In polite conversation, the idea of dyeing nonviolent criminals bright colors and releasing them into society might not be met with raisedApril says:
In polite conversation, the idea of dyeing nonviolent criminals bright colors and releasing them into society might not be met with raised voices and ill-disguised disgust in one's political views. But this is the near-future America portrayed in "When She Woke" by Hilary Jordan. Because prisons are overflowing, it becomes acceptable to dye (to "chrome") the skin of those who committed nonviolent crimes and are not likely to repeat them again. America has swung so far to the right that a Secretary of Faith now sits on the President's Cabinet.
This is the life Hannah Payne has known: terrorist attacks, rabid religious conservatives, and chromed citizens. And the world is okay until she comes to find herself in a place where she is a Chrome, an outsider, a new level of second class citizen.
"When She Woke" is a haunting view of an American future not too hard to imagine. With strong characters and a convincing geography of the human soul, Jordan has created a solid representation of a new kind of Big Brother.
"When She Woke" is a page turner. Just as Jordan so beautifully wrote about the injustice and tragedies of racism in America in her last novel, Mudbound, she now artfully exposes the injustices and heartbreak caused by religious extremism that, as she demonstrates in "When She Woke", can arise from any rigid doctrine, even in heartland America.
I just finished reading this book, and I am amazed. It's topics are sooooo "right now":religious fundamentalism, women's rights, reproductive rights, the struggle to managecrime and the situation in prisons, the roll of technology in controlling people and theprivacy issues that go along with that. This book is going to create a STIR--I foresee protests and outrage countered by admiration and passionate defense of the sublime way all of these volatile elements are joined to create a love story as well as a page-turning thriller. The continued exploration of what it means to be "good", and themany roles God can take in people's lives, is brilliant. A great deal of philosophy, theology and social science are included in this book, but it doesn't seem preachy or didactic. It seems like, and IS, an amazing book that is impossible to put down....more
Victoria spent her whole childhood in the foster system, if you could call it a childhood. She is filled with guilt, mistrust and desiresJackie says:
Victoria spent her whole childhood in the foster system, if you could call it a childhood. She is filled with guilt, mistrust and desires only solitude when she "ages out" of the system. The one thing that she knows and loves is flowers, and the Victorian language that is based on them. She uses that knowledge to gain a job at a florist, who takes her under her wing and opens the world of possibilities that Victoria never had any access to before and still doesn't trust. Throughout the book we find this reluctant, damaged flower bloom into a woman with a family and a future. This is a wonderful, hopeful, intense read that really tugged at my heart. This is Diffenbaugh's debut novel, which makes it even more impressive. I urge all of you to read it, and I will be definitely eagerly waiting for more from this very talented writer (and foster mother, so she truly knows the foster system that she is describing in this book). ...more
This is a little book, seemingly simple on its surface but deeply rich when you turn a closer eye to it. The surface is about Frank, a locJackie says:
This is a little book, seemingly simple on its surface but deeply rich when you turn a closer eye to it. The surface is about Frank, a local British newscaster for a regional news show, and his reactions to the death of his famous predecessor, the demolition of some buildings his father spent his life designing, the reality of his depressed mother in a nursing home, and moving his family from the country to the city. But the undercurrent of it all deals with, essentially, what we do with old things: old people, old buildings, old jobs, old mementos piled in the attic. This is a book about reinvention and demolition and what is involved in choosing one or the other. To borrow a term from across the pond, it's BRILLIANT....more
This is a powerhouse of a debut novel, and is certainly one of the "buzz" books this summer. And justifiably so. This is a masterful bookJackie says:
This is a powerhouse of a debut novel, and is certainly one of the "buzz" books this summer. And justifiably so. This is a masterful book of psychological suspense and a brilliant character study that is haunting in its extremes--a real summer page turner with some serious literary chops.
It's the story of Anne O'Sullivan, a 32 year old realtor who was abducted from an open house and held captive for over a year in a mountain cabin by a psychopath whom she only refers to as "The Freak", who wants his own family. There are moments of graphic violence, but the true horror comes from the constant and unpredictable possibility of it. The most interesting thing is that the story is told in a single voice--Anne's--as she tells her therapist about her confinement, her escape, and how she's adjusting, or not adjusting, now that she's "back". It's about the aftereffects of trauma as much as it is about the trauma itself. It's about what surviving does to a person, how it changes them, how to go back to an old life as a new person. It's utterly fascinating, and some of the points brought up by Anne in her sessions will linger with you for a long, long, long time. The last line of the book will break your heart--but do not cheat and read ahead--it's far better you end the book on that note. Trust me on this....more
This book has a broad range--from millionaire dot.com execs to literal tree huggers, book collectors and poetic references to food. It's aJackie says:
This book has a broad range--from millionaire dot.com execs to literal tree huggers, book collectors and poetic references to food. It's about two sisters at its most basic, one a hugely successful workaholic, the other a drifting PhD candidate who just can't seem to settle down. And all the people they surround themselves with, willingly or unwillingly. Goodman is often compared with Jane Austen, and I can kind of see that with her deft complexity for weaving several disparate characters and times into one engrossing story. It is a love story on many different levels, as well as a "coming into one's own" kind of story that is very gratifying.
But I cannot say it better than a jacket-copy line from the ARC--this book is "about the substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living." ...more
This is a laugh-out-loud treasure of a book that deals with the history and mystery of cheese in very layman terms. Eric and his wife ChucJackie says:
This is a laugh-out-loud treasure of a book that deals with the history and mystery of cheese in very layman terms. Eric and his wife Chuck ("pate to my rind" he says) are HUGE cheese fans. So, they decide to immerse themselves in it as much as they can on a very limited time and money budget. They do manage to go to an impressive number of places, including France twice (with hilarious results each time). This is a delightful read, which includes descriptions of complex cheeses such as "does not play well with others" or "this cheese was made to be consumed in a windy meadow", "tastes like what a milkmaids cheeks should", etc. Just about every page will have you laughing, yet this book teaches you a tremendous amount of information about cheese and will undoubtedly have you looking for the nearest local cheese monger to try some of them for yourselves!...more
Rupert Brooke wanted to be the Great Lover. He was adored by women and men, but he seemed to love only the idea of love. Based on a true storJoe says:
Rupert Brooke wanted to be the Great Lover. He was adored by women and men, but he seemed to love only the idea of love. Based on a true story, pieced together from letters and stories, this novel is a delight to read. The action takes place in England, just prior to the Great War and captures a world that was about to end... the last vestiges of the British Empire. It took me a little bit to get into the language of the book, but by the time I got into it, I was hooked, and Jill Dawson didn't let me go until the end. Despite its setting, this is a thoroughly modern tale of the limits of love and lust....more