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The Humanity Project

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,061 ratings  ·  196 reviews
After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn’t quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a sullen adolescent girl. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and wel ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Blue Rider Press
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I wanted to like The Humanity Project. It is beautifully written, and many of the characters really tugged at my heartstrings, but in the end, there were some things that just didn't work for me.

The book starts out very well. A 15-year-old girl, Linnea, witnesses a shooting at her high school, which takes the life of her hated step-sister. Because her mother can't seem to handle Linnea's post-shooting emotions, she is shipped off to live with Art, the father she has never known. There she comes
Virtually all the characters in The Humanity Project are in the process of redefining who they are and what it means to be human. They’re lonely, adrift, down on their luck, trying to reinvent themselves…even rename themselves.

Jean Thompson is first and foremost an outstanding short story writer, and in these sketches, her key talent shows through. There’s Linnea, a damaged teenager who is exiled from her home to live with her absent birth father after she witnesses the school shooting of her ha
I think I would actually give it 2.5 stars. It had a good premise and I liked how the characters all sort of connected in a haphazard way. However, I kept waiting for the two young characters to connect better...better conversations, confidements, etc and never really got that. Also, I kept waiting for them to be connected through the "Humanity Project" I kept expecting the project itself to benefit and change their lives and it doesn't, it kind of sits int he background. Some of the characters ...more
I’m not good at going to a store and randomly picking a piece of fiction to read. I often decide what to read next due to it either being well reviewed or having a friend with good literary taste recommend it. I find I’m far better at predicting if I’ll like a non-fiction title just by reading the blurb on the back, so this being a fiction title that had yet been released made me nervous.

Much to my relief, I enjoyed this book from cover-to-cover. I didn’t know what to expect with its descriptor
This book just annoyed me. With a title like "The Humanity Project" I had high hopes. So disappointed.

The characters in the book had so many "worldly" problems I groaned many times, rolled my eyes, and just felt aggravated with every single one of the characters. The author makes light of God and religion and turns these problems as real problems (which they are, but so many could be avoided) so that just annoyed me too.

The author tied everything up nicely at the end. I guess. Not worth the rea
Let the Great World Spin, A Visit from the Goon Squad, all the novels that have landed on the shelves in bookshops riding the wave of the Emotional and Surprising Power of Our Intertwining Fates. I get it. And I'll admit to having gone into this having been unable to get into Thompson's writing in the past despite it being assured and well-crafted but the characters never transformed from names on the page into anyone I could care about, let alone in whom I could invest.
Poor copy editing, magical minorities, first world problems, and nonsense.
I really enjoy and admire Jean Thompson's prose. I kept reading this book because of that. But, for the book as a whole, I'm not sure what to make of the unending sadness, unhappiness, and misery of the characters. Life certainly has those periods for everyone, but reading this is not a cheery proposition. There were times that the writing and story lines reminded me of something that T.Coraghessan Boyle might have done. This is not a bad reference, as I also like Boyle's writing a lot.

The diff
Can you pay people to be good? If so, what would it cost?

Jean Thompson's newest novel, The Humanity Project, poses these questions before introducing a wide array of drastically different characters bound together with lose connections. Most of the story centers around Linnea, a teenage girl thrown off course by the shooting that takes place in her high school. Her reactionary, wild behavior causes her mother to send Linnea across the country to live with her father, Art, who she barely knows. C
Larry Hoffer
I'd rate this book 3.5 stars.

It takes a skilled author to create flawed characters that interest you and cause you to empathize with them even if you don't necessarily sympathize with them. But in Jean Thompson's new novel, The Humanity Project, a meditation on the flaws that make us human and an examination of whether or not we can redeem ourselves after doing something wrong, she does just that. I don't know that I'd want to spend any appreciable amount of time with any of these characters, bu
Melissa Lee-tammeus
This book is a snippet of lives that intersect with one another to ultimately tell a story of our fragile human qualities. The characters are appealing - a daughter who witnesses a shooting at her school, whose father is quite clumsy in the area of relationships, who has a neighbor who nurses a lonely rich woman who begins a foundation that helps a homeless man who is the father of a son who struggles to make it in the world who dates a girl who has moved in with her father after she witnesses a ...more
Patrice Hoffman
The Humanity Project is a very moving novel that relates the stories of the characters in larger story that encompasses hope, redemption, love, and resiliance. The characters in this novel include Linnea, who after surviving a high school shooting, is sent to live with her estranged father, Art, in an effort to assuage her guilt. Sean, the single father of Connor, is addicted to painkillers after an extremely serious car accident leaves him wondering what happened to his self and the driver of t ...more
Sue Heraper
The plot revolves around the messy lives of two Northern California divorced single fathers who each are raising a teenager. Sean's house is going into foreclosure as he struggles to find work and battles his addition to painkillers after an accident. His son Conner tries petty thievery before he is given employment doing odd jobs for a wealthy widow, Mrs. Foster. Art, a part-time college instructor, has played no part in his daughter Linnea's life until she moves in with him after becoming a di ...more
Picked as one of our Amazon Best Book of the Month. In my Amazon review I wrote:
When a school shooting sends a damaged teen named Linnea to live with her lazy, pot-smoking father in California, she becomes immersed in a world in which everyone nurses a deep sense of economic doom and financial hopelessness. “Times were bad for everybody, everybody had it coming” writes Thompson. And this: “The world was one big goddam banana peel, waiting for you to slip on it.” One character feels like “they’
Deon Stonehouse
Jean Thompson has a way of getting to the heart of her characters, flawed people trying to do their best in a world not always kind. Here she shifts perspective from individuals, linked through proximity or circumstance. Linnea survives a shooting at her high school; she is left feeling guilty and tarnished by her enmity to one of the victims. She is sent to live with her father, Art, a man unprepared for and confused by the challenges in raising a troubled teenager on his own. Art lives next do ...more
I liked it. I didn't love it, and I don't think it'll be a book that lingers with me for years and years. Thompson does a good job with her many characters, and each one seems strong and distinct. The problem was I didn't get to know any of them well enough. Her narrative skips around between at least five characters, at times leaving one in a cliff-hanger chapter ending that's resolved off-stage (or not referred to again).

The book does bring up questions about humanity and exactly how far we ar
I'm really confused by this book. Overall, I liked it, although the title I think is somewhat misleading as is the description of the book. I'm not sure why they chose to call it The Humanity Project, as it seems like very little of the book actually has to do with this. I kept waiting for it to be a more integral part of the story and it didn't happen. Also it talked about the mission of this foundation and the possibility of paying people to be good, and that went absolutely no where. So... I ...more
Jhanna Shaghaghi
The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson is about the lives of many different people, mostly revolving around Linnea, who has just witnessed her disliked stepsister die in a school shooting.

The book tells the character’s stories through their own point of view, each chapter being a different person. All of these characters are connected to each other and tell their own parts of the story. Basically, Linnea has just been in a school shooting that killed her stepsister. While she was dealing with the
Rod Raglin
Jean Thompson begins The Humanity Project by masterfully introducing characters, all flawed, and to some degree living desperate lives.

Then, when a wealthy, elderly woman wants to use her fortune to form a non-profit, charitable society to promote human virtue, the author connects this disparate people to the cause and uses them to address some disturbing problems plaguing western society including underemployment, homelessness, random violence, and marriage breakdown.

She takes it further and
Andrea MacPherson
I love Thompson's writing, and her ability to craft deeply flawed characters that I still care about and engage with as a reader. I'll continue to read her books just for the sheer ease with which she utilizes prose.

The Humanity Project, however, fell a bit flat for me in terms of plot construction and resolution. Thompson dips into five different characters and explores their individual stories (which are interconnected, not giving anything away). There is a lot of potential in this structure,
This book is an exploration of what causes people to make bad choices for themselves, and whether there's anything that will just get them to be "good" — or at least live up to their full potential. Along the way, we run into people who do good things for bad reasons, people who do bad things for good reasons, people who probably aren't trying hard enough, and people you wouldn't dare judge, because you might do exactly the same thing under the same circumstances. Plus a couple of selfish jerks ...more
I received this book in a goodreads first reads giveaway.

A surprisingly optimistic story, for a novel that begins with a school shooting. Lots of very distinct/memorable/sometimes eccentric characters, even the minor ones. My only real issue is that I felt the epilogue was maybe a bit too tidy.
Had to force myself to finish this book and skimmed a lot of it. The title made me think that there would be such a thing as a humanity project and that that would be an interesting concept and theme. Instead the book was populated by mostly unlikable characters who were extremely annoying and hapless: an adult pot head loser who smokes pot with his kid, parents who got rid of their children cos they were in their way; sullen teens; a teen psychopath; loser woman meeting men on-line and treating ...more
A deceptively simple novel that reads as a succinct and modern Dickens tale. I enjoyed the story and Thompson's writing very much. Highly recommend. I'm going to go and read Thompson's other novels now--I'm excited to have found her work.
Sarah Sullivan
I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. Really well written, compelling characters, sad but not interminably. Recommended.
Reading For Sanity
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This book involves honest characters with real problems. Linnea goes to live with her dad in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. She is shipped off after surviving a shooting at her high school. Her stepsister dies as a result of the tragedy, and her stepfather harbors resentment Linnea came out unscathed. Linnea's father, Art, teaches at a local community college. He's quirky, and set in his bachelor ways, but quickly learns to adjust to raising a teenage daughter. Their downstairs neigh ...more

Dear Reader,

For some reason, I was REALLY eager to read this book for quite some time when it first came out. But, when I finally got my hands on it, it was nothing like I was expecting. I loved the idea of examining the philosophy behind what makes a person do good in the world, but the story itself was kind of ... superficial. Very interesting how the book revolves quite a bit around a school shooting, which feels still a little soon and a bit too raw for a lot of people these da
The story revolves around a 15 year old girl, Linnea, who survives a school shooting. She is understandably traumatized and acts out and is sent to live with her father whom she hasn't seen since she was 2.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one after reading the synopsis on the book jacket. I am sick at heart over the senseless gun violence - ALL of it.

The author does a great job of pacing and dialog in this book. Every chapter is told from a different character's perspective building to a cr
In The Humanity Project, Jean Thompson creates a colorful cast of characters who are trying to get through life the best they can.

Linnea is a bitter teenager who witnessed a school shooting that killed her stepsister. Linnea’s father, Art, is a part-time community college instructor who longs for a love life and a better career. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a visiting nurse who hopes to find inner peace and happiness.

Sean is a washed-up, defeated construction worker whose body is crippled from
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Steak Scene 4 15 Aug 24, 2013 12:42PM  
loose ends, dropped story lines, triumphs and tragedies 2 12 Aug 19, 2013 07:30PM  
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Jean Thompson is a New York Times bestselling author and her new novel, The Humanity Project will be published by Blue Rider Press on April 23, 2013.

Thompson is also the author of the novel The Year We Left Home, the acclaimed short fiction collections Do Not Deny Me, and Throw Like a Girl as well as the novel City Boy; the short story collection Who Do You Love, and she is a 1999 National Book A
More about Jean Thompson...
The Year We Left Home Throw Like a Girl Do Not Deny Me Who Do You Love: Stories The Witch And Other Tales Re-Told

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“You wanted to believe that getting older, growing up, would change everything, transform you into the amazing person you were meant to be. But what if it didn't? What if you had to stay you forever?” 6 likes
“We were afraid of so many things: Of our children, who lived in their own world of casually lurid pleasures, zombies and cartoon killers and thuggish music. Of our neighbors, who were buying gold and ammunition and great quantities of freeze-dried food, and who were organizing themselves into angry tribes recognizable to one another by bumper stickers.” 3 likes
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