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The Life Room

2.9  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Eleanor Cahn is a professor of literature, the wife of a preeminent cardiac surgeon, and a devoted mother. But on a trip to Paris to present a paper on Anna Karenina, Eleanor re-connects with Stephen—a childhood friend with whom she has had a complicated relationship—that forces her to realize that she has suppressed her passionate self for years. As the novel unfolds, we ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Jan 20, 2009 Kristen rated it it was ok
Shelves: effed-up-moms
I was on board with Bialosky for the first 2/3 of the book.
I overlooked the cheesy characterization of her main character having two different color eyes, just so you know that she is 'of two minds.' I got quite tired of the descriptions of the different shades of her eyes in response to outside stimulus. People saw what they wanted to see in her.
I also had a hard time with the parallels of Eleanor's life with Anna Karenina. It was a stretch at best, I felt like I was being led and then pushed.
Jun 12, 2013 Diana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mom-books
I think the reason that this book gets five stars from me is the simple fact that Jill Bialosky created a female character that is complicated yet real. I have not read Anna Karenina, and I don't plan on reading it. However, I could see the ties from Eleanor's life and Anna's, and while I will admit it was cheesy at times, it was also beautiful. Eleanor, like most women who are infatuated with the arts, is not content with the conventional way of life. She wants the thrills of romanticism and ...more
T.J. Silverio
Aug 31, 2016 T.J. Silverio rated it it was ok
My reaction to this story is mixed. Jill Bialosky attempted to capture the story of conflicted passion and loss in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina but it becomes in my view too obvious and ultimately unsuccessful. Interestingly about a third of the way through the story, in section II, she switches the POV from third person past tense to first person present tense. As a writer myself, at first I found this unsettling, it knocked me out of the story and I had to go back and make sure what I had been ...more
Carelisle Jaenn Hermosada Cabalan

3 Stars!!!

Eleanor Cahn's blue and green eye are beautiful and somehow she is a twisted woman. She has four men in her life, Michael; her husband, Adam, the married artist she had encountered with, William, her teenage boyfriend and Stephen, her childhood friend.

This book actually made me realize how difficult it is to delimit your emotions especially if you're a married woman, This character (Eleanor) felt an urge to cheat on her husband due to her unfinished business with Stephen. She knows sh
Nov 22, 2011 Lori rated it it was ok
I liked the concept. I like any novel that explores art and literature because I find it intellectually stimulating. While I would recommend this book, I definitely don't consider it a well written novel or that great of a story.

I didn't like the character of Eleanor and I don't think she was truly developed or anything remotely like Anna Karenina despite the author's overblown attempts to make her comparable. If anything it is the men to whom Eleanor attaches herself that are tragic. The autho
Mar 11, 2009 Lisa rated it it was ok
I think I may have read one too many stifled, married woman books lately. Or maybe too much "Anna Karenina" based stuff recently. Or both. But this one just didn't do it for me. Bialosky can write beautifully. But I didn't like any of the adults (although I'm not sure I was supposed to but I should at least care about what happens to them). And the last 100+ pages dragged for me. I would probably give it 2.5 stars if that were an option.

Reading it for a book club (and reading it well ahead of t
Apr 17, 2015 Realmforgoth rated it it was amazing
This book conjured memories I thought I've buried deep. Reading it made me feel like I can't get up in the morning. Bialosky's good at making things so real, yet unreal. It's dark - I felt morose, hopeless. Every line rarely means nothing. It's so good I don't want to finish it. I digested line by line, and if I miss anything I would go through it once again. Oh one thing that I don't agree is the ending - too simple.
Jennifer Paisley Schuch
Jun 09, 2009 Jennifer Paisley Schuch rated it did not like it
this is a frustrating book. I'm exhausted after reading just a few pages... I feel like the author is trying to make the main character deep, thought provoking, emotionally torn blah blah blah... but she just tries too hard. too much of a struggle, to the point it just seems over exaggerated. and I normally love the conflicted self type of book. I'l continue reading just because I can't stand to put yet another book down unfinished.
Jul 20, 2007 Leisa rated it liked it
I liked things about this book, the way she weaving the literature themes into the life of her character. It is mostly a book about one women's internal life. However, I could never identify with the movtivation of the main character. Overall, not quite satisfying - it just seemed a "near miss" to be really good.
Apr 15, 2015 Robin rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-like
Maybe i cannot judge this book, because i did not finish it. I disliked mostly all the characters so much that the thought of being with them any longer was more than i could take. I stopped reading it so all i can say, is that it was not for me.
Dec 03, 2007 Nancy rated it did not like it
The writing is beautiful in this book, but the author doesn't have much for her main character to say. She's whiney, self-involved, and boring. It's too bad, because the books starts out strong. I couldn't read it all.
Feb 13, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Interesting and intellectual. Has alot of art/scholarly references but it's relatable and entertaining and talks alot about interpersonal relationships. Not a totally happy story, but it read really quickly and easily. Good book to read while on vacation.
Jan 16, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok
I only made it about 1/3 of the way through and just couldn't finish it...wasn't horrible but wasn't good enough to continue reading, either.
May 22, 2010 Clarice marked it as to-read
Hmm, don't know about this book after reading the reviews, but hey, it was $1.00 at Borders. I had no idea you could find deals like that at the bookstore!
Jan 28, 2009 Dana is currently reading it
This is taking me awhile, which is very unusual, but I'm enjoying it while simultaneously being made uncomfortable.
Roslyn Torella
Aug 02, 2013 Roslyn Torella rated it it was ok
I finished the book, but it was an effort. I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I kept reading it hoping I would like it better.
Moe Gatto
Moe Gatto rated it it was amazing
Aug 16, 2014
Jun 07, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
This book was deep but I loved every minute of it!
Amy rated it liked it
Jun 21, 2008
Jennifer rated it liked it
Mar 21, 2008
Andy rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2014
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Susan rated it liked it
Jul 05, 2009
Debra rated it it was ok
Oct 21, 2007
Hoyadaisy rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2015
Sue ☕️
Sue ☕️ rated it really liked it
May 11, 2015
Julie Hedlund
Julie Hedlund rated it really liked it
Sep 27, 2010
Maureen rated it really liked it
Oct 10, 2013
Marcyesmith rated it did not like it
Aug 12, 2015
Sara rated it it was amazing
Aug 31, 2009
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Jill Bialosky was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She studied for her undergraduate degree at Ohio University and received a Master of Arts degree from the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

Her collections of poems are Subterranean (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001) and The End of Desire (1997). Bialosky is also the author of
More about Jill Bialosky...

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