This book is miraculous and haunting and nightmare-inducing. I have spent many hours thinking about the characters and their experiences in between reThis book is miraculous and haunting and nightmare-inducing. I have spent many hours thinking about the characters and their experiences in between reading sessions. Like Unbroken, it seems inconceivable to me that one could read this book and remain unchanged.
Also, it seems to be an interesting time to read this book; if ever there has been more political unrest and animosity and division in my country in my lifetime, I do not know of it. We should learn from our grandparents and great grandparents and work tirelessly not to repeat their mistakes....more
Watched the movie June 9 2015- incredibly beautiful, powerful film. Would like to hear more of Robyn's thoughts before, during and after her journey.Watched the movie June 9 2015- incredibly beautiful, powerful film. Would like to hear more of Robyn's thoughts before, during and after her journey. She's impressively broken emotionally. I'm sure her personal account fleshes her out more broadly....more
It's always so difficult for me to review a book by an author I've been following for some years. Has the author's writing changed, or is it just me?It's always so difficult for me to review a book by an author I've been following for some years. Has the author's writing changed, or is it just me? Has my interpretation of her meaning changed, or have I just outgrown the particular genre?
With Elizabeth Berg, I really can't tell. In reading the reviews of this book, I can see that many of her long time fans are disappointed, but again, I ask the same question - is it us, or is it the author who has changed?
This book actually kept my attention - I didn't want to quit reading it part-way through or anything, which is something...but it is certainly a fairly flimsy work overall, IMHO. First of all, many of the situations just felt very superficial - 4 adult women living in a house with no strife or drama (that felt saccharine), the token lesbian character who is so very 'tough' on the outside but very soft on the inside (ugh.- she wasn't even a convincing lesbian...she acted much older than she was supposed to be, despite her "hip and cutting edge" writing job), the thinly developed relationship with BFF Penny, the "serendipity" that 2 of the 4 women would find men from their past who had been secretly waiting to reunite (gag me).
Also, the fact that the main character was a motivational speaker was both intriguing and completely unbelievable. Not to say that motivational speakers aren't human with flaws and weaknesses, but her issues were enough to not allow me to suspend my disbelief; she seemed like a con-artist of a motivational speaker.
From what I can gather from reading this story, the author has been doing a lot of soul-searching, perhaps therapy, and definitely some significant reading of the "self-help" genre. I liked some of the quotes, and I've listed them here if they can stand on their own without the trappings of the story or the specific characters. None are particularly earth-shattering, many can be found in any run of the mill self-help book, but some use really nice imagery, or otherwise touched me in some way.
I'm not sorry I read this book, but I don't particularly recommend it to anyone - I think I would be a little embarrassed to, to be honest.
"Our own individual life history is also shaped that way. In large part, when you factor out fate, what we are is because of what we believe about ourselves. Wherever we are in the world, we mostly live in the small space between our ears."
"..most people need someone else to tell them what they already know."
"I see where all this success has led me. Now I want to see what it's kept me from."
"There are times when you have to hurt so badly in order to move. Otherwise, you'll stay in a place you've outgrown."
"You know what you can do for me? Use your skills in some meaningful way right here instead of running all over the country. Slow down, step back, be inside your own skin, live. Open yourself to love. And give back in some meaningful way!"
"Once you start making decisions in which your heart, mind, and soul are congruent, you'll feel it as a kind of lift, if not liftoff."
"I like friendly people...who immediately make you feel welcome, and quite pleased to be yourself."
"..I take my box to the front porch and pull out my favorite deck of cards. They still carry the scent of the incense sold in the store where I bought them, a little place in New Orleans...It was a dark and narrow place, both peaceful and charged. Just walking in there made you feel enlivened in a particular way, as though you were outlined by something that glowed."
"I've gotten the fertility card. I don't ever recall having pulled it before. The application says, "You are being asked to rebirth yourself, to bring new life to an old and stagnant place...If you are considering beginning something new, the time is right. It is in you to succeed, if you choose to. Leave behind what has held you back, and move forward with confidence and joy."
"Once you've made up your mind to do a good and true thing, the universe will go out of its way to help you."
"Funny how drawn people are to the notion of fortune-telling, how susceptible they are to the thought of something supernatural offering a deeply personal revelation. The most pragmatic, the most sophisticated women used to fawn all over Cosmina, wanting her to tell them things they couldn't hear any other way."
"I look out the window into the clear blue sky. Here comes the drone of an airplane, the sound of a jogger running by. Here I am in the world, free."
"I thought of that famous Savannah cemetery statue, the one of the woman holding a plate in each hand, balancing them perfectly. That's who Annie reminded me of. I thought of how much I admire people who are able to not let one side of life cancel out the other, who can face up to opposing sides of it fully, often at the same time."
"We. It's good to have friends, that fleshy stockade."
"What if there's a whole different me under the me I know? It seems possible. Already I've seen that when you're pulled away from your normal routine, it's as though air and sunlight come into your brain and do a little housecleaning. A lifting up of what's been practically rusted into place to reveal something else, a thing that makes you understand the origin of the phrase 'new and exciting', a phrase usually offered with irony, in order to hide the longing."
"We go into the library, that layman's priory, that paper-scented oasis of quiet industry and calm."
"I straighten in my chair, smile at the approaching waiter. He is so elegantly gay I feel ashamed of myself, of my predictable domestic status. Breeder. Divorced. Knowledge of nightlife and art scene nil." (HA!)
"Oh, why isn't there a Community Center for People Who Need a Little Something? If people would only tell the truth about the way they felt, it would be busy all the time. There could be folding chairs arranged in groups, people sitting there saying, "I don't know, I just wanted to come here for awhile." (This quote really had potential, but I think she petered out at the end. I think this a lot- what if we really just said how we feel all the time, without so many of the trappings and masks that we have to don before we emote? And what if people who felt lonely or misunderstood had somewhere to go to meet with others who were feeling the same? Not a bar or anything skeevy, just somewhere other than your own living room where other living, breathing people would understand your need for connection and interaction.)...more
This was a great book. Compelling and enthralling. Un-put-downable. The voices of the characters shone through in a very real way - I think Kidd was pThis was a great book. Compelling and enthralling. Un-put-downable. The voices of the characters shone through in a very real way - I think Kidd was pretty darn masterful with their voices. Why I haven't given it 5 stars, I'm not sure...but for me, it's a solid 4-4.5 stars. The fact that it was based on significant research into the actual history of Charleston and the actual abolitionist Sarah Grimke actually adds a LOT of weight to the descriptions and the characters for me (while understanding that they are, to differing extents, constructs of the author.)
And some great quotes:
"Aunt-Sister said Charleston had a case of the grandeurs. Up till I was eight or so, I thought the grandeurs was a shitting sickness." -HA!
"People say love gets fouled by a difference big as ours. I didn't know for sure whether Miss Sarah's feelings came from love or guilt. I didn't know whether mine came from love or a need to be safe. She loved me and pitied me. And I loved her and used her. It never was a simple thing. That day, our hearts were pure as they ever would get."
On sisters: "She was braver than I, she always had been. I cared too much for the opinion of others, she cared not a whit. I was cautious, she was brash. I was a thinker, she was a doer. I kindled fires, she spread them. And right then and ever after, I saw how cunning the Fates had been. Nina was one wing, I was the other."
"History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own."...more