The summary of this novel made me immensely interested and I looked very much forward to read it. It took me a while to find time but I am glad to havThe summary of this novel made me immensely interested and I looked very much forward to read it. It took me a while to find time but I am glad to have now finally read it.
I've seen a lot of negative criticism, particularly regarding the characters but I would actually like to give praise to Kim Edwards for creating such complex characters. The novel has a very complicated plot and with even more difficult characters. Because of this, I can imagine that for many it would be hard to empathize and sympathize all of their actions and feelings. For example, how easy is it exactly to empathize Dr Henry's life-changing decision of giving his sick daughter away in the beginning? Truth to be told, I was myself shocked at how someone, particularly such a loving doctor, could do so but as the story continued, we got a deeper insight into Dr Henry's personality and more importantly, his past.
All the other characters were somehow the same yet different - they had their huge flaws and strengths, their emotions and thoughts and they were after all humans who had to undergo certain trauma of loss and neglect. One character that particularly touched me was Dr Henry's son, Paul, and the conflict he had with his father. Although I could not empathize, I could indeed sympathize and I think that this could be common for many of the readers to one or more characters.
Other than the characters, I also really enjoyed Edwards' style. It wasn't the most exquisite and creative form that I had encountered but it was simple, easy to follow and nice. Sometimes it was confusing to keep track of the ages of the characters, despite the year given.
However, one of the reasons why I gave this a four star and not five was because of the angst and dark mood of this novel. Indeed, there were light scenes. The love scenes were beautiful and the imagery was although not incredible descriptive, it was still good. However, there was always a brooding and sad tone. Sometimes it was not even sad but blank and neutral in a negative sense. I also wasn't too fond of the ending but that's because I like to leave a book, happy and satisfied. The ending was well but very bitter-sweet and I wish that one of the things that happened in the end did not happen. I'm not going to be explicit though because I don't want this review to contain spoilers.
So overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone as it is a rather dark and complex but if you like complicated characters with a controversial plot, then sure, why not. Give it a go.
Good quotes "You missed a lot of heartache, sure. But David, you missed a lot of joy."...more
I have very conflicting feelings about this book, especially Katniss, but overall it was truly exciting and I definitely enjoyed it very much. LookingI have very conflicting feelings about this book, especially Katniss, but overall it was truly exciting and I definitely enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to reading the next....more
I read about 3 quarters of this book ages ago. A friend of mine borrowed it before I was done and well, it's been years, she hasn't returned it and II read about 3 quarters of this book ages ago. A friend of mine borrowed it before I was done and well, it's been years, she hasn't returned it and I guess it is officially lost. I don't feel inclined to finish it though. I hardly remember the book and although it had it's moment when it was enjoyable, it wasn't good enough for me to hunt it down again and finish that last quarter.
The TV series and the movie? MUCH MUCH BETTER. ...more
I first heard of this book through TNBBC nearly two years ago and was intrigued by the rather positive reviews**spoiler alert** Setting: United States
I first heard of this book through TNBBC nearly two years ago and was intrigued by the rather positive reviews it was receiving. A circus and animal-themed book just didn't seem that interesting to me. I purchased my own copy but like many of the books that I buy, it somehow end up dusting on the bookshelves instead of being read. A year later, I heard that there was a film in the making (and with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in the cast!) and decided that it was about time for me to pick it up and read.
I read. I gasped. I flailed. I was on the brink of tears and laughter (but mostly tears) and I was completely taken by the story. I was moved by the characters and the descriptions of the nasty conditions at the Benzini Brothers Circus and absolutely appalled at the gruesome treatment of both animals and workers. You could tell that Gruen is a very avid animal lover. One scene could reflect how sweet and innocent animals could be (I would be lying if I said that I wasn't grinning at the scene where the elephant Rosie was happily chewing food on someone's private vegetable patch or whenever the chimpanzee Bobo's needed a hug and a hand to hold) and the other scene could have you wanting to pull out a character (mostly August) from the pages and simply strangle said character for the awful and terrible animal treatment. On the other page, you would have workers who were working to their very last sweat drop until they were weak or complaining enough to be thrown of the train in the middle of the night. Not to mention, the characters! And love plot (triangle drama, oh my!)!
This book was a fantastic reading experience. I recommend it very much. I'm trying to figure out why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 (it was a while since I read it) and I can't seem to remember but alas, do give this book a try. Especially if you like general fiction or would like to try something new and more original.
"When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm--you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."
"Age is a terrible thief. Just when your getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse."
"I stroke her lightly, memorizing her body. I want her to melt into me, like butter on toast. I want to absorb her and walk around for the rest of my days with her encased in my skin. I lie motionless, savoring the feeling of her body against mine. I'm afraid to breathe in case I break the spell."
"Dear God. Not only am I unemployed and homeless, but I also have a pregnant woman, bereaved dog, elephant, and eleven horses to take care of."
"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. EverybodMemorable Quotes (there's several)
"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”"
"There are no characters in this story and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters. But old Derby was a character now."
"He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next."
"We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep."
"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."
"And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes."
""He was a funny-looking child who became a funny-looking youth - tall and weak and shaped like a bottle of Coca-Cola."
"'The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. '"
"He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest."
"If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice."
The "letter exchange" form isn't really a style that I am fond of but this was an excellent read. You could tell that a lot of letters were missing buThe "letter exchange" form isn't really a style that I am fond of but this was an excellent read. You could tell that a lot of letters were missing but it still managed to convey the great story about the friendship that Helene Hanff developed with Frank Doel and the rest of the team at Marks & Co. I didn't recognize many of the works that they mentioned but it made me curious and I also loved how enthusiastic Hanff was about the books.
I'm unsure whether I should read the continuing sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street which is the story of when Hanff finally goes to visit literature England. Skimming through it, I can see that there is a lot of descriptions about her travels and surroundings but at the same time, the format (mixture of diary/journal and novel) isn't very appealing so I still haven't decided. ...more
I would have given this 3 if it was possible but I guess I'll give it a 4 instead of a 3 though. I did enjoy this very much. It's simple and fun and aI would have given this 3½ if it was possible but I guess I'll give it a 4 instead of a 3 though. I did enjoy this very much. It's simple and fun and a good book to read when you want something easy and entertaining to pass time. Greek mythology has never been something I'm very interested in but Riordan twists it so that it becomes amusing and exciting. I do wish that he would vary his writing style a little bit. Although Percy's sarcasm is entertaining, sometimes he overdo it (for example, I grew tired of the "Good news/bad news" style. First time it works well, but any more and you start to think he doesn't have any creativity).
Other than that, enjoyable! I preferred the first book but still look forward to read the third as well :)...more