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Here on Earth

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  32,203 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews
March Murray, along with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Gwen, returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up to attend the funeral of Judith Dale, the beloved housekeeper who raised her. After nearly twenty years of living in California, March is thrust into the world of her past. She finds that Mrs. Dale knew more of life than March could have ever suspected; t ...more
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 3 pages
Published August 28th 1997 by Nova Audio Books (first published 1997)
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I'm technically not even done reading this book yet and I'm seething with hate for it. Seething!!

The entire plot of this book is that love gives you license to be selfish, irresponsible and act like a jerk. I hate the two main characters SO MUCH. They deserve everything that happens to them. I can see the conclusion coming a mile away as well. It's taking everything I have to finish it.

Oprah - you got this one SO wrong!

Awful. Don't bother.
Zoe B
Loved, loved, loved, LOVED it!!!! Ok so if this book was food, it would be a hot fudge brownie with caramel sauce - really, really good, at first comforting, but then it makes you kind of sick. Now this isn't a book for everyone, not everyone can stomach so much passion and long lost love. I, on the other hand, could ingest this stuff until the cows come home - and no sweet has ever been too much for me (cotton candy - bring it on! Candy apples - bring em on!).

I was immediately whisked away and
Joe Mossa

i may have become a snob after reading so many important books in the past three years,but this writing is terrible. if i were to count the cliches hoffman uses ,i wouldn t be able to follow the narrative. after i read that she was imitating WURTHERING HEIGHTS, i decided i had a duty to finish the book which i had thrown down in disgust after reading page 213. read my other posts to see what happened there. charles dickens got away with melodrama so i guess we can excuse a contemporary writer f
Mary Regan
I am listening to this book, unabridged, on audio and I can barely stand it. And it is such a rip-off of Wuthering Heights- but a poor imitation. I cannot picture Lawrence Olivier in the role of Hollis, who is a complete numbskull as far as I can tell.

Everything about the story is so predictable and trite, including the endless metaphors. I nearly tossed my i-phone in the trash at Grand Central tonight. But I just want to find out a few things:

1. if the two first cousins (children, who no one se
This is a dark romance. A woman goes back to her home town for a funeral, taking her teenage daughter with her. The woman comes back into contact with an old lover who had a strange hold over her when she was younger. It's an oddly compelling story.
Karen Powell
Horrible novel- how'd it make it on Oprah's list? Hoffman spent so much time trying to align the plot to "Wuthering Heights" that she forgot to be original and make the story her own. The result is a perversion of Emily Bronte's tale that completely misses the point. [return][return]March travels back to her hometown with her teen daughter Gwen for the funeral of her Nelly Dean-esque housekeeper. There, she meets up with Hollis, her childhood love that got away. The renew their love, but Hollis ...more
Parts of this book were very good - it sort of wraps you into this small town, nostalgic way of life, that I really appreciated. It was good to read now, at the end of October/November as things get cold, since the FALL and WINTER weather actually really comes alive for her.

I just am not convinced, can I say that...I didn't really like the turns the characters took, and I didn't really feel the characterization very much. They were more stereotyped and superficial than I could fully get behind.
Nov 10, 2008 June rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to June by: Elissa
Shelves: romance
This was a quick read for me. A scary portrayal of infatuation, fear and love. A sad portrayal of what happens when someone loves 2 people. I really like the character, Gwen - I thought she was a great representative for teenagers.
Congrats Here on Earth, you win the title of my leave favorite book of all time. Never in my life have I loathed a book so much. We are reading this book for my book club this month, and from the start I was skeptical. You know I love Oprah, but one thing I know for sure is that we do not have the same taste in books. Oprah picked this book as her book club pick back in 1998 and I honestly don't know what she was thinking. The book itself is written beautifully - I mean thank goodness - because ...more
Nov 13, 2007 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Literary Lovers/ Hoffman fans
What I've learned from this book: that if you read enough Alice Hoffman, you eventually get so used to her writing that you can't put her books down. Now that might just be a generality, but after a few hits and misses, I've really enjoyed her last three books and this one, much like "The Ice Queen," was really fantastic.

March returns to her hometown to mourn the death of a woman she and many others held dear. But she also returns to a world in which, as a young girl, she was immersed into a lo
This quite possibly rates the worst book I have ever read. The characters range from stupid to hedonistic The only reason I finished was that I hated the main character so much, I was hoping to read of his undoing. I did briefly believe that either the friend Susie or the daughter Gwen would make this a much more enjoyable book by putting Hollis in his place, but alas that happens quite anti-climatically with him destroying himself, and they end the book not as near as strong characters as could ...more
Okay... can I just say... "Wow. Wow. Wow."

Alice Hoffman really makes me happy. She's full of fanciful quirk -- not the harsh, dry quirk of carefully selected oddness, but a more delightful whimsy that seems to spring straight from the emotional side of nature.

This book really won my heart, even though the ending was contrived and lacking in climax, which honestly, I'd half-expected since this book falls somewhere under the mainstream/literary spectrum. Okay, okay -- I saw her setting the climax
Recognize this story? Wealthy father brings home street urchin, sister likes him, brother not so much. Already damaged by life on the streets and experience in juvie, he is pushed over the edge by the brother's rough treatment. Obsessed with acquisitiveness, he takes off for parts unknown, makes his fortune, and returns to buy up everything that belongs to those who've annoyed him.

If you guessed Wuthering Heights, you'd be correct - one reviewer drew that comparison, and rather gushingly. This b
Alex Wells
I'm a big fan of Alice Hoffman, especially when her books veer into the magical or the mythic, in books like Practical Magic or the Ice Queen. But even when her characters aren't blatantly magical, her stories have a mythic, and even allegorical quality, that I love. This is true of Here On Earth, which is the Bluebeardian story of a woman who comes back home and revisits the desperate love affair of her childhood.

This book gives the first impression of being a romance, but it doesn't take long
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikita T. Mitchell
I must say that I am in love with this book. It has made it to the top of my must read list (for others of course). I have read a lot of reviews online of the book - there are tons since it was an Oprah Book Club selection. I realized that many comparisons are made between this book and Wuthering Heights by Emile Brontë. Let me just say that I read it in highschool and strongly disliked it - its not nice to say hated, you know. I must admit it seems like Hoffman stole some of her basic plot from ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alice Hoffman has written a new version of Wuthering Heights, this time set in a remote, modern day New England village. Hollis is the dark-eyed orphan heartthrob brought into the Murray household. March is the spitfire who falls insanely in love with Hollis (and he returns the favor). Alan is March's slimy brother who persecutes Hollis. By and large, Hoffman follows the original plot faithfully, but it is her own lyrical prose which puts a pleasant spin on Brontë's dark tale of obsessive love. ...more
Although this is a good read, it is a somewhat odd book. It deals the underside of "love" - in this case, obsession, control and abuse. This is the mother's story. The daughter's story deals with redemptive of qualities of love. And other supporting characters demonstrate other sides of love: selfless love, forbidden love and disappointed love. As I write this, I realize I should have liked this book much more than I did, given the themes. The problem may be that the primary character - the moth ...more
The main idea of this story is about a girl who goes back to her home town with her daughter and falls back in love with her childhood sweetheart who's not very sweet. She left her husband and ended everything good in her life for this man. She learns her lesson and leaves before it's too late. That's all. This book took almost halfway to actually get into. Once you do get into it, you read and you read and then the climax comes and there's some sort of closing. It's the way 99% of books are wri ...more
Beautiful treatment of some familiar themes: "coming home" and "abusive relationships".

March Murray returns to her childhood home when the woman who was her caretaker - nanny, housekeeper, cook - dies. Judith Dale took over when March's mother died when March was very young, and stayed in the family house after the Murray family had all left it, by permission. March is here in Jenkintown, on the east coast, with her teenage daughter Gwen, to attend the funeral and to attend to Judith's remainin
This story is not a feel good story. It isn't romantic or sappy. The characters have serious flaws and many of them are unlikeable. However, the book was a compelling read about love. The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of love. Its about the depths a person will go to, or the things a person will forsake, ignore, or settle for in the name of love or what they believe is love. This novel portrays a rather dark side of love that borders on an obsession or a sickness in the case of Hollis and Ma ...more
I hated this book when I started it, but it became hard for me to put down. It's a dark novel and I wasn't sympathetic to many of the characters. I'm glad I stuck with it, though. Even after finishing the book, I'm still thinking about the story and the characters.

I didn't like the main character, March, (which always makes a book difficult to get through) but the story had a bunch of questions and I kept reading to get the answers. Some questions (for me at least) never were answered which is
Hoffman did a wonderful job in writing this book. The characters have a lot of depth and are brought to life with her vivid words. Her writing style in this book is very descriptive and sometimes poetic. The way she describes love is so profound, it’s not the sort of description that is lengthy and you want to just skim over, no, it’s lyrical and holds your interest.

Now, the characters, hmmmm, where to begin? They are so real and my distaste for March and my strong dislike for Hollis are also r
I really wanted to like this book but try as I might, I couldn't find very many redeeming qualities in it. Both the setting and the characters were stereotyped and cliched and I had a difficult time taking the novel very seriously. It was set in a stereotypical small town with very predicable characters such as the outcast, the gossip,and the recluse. As far as fiction goes, this novel brought nothing new to the genre and only succeeded in boring me with shallow characters who had no qualities t ...more
A love story, but not of the kind of love you see on Hallmark cards or in romantic comedies. This is about love as obsession, bitter accommodation, incest, immolating abuse, love that's dark, cold, soul destroying. There is a sunny love story here, but it's between girl and horse, perhaps, in the end, the only kind that can last. There's a lot wrong with Alice Hoffman's book, partially redeemed by a suspenseful final third that delves with psychological perception into the deeply twisted motivat ...more
A retelling of Wuthering Heights set in modern times - with a few key changes, the main one being that the Catherine equivalent doesn't die of a hissy fit and decides to get back with the Heathcliff equivalent years later.

Wuthering Heights at first glance seems to be perfect material for Hoffman. It has many of the elements she normally includes - messed up family dynamics, isolated or rural settings, non-happy endings...

And yet, it doesn't quite work. Hoffman is kinder to March than Bronte was
Okay, so the impression I get is Hoffman wanted to take as many parallels of Wuthering Heights as she could in modern times, and then do a, and then if this had happend sort of thing.

But y'all, one of the reasons books like Wuthering Heights are so spectacular is that you don't need anyone to tell you what would have happened if some particular part of the story went along a different line. The story is so well written, the characters so well defined, that if you have a "what if" question like t
Here on Earth is one of those books that I enjoyed reading but disliked most of the characters within the story. It is also reminiscent of Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

March Murray returns to her hometown in New England with her fifteen year old daughter Gwen. Her childhood housekeeper and nanny Judith, has passed away and March comes back to her hometown for the funeral and to get Judith's affairs in order. March's scientist husband Richard, who is from the same hometown, stays behind in Califor
I confess, I have never read Wuthering Heights. I know that it's a classic and every young girl should read it but really the opening imagery always put me off. Moors and cliffs are romantic? Since when?

Apparently Alice Hoffman based her book on the story of Wuthering Heights. If this is the case, I have less of a reason to read it now. The characters in this book seemed completely unrelatable to me. I never understood the appeal of Hollis and March as a couple or why she would leave her very l
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Endicott Mythic F...: Here on Earth - Discussion 11 45 Apr 09, 2014 03:01PM  
Judith Dale and love 2 36 Nov 04, 2007 04:56PM  
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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...
The Dovekeepers Practical Magic The Museum of Extraordinary Things The Red Garden The Ice Queen

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“You build your world around someone, and then what happens when he disappears? Where do you go- into pieces, into atoms, into the arms of another man? You go shopping, you cook dinner, you work odd hours, you make love to someone else on June nights. But you're not really there, you're someplace else where there is blue sky and a road you don't recognize. If you squint your eyes, you think you see him, in the shadows, beyond the trees. You always imagine that you see him, but he's never there. It's only his spirit, that's what's there beneath the bed when you kiss your husband, there when you send your daughter off to school. It's in your coffee cup, your bathwater, your tears. Unfinished business always comes back to haunt you, and a man who swears he'll love you forever isn't finished with you until he's done.” 213 likes
“When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.” 151 likes
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