be saying goodbye to my parents and my sister until they come and visit me in November.  I guess what I've learned from this is, it's okay to cry.  It's okay to be sad.  There's no reason to try and stop yourself from feeling these things.  It's only bad if it's interfering with the life you want.

I'm about to embark on this really great (I hope) chapter in my life.  Only 10% of college students (previous college students and current college students) and counting choose to go abroad during their college career.  Few decide to spend a semester or a year abroad.  On the one hand, I think "Why wouldn't you take an opportunity like this?" and on the other I'm thinking, "I don't blame you."  I'm not walking into the next semester thinking that everything is going to be easy to handle and hunky-dory all the time.  That's completely unrealistic.  This semester abroad has already presented me with challenges, and I haven't even left the country yet.  

I know that I'm going to do a lot of learning over the next semester.  Not just in classes, but out in the world as I learn how to navigate my area and other parts of Europe, learn how to rely on myself, and more.  This is a great opportunity for me.  I'm genuinely excited, despite the trials and tribulations I've gone through so far.

I've known for years that I was going to study abroad while I was in college.  I never thought that I would study abroad in the Netherlands, of all places.  I never thought that I would go to a place where I don't know the primary language (in this case, Dutch).  I never thought that I would live in a smallish town, even temporarily (Leiden is very much a college town, so when students leave, there aren't very many people).  While I knew that I'd be going abroad and meeting all kinds of people, I never thought that I would study in such an international hub.

My flight takes off at 10pm from Minneapolis, MN (if all goes well and everything is on time).  My flight is about 8 hours long, but I will be able to sleep for at least half of my flight as I try to adjust to the timezone the Netherlands is in (7 hours ahead of me) before I even get there.  After I land in the afternoon, I'll take the train from the airport in Amsterdam to Leiden, and then walk to my new school (the current plan is to walk, any way).
View Larger Map
I won't guarantee that you'll see a blog post or a video right away.  I'll get hold of my family, of course, and let them know that I've arrived safely and that I'm happy and healthy, but I won't write or record anything until I've had a chance to get my bearings and acclimated a bit.  My goal is not to spend as much time on this blog as possible, but to soak up the city, meet as many new people as I possibly can, and be as Dutch as this American can possibly be.
This will be the last 'Predeparture' post from me.  From now on, my study abroad posts will be labeled 'Netherlands Adventures!'  As I've probably said before, my book reviews will keep coming, but most of them have been stockpiled and scheduled.  This will ensure that I'm not spending an exorbitant amount of time away from my new environment.
Until next time, Tot Ziens!

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Review of 'Eragon' by Christopher Paolini (Audio Book)

"One boy...

One dragon...

A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter.  But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power.  With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?  The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands."

I have read this book once before when I was younger.  So since I had a lot of time over the summer to work and listen to audio books, I was excited to find this and take a listen.  I thought it would be good to read again because I remember really liking this book when I was younger.

This time while I was hearing the story, I realized how engrossing this story is.  I remember I was watering part of my area and my boss came up behind me and tried to talk to me, but I couldn't hear him.  Any other time I've been listening to an audio book, I've been able to emerge into the real world at a moment's notice, but this time I needed a little more prodding.  It was nice to return to this feeling.  I love books that allow me to disappear, even for a short while.

Returning to true fantasy literature has been refreshing.  As I've grown up, I've gotten more and more into realistic fiction-- no dragons, no magic, and these stories often involve depression, discussions of suicide, teen pregnancy, among other difficult events one may experience in their lifetime.  'Eragon' definitely has its share of hardships, but the funny thing about fantasy literature is that it allows you to feel removed from the story due to the fantastic events that happen while also feeling strangely connected.  I'm sure many of us know what it's like to lose someone we love.  Some people may have experienced a mysterious connection with someone even if they haven't known each other very long.  It's just like when Eragon loses Garrow or when Roran leaves to become an apprentice or when he first speaks to Sapphira.

The one thing that ground my nerves as I listened to this book was the amount of detail that was included.  I love knowing everything I can about a good story, but I think I've found my limit.  Eragon would make a decision and Brom would say no and explain why Eragon's idea was a bad one with a list of ten very detailed reasons.  It was too much.  I didn't feel like I was trusted as a reader to fill in some of the blanks.  It wasn't just when Eragon was trying to make decisions, it was all the time.  I didn't like that some of the wonder was taken out of the story purely because of over-explaining.

If you're looking for an engrossing book and potentially something from your childhood (if you're in your twenties like I am, at least), 'Eragon' is the book for you!  I'll read or listen to 'Eldest' and 'Brisingr' in the future.

I give 'Eragon':
Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

How To Be A Decent Roommate

Fall semester for Universities are starting very soon, if they haven't already.  For a lot of students, they'll be living with their first roommate or are returning and want a better experience than last year.  I have had four roommates total over the past two years and most of my friends have been roommates themselves.  I have stories and they've told me some of their horror stories about their worst roommates.  I don't claim to be the world's most perfect roommate, but if you're just entering college or getting into a situation where you have a roommate, this list is for you.  I think you'll have a better experience with your roommate.***
This sounds a little dysfunctional to me....
1. Make a Roommate Agreement and Follow it.  It sounds stupid and it'll feel stupid when you're doing it, but it's actually a really helpful tool.  If you're attending college, they'll might give you a contract to go through with your roommate(s).  If there is no pre-made contract for you, make sure to say what's really important to you.  Is it okay if your roommate uses your dishes?  Say so.  Would you be really bothered if they borrowed clothes from your closet?  Say that.  Do you have a particular time of day when you really need it quiet?  Get it out in the open.  This is a space to say what's okay and what's not and to inform the other of your major habits before they find out the hard way.  It's a worthwhile courtesy.

2. Use Your Words, Not Your Fists (Or Other Assorted Weapons).  Things aren't always going to be hunky-dory in your dorm or apartment.  Sometimes you'll say stupid things to each other and you'll get offended.  Sometimes you'll be doing something that's really bothersome.  Instead of getting really mad and possibly resorting to physical violence, talk.  If your roommate really needs to wash their dishes due to lack of space or a mysterious odor, tell them.  If you really offended each other, take a break, but then come back and talk about it.  Write down what you want to say if you have to.  You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, but you do need to make a valiant effort towards living with them.  You might as well make your time together bearable.  On the other hand, maybe you're the perpetrator as opposed to the victim in this situation.  Your job is to hear your roommate.  Hear what they're saying and do your best to fix whatever behavior is causing trouble.  The worst thing you could do is ignore your roommate's concerns.

3. Take care of yourself.  I mean this in two ways.  The first way is literal-- shower, brush your teeth, etc.  Your roommate(s) have to live with you.  If you're not taking care of yourself, they're going to suffer just as much as you.  Plus, you're putting your roommates in the position to act as your parent, which they never signed up to do.  Your roommate's job is not to tell you to take a shower or put some deodorant on.  They're there to sleep and possibly to go to school.  They have better things to do with their day.

The second way is to take stock of yourself.  Is this living situation working well for you?  Is your roommate giving you space to get the things that need to be finished done?  Can you afford to be in this living situation, roommates aside?  If you and your roommate just can't get along no matter how many times you've talked and no matter what either of you has done to fix it, it's time to move on.  If you can't afford your part of the rent or utilities, that's a problem and you need to find a way to work that out too.  If you are having trouble doing your work in your living space, you need to address the problem or find somewhere to go where you can get work done.

4. Don't Let Just One Person Buy Everything.  I didn't have too much of a problem with this, but one of my former roommates had bad roommates that would take advantage of her and expect her to buy things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other things that one would regularly need.  This depends a little bit on what kind of living situation you have.  If you're living in a dorm, you probably don't have to split up those daily things, but things like furniture and common decorations will need to be discussed.  If you're living in a suite or an apartment (on or off campus) you'll need to figure out some furniture and these daily things.  If just one person is buying a majority or all of the things you both need/want, you're going to have some tension and a potentially angry roommate.  Figure out what you absolutely need and split it up as evenly as possible.

5. To A Certain Extent, Be Flexible and Understanding.  Be open to experience and different lifestyles.  If you don't, you're going to cause a rift between you and your roommate, which is super uncomfortable.  If you have a Muslim roommate who needs to pray five times a day, don't demand that they stop or adjust their schedule because it's an inconvenience to you.  If your roommate is Wiccan and is performing rituals that are different and foreign to you, don't treat them like they're crazy or need an exorcism via the nearest Catholic priest-- ask questions and make an effort to understand.  If your roommate likes to exercise at night, ask them about it or try joining in instead of staring and wondering when they're going to stop.  No matter what situation you're in, I have one BIG or overarching piece of advice: Never assume that your roommate is trying to change or affect you in any way.  They're living their life just like you.  Make an effort to understand what is important to your roommate and respect them.  Respect will probably be returned to you.

These are some important things to think about if you're getting into a situation where you'll live with a roommate.  I hope this helps!

Do you have any roommate horror stories?  What did you learn from having a roommate?

Thanks for Reading!


***Disclaimer: this post does not guarantee that you will be best friends with your roommate or even that you will function well together.  These are just some challenges that I or some of my friends have encountered while being roommates ourselves and is not a prediction or a definite fact of what your roommate experience will be like.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Predeparture: Loose Ends

I have one week left before I leave for my semester in the Netherlands.  Things have been quite busy these past few months, but I didn't want to talk about them until the biggest things had been resolved and arranged.  So here are some things I've been working on over the summer regarding the Netherlands.

Classes and Applications.  The program that I'm traveling through, Central College Abroad, has a partnership with two nearby schools in Leiden, the Netherlands-- Leiden University and Webster University.  So students going through Central College can take classes at these universities to accompany classes they're taking through Central College.  I knew this was an opportunity that I could take advantage of, and I wanted to, but I didn't really know what I was supposed to do in order to have this opportunity.  Apparently I was supposed to apply to the college that I wanted by 1 April of this year.  But I hadn't gotten that memo.  Long story short, I applied any way in June and have been going back and forth with a lady at Leiden University (she's been incredibly helpful and patient with me) and with the head of the philosophy department at my university trying to figure out what classes would work for me and a few days ago, I received my acceptance letter.  So now, I don't know my Central College classes for sure (I know what I want, but I can't sign up until I get there), but I know that I'm taking Political Philosophy and History of Modern Philosophy at Leiden University and I will finish my philosophy minor here!

Blogging.  I've been rearranging this blog and making it pretty, but I've also been given the opportunity to be the official Video Blogger (vlogger) for Central College Abroad (for the Leiden program).  I'm excited because this is something that I'll be able to put down on my resume!  I'm also excited because this will be a good challenge for me.  I'm expected to make roughly a video a week, so I'll have to think about things to talk about, film, edit, and post.  It'll help me practice what I learned in my speech class last fall and in my video production class the spring before that.  I love using skills that I learn!  I've made one video already.  It's my welcome message and it includes bits about packing and things like that.  I also use my non-blog name (so scandalous...).

You can also read and watch what other people in the Central College Abroad program are up to throughout the semester HERE.  There are programs in France, Spain, Austria, Mexico, Wales, etc.  There's tons to explore and you need only look!  Now is also a good time to start applying for Spring 2015 programs, if you're interested in studying abroad!

So what do I have left to do at this point?

  • Change my return ticket (because I have classes at Leiden University and their classes go later than Central College, I will need to stay in the Netherlands longer than anticipated)
  • Finish packing (I was going to make a separate post, but that will either not happen or will be apart of my arrival in Leiden post/video)
  • Print out important maps and paperwork (just in case)
  • Make sure I have housing after my Central College program ends (see point 1 in this short list)
  • Get books for school (won't be done until after arrival in Leiden)
  • Board the plane (the most exciting and terrifying step)
My plate is full and my brain is tired from figuring things out and getting ready, but I really am excited.  Once I arrive in Leiden, I know that everything will be just fine.  Right now, I'm really nervous because this is something I've been waiting for my entire life (not much of an exaggeration) and it used to feel unreachable, but that's not really the case anymore.

While I'm studying abroad, there will be book reviews (I've been stockpiling a bit) but if you're here specifically for my study abroad posts, I will put a link in the side bar replacing my countdown clock that'll lead you to all of my predeparture and Netherlands Adventures posts for your convenience.

Thanks for Reading!  It's strange to think that next week I'll be writing to you from Leiden, the Netherlands!


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Review of 'Roomies' by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (Audio Book)

"It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge.  The first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of emails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer-- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex.  With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives... and each other.  Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful email that assigns your college roommate."

This story was closest to my experience with roommates my second year of college.  During my second year, I lived with three other people I didn't know, so we communicated with each other via email before meeting face-to-face.  We never became as close as E.B. and Lauren became.  It took us meeting face-to-face and completely moving in for us to even begin to get comfortable with each other.  In that respect, Roomies felt unrealistic.

I wanted more of the story to take place in the actual dorm room.  Sadly, I was disappointed.  We only get to see E.B. and Lauren meet in person and move in (a little).  I feel like they could have dealt with the struggles they went through the summer before college while they were physically at college.  Dealing with roommates is a lot more interesting in person than it is via internet communication, even if you're dealing with your family or boy drama.  Another thing is that it's one thing to talk about growing up and experiencing change, but it's another thing entirely to actively be going through change and actively growing up as you learn to live with someone who isn't your family.  That's why I wanted this story to take place in the dorm.  I thought this story lacked a certain amount of substance because of how and where communication took place.

I have very mixed feelings about this book...

If you're about to go off to college for the first time, this is a good book to start thinking about the challenge you might go through, but take it with a grain of salt.

I give Roomies:
Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

On Reviewing Classic Literature

I have this conflict with myself when it comes to reviewing critically acclaimed books.  Books like "Fahrenheit 451," "The Scarlet Letter," "To Kill A Mockingbird," and "The Catcher in the Rye."  These are books that I have finished and have reviewed already or will soon review.  Reading them was an easy decision to make, but critiquing them was another thing altogether.  I feel like because they're considered to be classic literature and I'd go ever further as to apply the label "timeless" to a lot of these books, that I can't give them anything below four or five stars (according to my rating system).  They've lasted for decades and have been cherished by so many.  Teachers across the U.S., if not across the world, teach these books.  They wouldn't do this if they weren't worth reading, right?  People don't blindly say, "This book changed my life" about amazing books, right?  These things wouldn't happen if these classics weren't 100% perfect and wonderful, right?

By reading some classic literature and thinking about it, I've decided that... no.  Not even the classics are automatically perfect and wonderful.

When I read books, I generally rate them based on how I feel about the following things:
  • Characters
  • Writing style
  • Quality of the message* being conveyed ("Is this message something that I need in my life right now?")
  • Plot
Sometimes books, whether they're considered classic literature or not, have great stories, but the main character sucks or the supporting characters are cardboard.  Maybe a book has superior characters and an amazing story line, but the writer seems not to trust the reader and the message isn't something that I feel is important to my life at the time that I read a book.  Classic literature is not the exception.  Just because a teacher assigns a book in class doesn't mean that I will like it or that it'll be relevant to my life when I read it, whether that's in high school or college.  Just because it's a classic book that I'm reading doesn't mean that it can't have flaws.

Once upon a time, the books that we consider to be all-important and classic were unknown to the world.  No writer is an instant success when they publish their first book (none that I have come across, any way).  I read a lot of books that were written years ago or were published just this year.  Some of them may become classics sometime in my lifetime or even after I'm dead and gone.  There's no way I can know, because I'm not on any official committees to decide what new books will be included in the canon (list of classic literature, essentially.) and which ones are too obsolete for the canon.  I read a book and I figure out how I feel about it.  Books like the Harry Potter series could be officially put on the canon someday-- a set of books that I love.  Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill could become a classic piece of literature (although I sincerely doubt that for a variety of reasons)-- this was a book that I would prefer had never existed in the first place, it was so awful.  And if it does become part of the canon, I now hate a piece of classic literature.

Classic literature started out as books that only a few people knew about and then were deemed representative of the time and timeless (yeah, all at the same time) by a committee of people (probably scholars).  They come from the same place that every other book in existence comes from.  The same general steps are taken, but their fate is up to us entirely.  And that's why it's okay, even today, to review classic literature and really like or really dislike them as you would any other book.

That's where my logic goes any way.  What are your thoughts on this topic?

Thanks for Reading!


*Message here does not necessarily mean the same thing as a lesson.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Review of 'The Beginning of Everything' by Robyn Schneider

"Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them-- a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.  His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in on spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra's knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself that the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe.  Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra's ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread.  And now he must consider: if one's singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings."

Robyn Schneider is a YouTuber as well as a writer.  I've never read her other books, but I was still very excited to get my hands on this book.

This book reminds me of Jerry Spinelli's Star Girl, but fast-forwarded to their Senior Year of high school.

It took me a while to like Ezra.  It took Cassidy to make Ezra interesting enough for me to take seriously and to actually care about.  This both makes me happy and sad.  I'm happy because Ezra turned into a wonderful character.  He had a better idea of what he wanted for himself and what kind of person he wanted to become.  He not only became an interesting person to read about, but he also becomes a character who is interested.  His interest was piqued when he attended the college courses with Cassidy.  He participated in debate and was fairly decent at it (definitely not the best, but probably not the worst).  He is great at history.

I'm sad because all of these things take away from Cassidy.  She is a vitally important character, but you kind of forget that she made Ezra because you hear directly from Ezra who is dealing with his own problems and not getting a ton of information about Cassidy.  Cassidy is a mysterious prop for Ezra.  She's there and we're conscious about it as readers, but she's this wispy, mysterious, impossible to get kind of character.  I want to know more about and hear more directly from Cassidy-- just like I want to hear more from and know more about Star Girl.

Overall, I liked the story, but was a little disappointed with character interactions.  Enough where my complaints about them have dominated this review.

I give 'The Beginning of Everything':
Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

What I've Learned From TLC Shows

During school, while I've been going to classes and doing homework, I've been digging into shows that are aired by the TLC network.  You know, "Sister Wives," "19 Kids and Counting," and "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding," to name a few.  Yes, you can go ahead and judge me.

I call these shows my crappy TV shows.  I watch them during breakfast and when I don't want to think very seriously about anything.  But even though I call them my crappy TV shows and watch every season available just because I can, I'm still learning something.  Learning something from a crappy TV show?  Impossible, right?  Nope.

I have increasingly realized that this network is all about different life styles.  It's for people like me who don't live as a fundamentalist Mormon family would.  It's for people like me who only have one sibling and not 18 siblings.  It's for people like me who don't struggle in a marginalized culture and who would never dream about hosting lavish parties full of what I'd call gaudy clothing and accessories.

The people in these shows lead lives that the average American person doesn't lead.  It's a consensual voyeur experience.  People who don't live lives like these ones are allowed (I'd even go so far as to say welcomed) to look, make their judgments, hear from the people living these out of the ordinary lives, and ask questions about things that are just beyond our comprehension-- things that we would only understand if this situation were ours.

TLC has taught me tolerance and understanding.
I'm uncomfortable even thinking about having a huge and very conservative family.  But I've really come to admire the Duggar family for raising the number of children that they did and homeschooling them all, even if those are choices I wouldn't make for myself or my future family.  

I know that I never want to be a sister wife, but I love hearing from the four moms of "Sister Wives" to get an idea of what it's like to be in the situation they're in (and it has gotten intense, although I haven't finished all seasons of the show yet).  From listening to them, I've learned a little bit about why they wanted to be a sister wife and what's in it for them.  The wives have companionship with each other that wives from separate families just don't have-- can't have, because they aren't joined with the same man.  I'm not a fan of the husband though... I guess I haven't learned tolerance for him.

"My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding" was interesting because I wasn't aware of gypsy culture.  I thought that it was a bad term to use and I didn't realize that they still existed (for lack of a better way to put it).  My idea of a gypsy is very old-fashioned-- wagons, small groups, rural... I'm not sure what else.  So to get a more updated version of this culture was interesting to learn about.  They certainly love their special occasions, and they love it when they're celebrated grandly.

Watching TLC shows certainly isn't a good replacement for watching National Geographic documentaries or the History Channel, but it's a treat to learn about identities and lifestyles that are remote enough where I could have gone my whole life and not have heard anything about them.

Have you learned anything from seemingly crappy TV shows?

Thanks for Reading!


Monday, August 4, 2014

A Review of 'The Witches' by Roald Dahl

"This is not a fairy tale.  This is about real witches.

Grandmamma loves to tell about witches.  Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth.  There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them.  Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories-- but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!"

This is another one I read with my fifth graders.  I tried the tactic of letting them pick their "book club" book and it worked!  They absolutely loved this book!  They loved how The Grand High Witch talked and they liked how they were turning all of the children into mice in order to get rid of them all!  I'll have to try this more often when I'm a teacher... at least with the kids I trust.

This is a really cute younger read.  Roald Dahl certainly has a style of his own.  It's simplistic and yet entertaining.  I like that this story includes the old, the Grandmother's stories about the witches she's heard about and encountered, but also that the old could be mixed with the new when the boy has his own encounter with witches.  Because the witches are dangerous, I was on edge the entire time the boy was stuck in the room with the witch convention.  You don't know his name, but you do end up caring for this boy.

I didn't really care for the ending too much.  In general, I feel like the boy and his grandmother have kind of an unhealthy relationship.  This is really weird to say, but sometimes their relationship felt more like a romantic one than one between grandmother and grandson.  I think it was the line that was kind of like "I'll spend the rest of my life with you, grandmamma.  I love my grandmas, but I don't love them to the point where I want to spend the rest of my life with either one of them.  That's a feeling that I reserve for my boyfriend.  It's true that this boy will spend the rest of his life as a mouse and therefore he'll die sooner and still in mouse form (oops, spoiler), but the phrasing was really strange.  But it's also the way that the grandmother and her grandson spend the end of the book plotting to kill all of the witches (in the world?).  They destroyed these witches because there was a bit of an emergency at hand.  But to finish this job and want more, that's a little scary.

This book is good if you want a fast, simple, and yet clever read.

I give 'The Witches':
Thanks for Reading!