While this certainly wasn't a brilliant novel, it was just the right level of engaging to listen to on long drives. The reader, though slow and slightWhile this certainly wasn't a brilliant novel, it was just the right level of engaging to listen to on long drives. The reader, though slow and slightly annoying at first, grew on me. However, the ending was dissatisfying, and seemed hurriedly slapped on. I doubt I'll pick up the next book in the series, unless my life continues in this vein and I need something more light-hearted to read.
Number of times I cried while reading this book: 2 or 3ish....more
I've looked through this book quite a few times at bookstores, but never wanted to shell out the cash for it. So when I found it at the library, I finI've looked through this book quite a few times at bookstores, but never wanted to shell out the cash for it. So when I found it at the library, I finally picked it up and read it. It's a good read for someone who wants to knit or crochet (though it only has patterns for knitting) for a charitable cause, but isn't sure which organization best suits their abilities and desires. I found two groups that really tugged at me. The Mother Bear Project, which is "is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations." The book made it seem like they only accepted knitted bears, but apparently the crochet pattern is available on their website for a $5 donation. Secondly, Project Linus, which makes it their mission to "provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer 'blanketeers.'” I'm really excited that there is a chapter local to me, with blankets donated to the local hospital and other facilities. Why is it, I wonder, that I leaned more towards the charities that provide comfort, rather than warmth?
Number of times I cried during this book: Like 15....more
I really think this is probably a great book. The reader was definitely competent; I enjoyed the style and the varied characters and the themes and..I really think this is probably a great book. The reader was definitely competent; I enjoyed the style and the varied characters and the themes and..
It just isn't a book that one can fully take in on a long, cold drive at 5 AM day after day. This book deserved more of me. It needs a reader who is awake, aware, and able to dedicate themselves to it. I'll pick it up and reread it when my life calms down.
Number of times I cried while listening to this book: Probably 10....more
When I picked this up, I had somehow gotten under the impression that The Assistant won the National Book Award in the 50's. I've only today learned tWhen I picked this up, I had somehow gotten under the impression that The Assistant won the National Book Award in the 50's. I've only today learned that it was actually Malamud's later novel, The Fixer, that won the award (as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) in 1967. C'est la vie.
I wish I could decide how I feel about this novel, which portrays the lives of first and second generation Jewish immigrants in America in the 1950's. I found Malamud's writing style easy to adjust to and pleasant. It was simple, but tight. I appreciated that the character's, especially Frank, were portrayed in a way that made them hard to like or dislike, yet easy to identify with. Frank Alpine, the "goyim," a screw-up. It is almost like there are two Franks: the Frank that he is, and the Frank that he longs to be. (Isn't this true of everyone?) Often, even as he gives into temptation, he recognizes that he is falling back into old habit's, he is being Frank: the young man who held up a Jewish grocery; Frank: the voyeur; Frank: the petty thief rather than the patient, rational man that he can be with a little effort. He struggles to hide his lack of restraint, his impulsiveness, and to overcome it. But often, in failing, he brings his world and the people around down with him.
I found the ending a little close-minded, almost as if Malamud is saying "To be good, you must be Jewish."...more
I think one reader described this novel best when she labeled it "an enjoyable disappointment."
So many potentially great themes left unexplored makesI think one reader described this novel best when she labeled it "an enjoyable disappointment."
So many potentially great themes left unexplored makes this book a ramble of a romance novel. The author seizes every opportunity to show how hip she is, as if her third mention of The Violent Femmes would definitely convince me that she's supercool. Just in case you don't stay awake at night pondering her characters resemblance to Odysseus and Penelope, she points it out. And she just can't wait to tell you about all the great literature she's read. Oh, Ms. Niffenegger, I am prostrate before your worldly knowledge....more
I give this 3 stars only because it took me 3-4 readings to tire of it, plus 2 viewings of the Alfred Hitchcock film.
A haunting story of how fear of tI give this 3 stars only because it took me 3-4 readings to tire of it, plus 2 viewings of the Alfred Hitchcock film.
A haunting story of how fear of the past can consume the present. My first reading (years ago) I may have given it 4 stars; my most recent, and probably last, only 2. The foreshadowing is, by now, embarrassingly obvious. The constant eerie atmosphere present through the first half of the book, tiresome. The characters, overly dramatic. Perhaps the reader in this audiobook brought little nuances to life, or perhaps the story has just worn thin for me, but I think to read it again would only further deteriorate the enjoyment I once derived from this gothic novel....more
The Series of Unfortunate Events got nothin' on you, Tortilla Curtain. Seriously, devastation after devastation, all intertwined to show the effects oThe Series of Unfortunate Events got nothin' on you, Tortilla Curtain. Seriously, devastation after devastation, all intertwined to show the effects of racism, greed, poverty, and hypocrisy. Oh jeez, the hypocrisy. These characters are down on their luck, exaggeratedly so. But Boyle shows that it isn't luck, it is cause and effect. Regardless, there are a few too many scenario's relying on exact timing to make this story plausible, but it was enjoyable and thought-provoking nonetheless....more
There are times when Bronte captivates me with description. "How, with the tintless palor of her skin and thGood, bad, more than a little frustrating.
There are times when Bronte captivates me with description. "How, with the tintless palor of her skin and the classic straightness of her lineaments, she managed to look sensual, I don't know. I think her lips and eyes contrived the affair between them, and the result left no uncertainty on the beholder's mind."
There are times when I exasperatedly sigh with boredom. ".. this is a Belgian, rather low of stature, in form heavy, with broad waist, short neck and limbs, good red and white complexion, features well-chiseled and regular, well-cut eyes of a clear brown colour, light brown hair, good teeth, age not much above fifteen, but as full-grown as a stout young Englishwoman of twenty."
Sometimes, I feel ill. "..the sensible, sagacious, affable directress shone like a steady star over a marsh full of jack-o'-lanthorns*;" *will-o'-the-wisps
Then there are the worst times, when the entire page is filled with something like "Quel ennui d'ecrire quelquechose que l'on ne comprend pas!" and I have to constantly flip back and forth to the footnotes when they're provided. It is frustrating, frustrating, frustrating to no end and makes me want to throw the book across the room even when the english bits are captivating, or perhaps especially then....more