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December

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3.1 of 5 stars 3.10  ·  rating details  ·  766 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Centered on a young girl who inexplicably stops speaking, December is a riveting and insightful portrait of a family in crisis.Nine months after eleven-year-old Isabelle suddenly fell silent, her parents, Wilson and Ruth, are at their wits' end. And what began as self-protection has spiraled beyond Isabelle's control; she has become trapped in her silence, horrified by the ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 17th 2008 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,479)
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M
I don't think I have ever said this before about a book - but it was just too realistic. By which I mean, too many sighs, too many dumb comments, a couple with a sad marriage that I have totally seen in real life, a conflict that's interesting but ultimately goes nowhere. Blah, mundane, disappointing.
December is about an eleven year old girl Isabelle who, one day, inexplicably, falls mute and proceeds to remain such for almost a year. Trauma? Spicy event that triggered this? Nope. She just felt
...more
Filipa
"De leitura compulsiva e emocionante, "Dezembro" é uma obra de uma originalidade maravilhosa e de grande impacto emocional" - é o que diz na contra-capa deste pequeno livro.
Só não concordo com a parte do "leitura compulsiva".

Nunca tinha lido nada semelhante a este livro.
Uma história sobre a família mas contada de uma maneira muito diferente.
Uma família que está com problemas com a sua pequena filha de 11 anos e que, por causa disso, se está a desmoronar.
Isabelle de onze anos, não fala. Deixou
...more
Neide Parafitas
Isabelle, uma menina de 11 anos, não fala há 9 meses. Os pais desesperam para a por a falar e é entre psiquiatras e cursos de arte que vamos vendo a sua esperança se desvanecer!

Não há aparentemente nada que justifique esse silêncio e a própria Isabelle não entende por que não sai palavra da sua boca!

Paciência... É preciso paciência para ler este livro! Não há praticamente acção, pelo que a leitura não é propriamente leve. No entanto, posso dizer que gostei. Gostei sobretudo da criança fascinant
...more
Eva Mitnick
Imagine all the stages of puzzlement, anger, frustration, and terror you'd go through if your 11-year-old daughter gradually stopped talking. Now imagine it's 9 months later - not only has she not said a word to anyone, but she has become more and more withdrawn and secretive, spending most of her free time reading or drawing, often not even responding to her parents' attempts to communicate.

That's the situation that two NYC parents, Ruth and Wilson, and their daughter Isablelee find themselves
...more
Meaghan
This is an intricately detailed novel covering only a few days in real time and, as one other reviewer pointed out, it's actually kind of too realistic. Promising plot points appear -- the deaf boy next door, Isabelle's latest doctor, her sketchbooks -- that lead nowhere, which happens often enough in real life but is frustrating in fiction where every word is supposed to mean something. I kept wondering what made Isabelle stop speaking, and the story was like a mystery to me in that sense...but ...more
Sally906
Chosen for its title alone – DECEMBER is Winthrop’s second novel but the first I have read. Set in the week leading up to Christmas DECEMBER is not an edge of the seat read; it is not in your face dramatic either; what it IS is a sensitive observation of how each of the three main characters deals with Isabella’s self imposed silence. It is also not so much a look at why she has chosen to be silent, although that is hinted at, it is more about that she IS silent and she has imposed the silence o ...more
Lucie Hostalek
This is a story of an 11 year old, Isabelle, who hasn't spoken in a almost a year and how her parents, Ruth and Wilson, struggle with the situation.
Albeit a slow read, and not terribly insightful about the child's condition, I was compelled to finish the book to see how the story was resolved. The characters were a bit annoying, the father for pushing a trip to Africa to make Isabelle speak, the mother for her constant uptightness, and Isabelle, for appearing spoiled. It's definitely a family c
...more
Katie
I really loved the experience of reading this book-- I had a hard time grasping the parents as people, particularly the mother, but the feeling of being inside the daughter's head and her silence was very moving. The end was perhaps as satisfying as it could be-- which is to say, not exceptionally so. I'd probably give it three 1/2 stars if that was possible.
Lorna
Imagine being 11 years old. In a bid to control just a part of your life you build a wall of silence around yourself. However, soon the silence that protected you becomes an entity unto itself and it becomes your jailor.
This beautiful novel portrays a family in crisis. Dad Wilson and mum Ruth have no explanation for thier daughter Isabelle's self imposed silence, and trying to find a reason is slowly tearing them apart, both as individuals and as a couple.
Isabelle herself is in turmoil, knowing
...more
Jo
I liked the idea for this book. I was expecting it to be more emotional and sad. I think the author over described stuff, like there was a scene where Ruth was making soup and every step of the cooking procedure was in there. But the book was ok. A 3.5 i think for me.
Ally Atherton
Ruth and Wilson Carter are usually look forwards to Christmas, a special time of snow angels, coal fires and family fun. But this year it's different. Isabelle, their 11 year old daughter has stopped talking. There's that old saying 'you don't know what you've got until it's gone', but normally a child's voice is something you don't expect to disappear. Her parents have tried everything and they are worried that Isabelle's life is ruined and that they could have done something to stop it from ha ...more
Renita D'Silva
I read this a while back and liked it but it wasn't what I expected, so was a but disappointed. An okay read.
Joleen Richwine
I thought this book was going to be wonder. I had a hard time reading it -- so I read it quickly (book club selection). Overall, I thought the author wandered and did not stay on the subject and did not focus enough on the problem of selective mutes. In the end, the book leaves you hanging. Some folks in the book club thought the author was paid by the word as there are huge chunks in the book that are so random that you have no clue why the author put it in the book.
Jane Botten
Fabulous book! Isabelle hasn't spoken for 9 months and now she just can't. Her parents are distraught and don't know what to do. I loved the way that the author was able to allow us to live in Isabelle's head, following her childlike thoughts, impressions and emotions. I was rapt and fell in love with her. It has a happy ending. Brilliant book.
Vivienne

I really wanted Supernanny Jo Frost to be called into deal with Isabelle. Her parents obviously had no clue how to deal with her not talking and allowed her to basically run rings around them.

I really had no patience with or interest in Isabelle or her parents. The writing was so detailed to be painful. Still it is the sort of books critics loved and I guess many readers.

Not me though - it was hard work with no real insight into the issues.
Laura
"December" has some of the best drawn characters in all the books I've read this year. I felt I actually knew them by the end of the story. Yes, it moved at a slow pace, but for Ruth and Wilson their world has essentially paused while they wait for their daughter to speak so I wonder if that was intentional. Yes, they live a privileged, upper class life, and have resources available to them that >90% of US families wouldn't, but that doesn't make the story any less interesting to read. Isabel ...more
Márcia
3.5 stars. I picked this book at random in the library and the summary on the back seemed like something I would like to read. I liked the story and the characters felt very real which made me want to finish this book as it didn't grab my attention at the beginning. The end was somewhat predictable and there were some characters and scenes that I think should have been more developed. Still, December is a quick and heartwarming read and I recommend reading it during Winter or Christmas because i ...more
Sara
I kept waiting for something to happen. Something, anything. Some sort of explanation, of background information, of revelation, of turning point... Instead, this book went on to be as flat as it had started. NOTHING happens. When I turned the last page, I asked myself "What was the point of this book?"... not a good sign. The style was also irritating at times, with an excessive use of the present tense, as though the reader wouldn't be clever enough to understand what was going on if the autho ...more
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jemma
Winthrop's novel follows Ruth and Wilson Carter, and their daughter Isabelle who hasn't said a word in nine months. Five psychiatrists can't work out what's wrong with her, and even Isabelle doesn't really know. All she knows is that her attempt to take control over her life has gone too far and she's stuck in the silence. Ruth and Wilson try desperately to find a cure or a way to fix Isabelle, as they navigate their own precarious marriage.

I think I'm being generous in giving this book three st
...more
Elizabeth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cortney
This book had such potential. I think if the subject matter had been given to Jodi Picoult, it would have been brilliant.

Premise:
Eleven-year old Isabelle has been silent for nine months. Her parents are struggling to find a way to help her.
Selective mutism= interesting topic.

What I liked:
I felt that Ms Winthrop really got the parents angst. I could relate to their frustration with the situation and their desire to help their daughter.

What I didn't like:
She introduced a deaf boy into the story an
...more
Anita
This was a great book. It literally held me captive from the moment I started reading until the very end, leaving me to think about it at night until I could continue to read it again the next day. It is not a fast paced novel. But it definitely dives into the innards of the thought process of all main characters, which I think is the part I enjoyed the most. I was struggling with Isabelle as she mourned the fact that she simply could not speak; her anger at herself, her disappointing her parent ...more
Joana
Esta é a história da pequena Belle que de um dia para o outro deixou de falar. Isto aconteceu à cerca de 9 meses. Até agora nenhum psiquiatra a conseguiu ajudar e os pais já não sabem o que fazer ou como lidar com a situação.

É um livro que tem uma grande carga sentimental no seu decorrer. A mãe Ruth que se culpa por tudo e espera que a arte seja a salvação para a família, o pai Wilson que se foca num desenho da filha e acha que a solução é ir para África. Mas o que mais toca é o desespero vivido
...more
LindyLouMac
December is Elizabeth H. Winthrop’s second novel but this is the first novel by her that I have read. I cannot actually recall how the title made it on to my Wish List but it did and I subsequently obtained this copy via Bookmooch a few months ago. Surprisingly little happens in this novel and although well written there is not much to say about it. Although I did not find it boring I did find it at times a little slow because of the amount of trivial detail that is included about the everyday a ...more
Mary
Wilson and Ruth’s 11 yr old daughter, Isabelle, hasn’t spoken in nine months, an elective muteness brought on by no known trauma. Her silence confuses her parents and the 5 psychiatrists she sees. She has not attended school since she stopped speaking. Ruth has put her job on hold to stay home with her daughter and help her as much as possible, although Ruth is struggling to cope with the silence, she wonders if it will ever end and will life return to “normal.” Wilson is convinced that a trip t ...more
Pamela
I'm not entirely clear why I liked this book—I would have given it 2 stars, had it not been for the fact that I genuinely looked forward to reading another 30 pages of this book every night. And I'm still not sure why—this is your standard Dani Shapiro/book club affair: parents constantly bicker, daughter stops speaking for 9 months, no one knows what's going on, confusion manifests itself as lots of brooding inner monologues. And yet, it totally sucks you in.

Isabelle's silence isn't a product
...more
skein
*checks watch* Well. That certainly went quickly.
I wanted more meatiness, and that's awkward to say because the allure of this was all in its slow consistency; still I wanted more. Just a little. But more.

As ALWAYS in these sorts of books the (view spoiler) was too quick and simple for me, no matter what lead-up.
Substance changes fast. Emotions take a lot longer.
Annabel
A very subtle book with little plot and too many extra words surrounding the story.

Every little detail and observation was described, which felt unnecessary and just dragged the book on. For example, over half a page dedicated to describing how a mans scarf was caught in a door.

Isabelle was very irritating and spoiled, and I felt angry with her for most of the book. However the author was very good at portraying the tension and frustration of the parents, and I sympathized and felt sorry for the
...more
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