I only picked up this book from the library because they didn't have the specific books I was looking for in, so I walked through the aisles and rando...moreI only picked up this book from the library because they didn't have the specific books I was looking for in, so I walked through the aisles and randomly selected a few so the trip wasn't a waste. When I saw it on the shelf, I remembered that someone a while ago had recommended that I read it and "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks, and because books are almost always better than the movie versions, I decided to give it a shot.
I actually liked the movie when I saw it. I am a sappy girl like that sometimes. I don't read romance novels, and I don't watch chick flicks like they are going out of style, but Dirty Dancing will always be one of my favourite movies, because I grew up watching it over and over. So, sometimes I fall in love with a sappy story.
In some ways I prefer the movie to the book, which might be only because I had seen it before I read it. I struggled with whether to give it two or three stars, because I felt like it was more than just "ok", it was decent, but when I look back at other books I had given three stars to, I really did not feel like it was on par with them. I would have probably loved this had I read it when I was thirteen or fourteen. Maybe I have gotten more cynical over time, or maybe it's just that I would have related more at that age, I don't know, but as sweet as the storyline was, it just didn't pull on my heartstrings like it clearly was meant to. I know I teared up during the movie, but the book didn't do it for me for some reason. I don't think it was because I already knew what was going to happen - it would have been pretty obvious where it was heading had I not ever seen the movie, and I have re-read books before and still been as touched as the first time. I think it just fell slightly short in capturing the tender moments, and that is where the movie was able to pick it up and elaborate.
I wouldn't recommend it necessarily to anyone, but I also wouldn't suggest to someone that they shouldn't read it. I've definitely read worse.(less)
The back and forth between Japan and France gets dull. The book is short enough as it is, but reading basically the exact same paragraph of the journe...moreThe back and forth between Japan and France gets dull. The book is short enough as it is, but reading basically the exact same paragraph of the journey over and over is monotonous. The story that unfolds is somewhat interesting, but it feels like he just copied and pasted and churned this book out in a month to meet some deadline. It had the potential to be a far more interesting story.(less)
Interesting read. Somewhat unbelievable premise, but very well written. Elyse Friedman seemlessly flips back and forth between the past and present to...moreInteresting read. Somewhat unbelievable premise, but very well written. Elyse Friedman seemlessly flips back and forth between the past and present to weave Michelle's story. Michelle's character is well developed. I think her brother and sister's character could have been delved into slightly more, but it didn't detract too much from the story since it revolved mostly around her. She manages to tell what could have turned into a sappy story with wit & cleverness, turning it from sappy to snappy.(less)
Reading this book was like stepping back in time. It was like snuggling under the covers with the lost summers of youth.
You do not have to be able to...moreReading this book was like stepping back in time. It was like snuggling under the covers with the lost summers of youth.
You do not have to be able to relate to the actual situations and actions in the story of Berie and Sils, to be taken back in time. The feelings portrayed in the flashbacks are so easy to grab onto and remind you of your own feelings from childhood. I can't say that I ever went through anything similar to what they did, but it was written in a way that reminded me of some of the situations I did go through, and reminded me of the friendships I had.
When this book was recommended to me, I went on Amazon.com to add it to my wishlist and read some of the reviews there. One reviewer commented that "the characters and their actions are too unbelievable and unrealistic", and then further on says that "The friendship between the two girls didn't seem strong enough to warrant Berie's actions".
I was actually finding it hard to believe that we had read the same book. Perhaps it is because she is ten years older than I, and in that decade, as she moved further from her childhood, she has forgotten those things entirely that I was reminded of, but one of the things that I loved most about this book was that the characters and actions were entirely believable. I never once scoffed at the way the characters were portrayed in their youth as I have during many books, including books that label themselves as "memoirs". I found the characters in their youth refreshing and realistic. I'm also not sure how she came to the conclusion that their friendship did not seem strong enough, as I felt the connection between them was a realistic portrayal of a girlhood friendship rather than the idealistic ones usually represented in books, TV, and movies. It reminded me of a friendship I had when I was younger, which is possibly why I could feel a really strong connection between them.
The one thing I didn't much care for in this book were the flashs of Berie's life nowadays. I wouldn't say they were unnecessary in theory, I just think that those particular scenes did not fit in. I think that scenes of her current life were needed, I just don't think that those particular one's fit in with the rest of the book. Being as they were secondary to the story being told, I didn't feel they ruined or took away from it, but I wish they were written differently as they could have lent more to the story rather than being awkwardly interwoven.(less)