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Blue Diary

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  5,271 ratings  ·  476 reviews
Abridged.

The courage to face the unthinkable is at the core of this magnificent new novel. How do we manage to confront the truths in our lives and find forgiveness in the most unforgiving of circumstances? How do we love truly and deeply in a world that is as brutal as it is beautiful?

When Ethan Ford fails to show up for work on a brilliant summer morning, none of his ne
...more
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 0 pages
Published September 15th 2002 by Brilliance Audio (first published July 23rd 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Angela
I didn't finish this book. Ms Hoffman failed to make me care enough about the characters, with the possible exception of Kat, to want to continue past page 116. Yes, I gave it a few extra pages beyond my 100-page limit because I wanted to like this book. Alice Hoffman is an author highly recommended by many friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed another of her novels, "The Probable Future." This novel, though, irritated the fluff out of me with the 3rd-person omniscient POV written in the present ten ...more
Kendra
I didn’t hate it but I did skim most of it and couldn’t wait to finish and move on...but at least I finished it. The characters are too perfect or either too perfectly flawed. They are boring and unbelievable more than endearing and sympathetic. The author takes too much time making everything perfect...even the dang strawberries grown by Jorie are the best and sweetest in the world. Give me a break! The story is about Ethan Ford (the most perfect man on earth through the first 30 pages) who is ...more
Sue
Can someone commit a terrible crime and then completely change themselves for the better? If that person has changed and now lives an exemplary life, are they still responsible for that crime even though they are no longer the same person? This is the question posed in Blue Diary. Ethan Ford is THE perfect husband and father or is he? The secret he has kept from his wife for 15 years comes back to haunt him and the whole town is drawn into the ensuing chaos. I thought the premise of the book was ...more
Lisa
This was a good book, not the quality book that is life-altering or really touches your soul, but a good solid book nonetheless. The book centers around earth-shattering truths revealed to a woman about her husband. Its a bit unsettling to think about how quickly life can change. Equally as upsetting is how little you may know someone you think you know and love. Imagine you found out your husband had committed a horrible crime, only moments before you met and fell in love with him. Years later, ...more
Kerri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
Apr 08, 2010 Susan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: hysaw@msn.com
Unrealistic plot..Rapist/Murderer turns into Perfect Husband/Father/Fireman/Hero..no explanation as to why or how this occurred. Disjointed characters briefly interact as they come to terms with their disillusion. I kept waiting for someone to get to the heart of the matter...to know about Ethan and how/why he transformed himself, but instead got inner dialogue of his devastated wife, teen girl who turned in the murderer, but was still friends with his son, and whose 17 year old sister had been ...more
Lou
Nov 30, 2009 Lou rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Recommended to Lou by: Teacher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charissa
Wow! What a premise. Ethan Ford and his wife, Jorie, have the perfect life. Even after 13 years of marriage, they are blissfully as in love as the day they met in the bar on the outskirts of town. It was love at first sight, and has only grown over the years with the birth of their son and their idyllic life in a small town in Massachusetts. Ethan is a master craftsman, coaches his son’s Little League team and motivates all the town’s boys; he serves on the volunteer fire department and over the ...more
Chana
This story reminds me of a true story I read in a magazine.
In the magazine article we see a man with a terrible problem. His daughter is sick and needs a kidney, her mother and other family members are not a match. The father is not her natural father as the girl is a child of rape. This father was the one who befriended the traumatized girl who had been raped by an unknown assailant, offered her friendship, comfort and love and eventually became her beloved husband and the devoted father of he
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Elaine
I was attracted to “The Blue Diary” when I was listening to a book talk at our school. Later, I took the book and read the introduction of it which I though the plot was quite exciting. Then the librarian came to me and told me that she liked reading the book written by the author, Alice Hoffman, because her writing is really good. So, I decided to give the book a try.
However, the book is totally not what I had expected, and not in good way. For me, it is a disappointment because it is far too
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Emily
Alice Hoffman’s books can be kind of depressing, but you almost don’t mind because they’re so beautifully written. The first chapter describes the idyllic perfection of the life Ethan and Jorie Ford lead along with their son Collie. Everything is wonderful, Ethan is a perfect, gorgeous, hardworking man and Jorie is a perfect, gorgeous, lovely wife. Collie is perfect, gorgeous, and happy. They live in a small, Massachusetts town and everybody loves them. Then, everything falls apart. Ethan is acc ...more
ToriaJayne
Just finished this book after pushing through it ever so slowly. And there is one questions (well one of many) that is really confusing me!
How did Kat know?
I mean this happened years ago, and how did she know just because she didn't see his reflection (don't get me started on that!) in some mirror, that he committed a crime years ago?
If anyone had an answer, that would be great!

Apart from that it's a certainly interesting question that runs through the whole novel, but the characters were so 2
...more
Rebekah
Not the most inspiring book of the year, based on its topic, but definitely interesting. Raises the question, "Could you keep loving someone once their secret past is revealed?"

At points I was disturbed by this novel because of the territory the heroine traverses in her search through her husband's past, but at the same time riveted to the story to see what would happen next. That's good, right?

As always, Hoffman's lyrical prose leads you down a primrose path of words that can only be described
...more
Barbara
Ethan Ford - a handyman, kids' baseball coach, and volunteer fireman - is a town hero. After 13 years of marriage he's still deeply in love with his wife Jorie and a good dad to his son Collie. Then one morning Ethan is arrested for the rape and murder of a young girl fifteen years ago. Jorie and Collie are devastated and the townsfolk can hardly take it in, believing a terrible mistake has occurred. However Ethan pleads guilty to the crime, asserting that he's a 'different man' now. In one way ...more
Lori Downs
I chose this book because I really like some of this author's previous work (The Dovekeepers, Here on Earth) and this novel did not disappoint. The main character believes she has the perfect marriage: her husband is a hard worker, a volunteer fireman who has saved countless community members, and a coach for their son's baseball team. After 13 years of marriage they are as in love as they have always been until they get a knock on the door and she finds that her husband has a sordid past. She g ...more
Donna
What can I say about this book other than it made me cringe? Quite a few things, since I was taking notes for a book club discussion, searching for its themes amid the overblown, flowery prose such as that found in this example: "He has walked through the fire with her name on his lips; he has drunk of it and found sustenance in it, until at last he was carried to the other side of the black river." Oh boy. Multiply this by the 303 pages found in this book, and you'll understand what I'm talking ...more
Kitty Yau
How capable are we of change? This is the question Alice Hoffman asks in her novel, Blue Diary. Ethan Ford, a seemingly handsome and harmless gentleman, is actually a criminal who has been on the run for the past thirteen years for the murder and rape of a young girl. The plot blooms as his history is revealed, shocking everyone from the local librarian to his own wife and son. You would expect forgiveness from this small town, as Ethan was once known as the hero of the place; the one person tha ...more
Ric
How do you find forgiveness in the unforgivable? This is what Alice Hoffman tackles in the superb book "Blue Diary". Ethan Ford and his wife Jorie have everything since meeting one night 13 years ago at the local bar. A perfect house, garden, the towns respect and admiration and an entranced love that allows them to make love as each day is the first day they met, but how far does love go when you are asked to forgive to unthinkable? Josie and the town struggle with this when Ethen is arrested o ...more
Kristi
right now i'm really interested i the plot, but plodding through all the flora and and fauna to get to what actually happens is a bit much. about 1/4 of it would add to the story the rest should be dumped out. Interesting so far though.

Ok finished it today, and man, i like the way it was wrapped up. now i see why she had Kat and Jorie take turns with the perspective. I also have to say, please cut out the flowers and shrubs and pick some normal names.
Lots of heavy stuff in here, Murder obvious
...more
Aria Chen
This was a good book. It is life-altering and it really touched my soul.
I have to say that the turn in this story truly surprised me after Ford's secret was revealed and he was arrested. I expected greater forgiveness from his family and neighbors because of his exemplary behavior before. However, forgiveness did not come easily in this gossipy town. As many other reviewers asked: "Can someone commit a terrible crime and then completely change themselves for the better?", people are not alway
...more
Judy
I enjoyed this novel and found Hoffman's prose style very readable, with lyrical descriptions of scenery. Unfortunately publishers always seem to compare her with Anne Tyler on book jackets, so I find myself making the same comparison and I don't think she is as good - but then again, who is?! The plot centres on Jorie, a woman leading an apparently perfect life after falling in love at first sight with Ethan, a stranger in her small town. Since their marriage he has become a pillar of the commu ...more
Barbara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Flannery
Alice Hoffman loses her mind in this one. I really think she just took pretty words, put them in a jar, shook it up, and pulled out a handful everytime she needed to describe something.

It starts with the first sentence and goes downhill from there.

T'S THE LAST MONDAY OF THE month, a brutally gorgeous morning brimming with blue air and the sweet scent of honeysuckle, which grows wild in the woods beyond Front Street, when Ethan Ford fails to show up for work.

If the purple prose overkill wasn't en
...more
Amy
This book was a disappoint to me. The author wrote from a different perspective than I was used to. She has a wonderful skill in describing everything in perfect detail except the plot. For example she tries to reveal the feelings of an entire town which becomes a burden to the reader to keep up with a plethora of characters. You never really figure out the main characters. Could you forgive and overlook a heinous crime committed by someone you love? Good question but the story fell short. I stu ...more
Vivian
Wish I wouldn't have wasted my time. This book is wrong on so many levels...a man does not go from doing evil to becoming Mr. Wonderful Citizen overnight. A woman who truly loves her husband does not abandon him. The child Kat is far too dark for a child of that age, swinging wildly between loving her friend yet having no qualms about ruining his life and manipulating her sister who is older and wiser than her. This story is so far fetched that it irritated me more than it entertained me. The au ...more
Cindy
Upstanding citizen Ethan Ford's world crashes when his daughter's friend Kat sees a photo of a man who had committed murder years earlier and realizes who he is. While the story line was good, there were a few things that bothered me, and therefore altered my enjoyment of the story, whose author Alice Hoffman has always been one of my favorites. Now I realize that this is nit-picking, but a seasoned and award-winning author like Hoffman shouldn't be making mistakes, like having crickets and day ...more
Kathy Hiester
I have read and loved many of Alice Hoffman’s books but Blue Diary is a definite exception. The writing is definitely well done and the concept is soundly thought out but I think that I have a problem with the fact that a person who is a rapist can just turn their life completely around and become the hero of the story. This is the first time I have really done this usually I like or dislike a book. I don’t have to like the content to determine a book is well written so it gets 4 stars.

4 Stars
Barbara Loggia
The theme of secrets....a husband plans his end, another husband of 13 years is discovered to have a life changing secret held back from his wife, child and community. A young girl makes a life changing decision and keeps it a secret. Another young girl, 13 years before and states away, has a secret in her diary that changed her life. A man has held on to his secret for 20 years but it affects him every day. As these secrets are revealed by chance or on purpose, the consequences are felt by many ...more
Anna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M
I love Alice Hoffman and I wanted this to get five stars but sadly I just couldn't do it. It's probably actually a 3.5, but I'll round it up as I do love her so. This book, for me, was just too wordy. Too much description of everything - too many plants (damn honeysuckle!), nice smells, 'good' people, etc, etc. And the book was reminiscent of her others, in that the characters and settings seemed directly lifted from them. A good read, but she can and has done better.
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
More about Alice Hoffman...
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“Some things you carry around inside you as though they were part of your blood and bones, and when that happens, there’s nothing you can do to forget

…But I had never been much of a believer. If anything, I believed that things got worse before they got better. I believed good people suffered... people who have faith were so lucky; you didn’t want to ruin it for them. You didn’t want to plant doubt where there was none. You had to treat suck individuals tenderly and hope that some of whatever they were feeling rubs off on you

Those who love you will love you forever, without questions or boundaries or the constraints of time. Daily life is real, unchanging as a well-built house. But houses burn; they catch fire in the middle of the night.

The night is like any other night of disaster, with every fact filtered through a veil of disbelief. The rational world has spun so completely out of its orbit, there is no way to chart or expect what might happen next

At that point, they were both convinced that love was a figment of other people’s imaginations, an illusion fashioned out of smoke and air that really didn’t exist

Fear, like heat, rises; it drifts up to the ceiling and when it falls down it pours out in a hot and horrible rain



True love, after all, could bind a man where he didn’t belong. It could wrap him in cords that were all but impossible to break

Fear is contagious. It doubles within minutes; it grows in places where there’s never been any doubt before

The past stays with a man, sticking to his heels like glue, invisible and heartbreaking and unavoidable, threaded to the future, just as surely as day is sewn to night

He looked at girls and saw only sweet little fuckboxes, there for him to use, no hearts involved, no souls, and, most assuredly no responsibilities.

Welcome to the real world. Herein is the place where no one can tell you whether or not you’ve done the right thing.

I could tell people anything I wanted to, and whatever I told them, that would be the truth as far as they were concerned. Whoever I said I was, well then, that’s who id be

The truths by which she has lived her life have evaporated, leaving her empty of everything except the faint blue static of her own skepticism. She has never been a person to question herself; now she questions everything

Something’s, are true no matter how hard you might try to bloc them out, and a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told

You were nothing more than a speck of dust, good-looking dust, but dust all the same

Some people needed saving

She doesn’t want to waste precious time with something as prosaic as sleep. Every second is a second that belongs to her; one she understands could well be her last

Why wait for anything when the world is so cockeyed and dangerous? Why sit and stare into the mirror, too fearful of what may come to pass to make a move?

At last she knows how it feels to take a chance when everything in the world is at stake, breathless and heedless and desperate for more

She’ll be imagining everything that’s out in front of them, road and cloud and sky, all the elements of a future, the sort you have to put together by hand, slowly and carefully until the world is yours once more”
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“My grandmother told me once that when you lose somebody you think you've lost the whole world as well, but that's not the way things turn out in the end. Eventually, you pick yourself up and look out the window, and once you do you see everything that was there before the world ended is out there still. There are the same apple trees and the same songbirds, and over our heads, the very same sky that shines like heaven, so far above us we can never hope to reach such heights.” 9 likes
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