I think I normally would have given this book two stars. But, it had so many good quotes in it that I raised it to three stars.
The story is so formulaI think I normally would have given this book two stars. But, it had so many good quotes in it that I raised it to three stars.
The story is so formulaic at its heart. Six friends at different points in life, sharing the ups and downs of their lives. At a dinner party celebrating the "recovery from cancer" (per the book jacket) of Kate, they come up with a pact. The friends have convinced Kate to go on a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon that her daughter invited her on, and Kate gets to pick out challenges that each of them have to complete as well. Many readers can guess how things go.
What I really liked about the book (and what kept me going, aside from the fact that it was the current month's selection of my book club) were the quotes sprinkled throughout. There were many great nuggets throughout. Many of them are included on the GoodReads Quotes page (https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes...). You may do just as well to just skip the book and read the quotes there. But they, at the very least, are definitely worth reading. ...more
**spoiler alert** I agree with the others who wrote what a difficult book this is to review. I don't think I've ever read a book set in this part of A**spoiler alert** I agree with the others who wrote what a difficult book this is to review. I don't think I've ever read a book set in this part of Alaska. I thought the concept of the story was great -- up to a point. The character of Ruby was refreshing.
For me, the problem was the execution, which left a lot to be desired. For instance: * Yasmin's actions were unrealistic on so many levels. I understand that it turned out, in the long run that she was right. But I can't see someone doing what she did -- and putting her child in danger -- on the chance that Matt was still alive. (Someone else in my book club pointed out that, if Yasmin had waited until the next morning at the airport, she could have gotten to Deadhorse at about the same time she did anyway, even with the weather issues.)
* The whole story line was telescoped. I knew, from the beginning, what was going to happen at the end. Well, I missed a few minor details, but I pretty much had it figured out.
*There was one improbable event/action after another, just to make sure that Yasmin and Ruby got to where they needed to be for the story. I would have preferred a story that was more character driven, even if it had been a different story. (The author said, in an interview, that she knew that she wanted fracking to be the "bad guy." With that as a starting point, she locked herself in, and that was obvious.
* On the other hand, many passages were long and drawn out and repetitive. For instance, the descriptions of Yasmin putting the chains on the tires and hammering the ice out of the tires dragged on. (Another member of my book club suggested that maybe it was to give the reader that long, dragged out feeling that Yasmin was experiencing, but that didn't work for me).
* There was a character introduced early on for suspense. But, by the end, he was mostly forgotten about. It was obvious he was added as a red herring. There were other things that were touched on and then fell off the radar.
I think this could have made a great short story. But, even though it's one of the shorter books I've read recently, it felt much longer. It took me a while to read it, just because I had no desire to keep reading it. I think I would have given up on it early on had it not been my book club's selection of the month....more
This one is hard for me to rate. I'd give it a 3.5 stars, so I'm rounding up. What I liked:
*The author tried to maintain the suspense until the end. TThis one is hard for me to rate. I'd give it a 3.5 stars, so I'm rounding up. What I liked:
*The author tried to maintain the suspense until the end. The reader finds out early on that someone dies at the local elementary school's trivia night, but not even the gender of the victim is revealed until the death happens, near the end of the book. *The characters are mostly well thought out. When things are light, it's a fun read.
What I didn't like: *While I hadn't worked out all of the specifics, I pretty much solved the biggest mystery -- who died -- while listening to the fifth (or maybe it was the fourth) audio disc (of a 13-disc set). To me, it was really obvious. At only one point, very late in the game, did I second-guess myself, and that's because something was said that would have meant that I was wrong. But, shortly after, things changed and I realized I was right after all. I also worked something else out early on, but I don't want to say much more, because I think that would give things away. *There were a few story lines that got *way* too heavy -- Abigail's in particular. There was no need for that. ...more
Even better than the first. I'm so glad J. K. Rowling decided to do this series. And, I have to say, even as good as it is anyway, the narrator, RoberEven better than the first. I'm so glad J. K. Rowling decided to do this series. And, I have to say, even as good as it is anyway, the narrator, Robert Glenister, makes it even better. His range of voices and accents is amazing. He really brings all of the characters to life. You can be listening to a discussion with several people, and you always know who's saying what when. I'm looking forward to listening to more of his narration -- including more Cormoran Strike....more
I'm honestly not sure *what* I thought. In a lot of ways, the story was all over the place, trying to cover way too many topics over the course of theI'm honestly not sure *what* I thought. In a lot of ways, the story was all over the place, trying to cover way too many topics over the course of the story. There was a lot of coincidence (or synchronicity) throughout. But sometimes it felt realistic and other times, it felt contrived. I didn't really like the inconsistent points of view, shifting from one story to another and back or a different one.
OTOH, I really liked a lot of the characters -- and there were many. There were plot lines I never expected from the title -- and for me, they were interesting....more
I expected to like this more than I did. I *wanted* to like it more than I did. I did really enjoy the different voices coming through the different tI expected to like this more than I did. I *wanted* to like it more than I did. I did really enjoy the different voices coming through the different types of communications (specifically Elisabeth's and Frannie's letters). I was intrigued by the concept. But the story line didn't pan out as expected, and I was very disappointed with the end. It was both too pat and too contrived....more
I really enjoyed this. Even though I was able to figure out "whodunnit" well before the mystery was solved, it didn't matter. The cast of characters wI really enjoyed this. Even though I was able to figure out "whodunnit" well before the mystery was solved, it didn't matter. The cast of characters was quite engaging, and I can't wit to read more about them in the next book(s) in the series....more
I'm with those who love the first two thirds of the book but were really disappointed in the ending. I really wish the story could have stayed epistolI'm with those who love the first two thirds of the book but were really disappointed in the ending. I really wish the story could have stayed epistolary with the tone of the beginning throughout.
If you haven't already read it, take a look at "Dear Mountain Room Parents", also by Maria Semple (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/201...). It seems to have been written (or at least published) about the time Bernadette came out. It is what I hoped "Bernadette" to be -- a great story, told well, with a plot line -- and tone -- that carried through to the end.
Given that, I'm *so* glad I listened to the audio version of the book, read by Kathleen Wilhoite. While I know of Ms. Wilhoite's work as an actress (I was a *big* "Gilmore Girls" fan, I wasn't familiar with her outside of acting. It turns out she is a *wonderful* reader (and singer) as well.
Since this is an epistolary novel, with letters (and other documents) written by at least a half dozen different people, Ms. Wilhoite had an incredibly tough job -- making sure that the "reader" could distinguish among all of the characters by just listening to the voice. She did that really well. Everyone had a distinct voice, and it was easy to tell who was speaking, even during dialogues between characters (as recounted in the letters).
From what I can see on GoodReads, it looks like this was the first book Ms. Wilhoite was the reader for. I hope that it is not the last. I look forward to hearing more from her....more