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The Effects of Light

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  625 ratings  ·  94 reviews
- Blending themes of lost innocence, sexual awakening, and triumph over loss, The Effects Of Light follows in the tradition of such bestselling first novels as Girl with a Pearl Earring (Dutton/Plume, 1999), and the #1 New York Times bestseller The Lovely Bones (Little, Brown, 2002), with over 2.8 million hardcover copies in print. - A dazzling new voice, Miranda Beverly-W ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,270)
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This is one of my all-time favorite books. It is a haunting story with a shocking ending. It is written with such emotion and description. It completely engulfs you. The storyline also forces you to question your own values and aesthetics as to what is art and what is pornography.
Libro scovato tra tanti titoli in svendita; non sapevo cosa aspettarmi, non avevo mai sentito menzionare la scrittrice, né il titolo di questo romanzo. Ma come succede spesso quando faccio questi acquisti casuali, il libro si è rivelato un ottimo acquisto.
Una storia avvincente, ben narrata, e che offre molti spunti di riflessione.
Una storia narrata a due voci, su due diversi piani temporali; da una parte un narratore esterno ci introduce nella routine rassicurante di Kate, che resta tale per mol
I had been hoping for more when I read the reviews ("similar to The Lovely Bones and Girl with a Pearl Earring") and the synopsis, but it never really came together.

The premise of the story was intriguing -- where's the line between art and pornography if the subjects are children, and should their opinions sway it? It was told in alternating points of view: present day Myla, the older sister, and past Pru, the younger one.

The present day parts were, as a whole, so boring that I skimmed throug
Max Gordon
As artfully composed as the photographs at the heart of this compelling story, The Effects of Light tells the tale of two sisters whose self-possession and beauty make them the favorite subject of photographer Ruth Handel—and the center of a heated public debate over the boundaries between art and pornography. Raised by their brilliant widower father to "follow their bliss," Myla and Pru pose for both the pure joy of the creative process and for the tangible evidence of existence it provides, li ...more
The Effects of Light tells the story of two sisters being raised by their widowed father, a brilliant academic in the world of art. When a family friend photographs the two girls at the ages of 3 and 8, it marks the first in a series of images that span the girls' coming-of-age. The photos, some in the nude, are eventually shown publicly, leading to outcry over the "pornographic" images with devastating consequences for the whole family. One daughter is left behind to wrangle with the long-lasti ...more
sarah b.
I couldn't put this book down. The story was good and made me think beyond just the plot, plus it had enough mystery to keep me interested.
Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's intelligent and kindly written. It's about academic families. It was much more suited to my tastes than I expected it to be. I learned some things about photography while reading it. And it had more than romance - it was more like that 'kindred spirit' feeling between the protagonist and her man. A nice weekend read for a person who likes drama without the hysterics.
It took some time to get into this one, even though I was interested in the characters right away. The author meanders too much into pseudo-highbrow philosophizing about art and its place in society, blah blah blah. Stick with it, though, and you'll find yourself immersed in a page-turner of a mystery with some devastating plot points along the way. Can't say anything more without risking a major spoiler.
Nenia *Genghis Khan soaked in sherbet*

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Once again, my expectations have been failed--dismally--and the effects have been exacerbated by a blurb that compares the book being described to two best-sellers, in this case, GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING meets LOVELY BONES.

This is actually a textbook example of why such comparisons are not fair. A) It creates unrealistic expectations that, 99.9% of the time will fail to pass muster; B) it suggests a lack of unoriginality, which is e
Ngaire West-johnson
I found this book on my shelf and couldn't remember where it came from. I read the jacket and decided to give it a try. I loved this book! It was haunting and stayed with me. Really made me think about different perspective. I would definately recommend it!
T. Greenwood
Re-reading this amazing book by my amazing friend (who wasn't my friend the first time I read it), and thinking all sorts of good thoughts about the serendipity of things.
Michael Alan Grapin
An intellectual group of friends passionate about art, a family torn apart by tragedy and a lone surviving woman reunited with a past she'd tried so desperately to leave behind until she's drawn back into her former life. Myla Wolfe is called back to Portland Oregon by a mystery and tries to rediscover the beautiful life lived with her sister and father and Ruth, a woman who created amazing photographs that became the center of a controversy about the fine distinction between art and pornography ...more
Nov 12, 2007 Rose marked it as to-read
met this author at the doc lab - i should read her novel!
Serena Caron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
9/9/11 - I liked this book a lot -- more than I'd expected to. I wasn't going in with bad expectations, but I wasn't familiar with the author & hadn't really heard any hype, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Told from alternating viewpoints of two sisters, one in the present & one in the past, the story is gradually unfolded and presents a complicated and somewhat controversial subject matter. The two sisters, as children, are the subject of a family friend ...more
I am a firm believer that good stories aren’t defined by their popularity on the best sellers’ list. There are so many underrated novels and authors out there simply because most readers aren’t adventurous enough to wander deeper inside the labyrinths of their favourite bookshops. The most special gems, they say, are usually hidden on the hearts of caves. Okay, that cheesy metaphor failed a little. But I mean it.

“Effects of Light”, the debut novel of Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, is case in point.
The Effects of Light was a really complex, well-written novel about the relationship of two sisters with their widowed intellectual father. After the death of their mother in an automobile accident, toddler Prue and her older-by-five-years sister, Myla, become the subject of photographs by artist and close family friend, Ruth. Many of the photos show the two sisters nude and when Ruth chooses some of these photos to display in her first show in a New York City gallery, controversy surrounding th ...more
This book is amazingly written and life changing for me! It's as if I could see new doors opening in my mind as I struggled to see how I felt about the photographs and the theories behind the art interpretation. I loved it and will probably read it again and's been a very long time since I've read anything that effected me on such a way!
This book isn't thriller. Just a bit of suspense. I don't know which group I should put this book in. It's not funny, romantic or science fiction. It's a bit like Jodi Poict (I know I misspelled her name, shut up, haha). It's about 2 sisters who had their pics taken in nude when they were growing up. It's about how the society react to the nude pixs, as you know "PORN!!". My mom read this first and told me that she doesn't really like it. I wonder why, she said it's different. I don't know why s ...more
i really enjoyed this book. like hardcore. i got it like 2 days ago, started reading it last night and finished in the wee hours of the morn. however, while the story line was entrancing, it was one of those books that cause a somewhat frustrating itch that i could never scratch. forexample, i found the main character, myla, so tiring sometimes. she was insanely prone to feminine scruples. i dont understand what the deal is with why every single female protagonist has to be so ridiculous when it ...more
What a lot to think about...wish I had taken more art classes...even more art appreciation. Porno vs. art...who is the seer? what is being seen? are more important people bigger in the picture? Great read.
A great examination of the nude in the art world, this book looks at how we define pornography and how others opinions form our own. It jumps back and forth between the past and present, from one sister to another, and finally a few sections are written in second-person POV, telling you what the pictures in question actually look like. It also explores what it mean to love and trust someone while keeping secrets through Kate and Samuel's relationship. Their relationship is reminiscent of Catheri ...more
An immensely satisfying read. Can imagine a fine bk club discussing many aspects of this questioning novel - art theory, perception, realities, beauty, much more. 2 thumbs up and a snap!
“I really liked this book, it made me think about art and the way one views it and reacts to it. A bit romance, mystery and just a very good read. I labeled it a favorite
I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book after reading the jacket...but I found it at a local library book sale (actually, it was a pre-publishing copy)...figured I'd give it a shot. I thought the content was going to be disturbing, or too graphic...but it wasn't. For being 25 when she wrote it, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore has a great grasp on language and communicating what she wants to say. It took a bit to get past the back-and-forth storytelling (one character alive in the present, and one ...more
Meeslepend maar iets te hoogdravend. De personages zijn allemaal zo intellectueel, zelfs op vijfjarige leeftijd, dat het onrealistisch wordt.
Dianne Bowler
Interesting book - shows the power of love and trust between children and parents - possible misplaced at times
Nov 13, 2007 Tatiana rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: liz
Shelves: do-not-own
the preachy-ness of this book really ruined a lot of it for me, if she had just let the art just exist instead of beating me over the head with how i should think about it and what i should take away from it, i would have liked it a lot more. it had moments, here and there, but the narration was uneven and at one point commits a faux pas that can't be forgiven in my mind. and i really think the author's climax was a cop out. it should have been much more brutal and terrible to really make her po ...more
Dawn Bradley
Iv got mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I enjoyed the story although I was riveted by it through most of the story; other times i got bored and wanted to skip pages and get to something interesting that would make this a real page turner. Told from two different points of view (sisters) was interesting but many parts specifically about art I found boring. Only toward the end, go figure, do I feel this book really picked up. Overall I enjoyed this novel although I've read better. Inter ...more
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***I love to meet with book clubs, either in person in the New York area, or via phone or Skype. Please email me:***

I write novels. My third, New York Times bestseller Bittersweet (Crown Publishing, May 2014), is set at the home on Lake Champlain where I spent my summers as a little girl. But that’s where the resemblance to life ends—the place, renamed Winloch in
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