I grabbed this at my library. I love Southern Fiction and the description on the back of the book grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, the book itself...moreI grabbed this at my library. I love Southern Fiction and the description on the back of the book grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, the book itself was lacking.
There are 800 reviews that summarize the plot, so I am not going to do that. All I am going to tell you is that I didn't enjoy this book much.
I do not believe you must always like the main characters of every book you read. That would be boring. Darlene and Carlene were utterly unlikable. The character of Henry was underdeveloped and boring. Nolie was interesting, sweet and likable, but I am pretty sure I never want to read about aprons again thanks to this book. That's saying something because I have a vintage apron fetish and own many. Erik was also rather likable and interesting, but too underdeveloped.
The storyline had promise, but it dragged. Oh! did it drag. The author constantly alluded to major happenings in the past of Carlene and Darlene....things that explained the strain of their relationship. She kept hinting and teasing at it, but it took until the very last pages (about 20-30 pages before the end) for the actual truth and meat of all the consternation to be revealed. And then *poof* everything was tidied up quite quickly. It was a very frustrating read because I found myself rolling my eyes at each chapter just wanting her to make the point already. The rest of the storyline wasn't strong enough to hold you until the past was revealed. The incidents in the past were quite substantial for these sisters and lead to 30 years over emotional distance, jealousy, mistrust and immaturity. I would have liked to have seen this revelation happen earlier so we could see the characters deal with each other and repair their relationship with this new knowledge of past events. But, no. The author had one sister drop a bomb. The other sister also reveals her own long-held secret to the audience. It explains Darlene's jealousy (guilty conscience) and Carlene's reluctance to visit Sycamores while Griff was still alive. You'd expect more discussion, but everything was just tidied up, resolved and the happy endings commenced.
Though the book takes places in the South, it lacked that feel. The author throws in some Summer phrases, a Buttersquash pageant, and a quip or two about the North, but it's not enough to give it a true Southern flavor.
This book is Christian fiction, but it's not heavy-handed or preachy. I am a Christian myself, but I dislike heavy doses of religion or evangelism and I think the author did a perfect job of keeping God's presence known in the book without being overbearing.
I understand she spoke to her vet about the dog breeding bits in the book, but as a veterinary technician, the whole plot with the breeding, whelping and c-section was just....no.
I echo criticism in other reviews that note the sloppy switch from character to character and different points in time. It was confusing at parts. Also, she begins talking about the possibility of OCD for Nolie and has Carlene asking all the townsfolk to stop accepting aprons. That plotline lived for a short moment and then just disappeared without much resolution. That could have gone somewhere.
All in all, it's an easy read, but flawed and not captivating.(less)
This is a pleasant and easy to read book about Honor Bright, a young Quaker who makes the move from England to America.
Once in America, Honor finds h...moreThis is a pleasant and easy to read book about Honor Bright, a young Quaker who makes the move from England to America.
Once in America, Honor finds herself without her sister due to tragedy, married into a family where she doesn't feel like she fits, and a participant in the Underground Railroad. Being a Quaker, she knows that slavery is immoral and she does what she can to help runaways in search of their freedom. Honor comes to a point where she must choose between her lukewarm family or her principals.
I enjoyed this book. The author does a fabulous job of setting the scene and bringing the characters to life, even if they aren't all that in-depth. I feel that this is well-researched and historically accurate. I have seen the same criticism in a few reviews here and on other sites - that Chevalier doesn't spend enough time getting to know most of the runaway slaves. This is true - she really doesn't go into depth with their personal details and stories. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Honor herself doesn't get a chance to really know these slaves. We know them as she does - in hurried and secretive interactions as she either left food for them or pointed them in the direction of a safe house. She didn't have a chance to go in depth with them as excess time spent with a slave would be a danger to them both. There are a few runaway slaves who she spends a little more time with and, like Honor, we get to learn just a few more details about them.
I gave it five stars for the simple fact that I found it to be quite well-written, captivating and I simply enjoyed it. (less)
Horrible. What a shame. This book centers around a rather serious subject, but the author dropped the ball. There's no depth of character. I didn't ca...moreHorrible. What a shame. This book centers around a rather serious subject, but the author dropped the ball. There's no depth of character. I didn't care for Cassie in the least - I wasn't sympathetic to her. Alex didn't seem...real. The storytelling was very disjointed. Many reviewers have already noted that they felt like they shared Cassie's head injury because they were left feeling dazed and confused in spots. Plenty of authors will travel back in time among various characters and switch between the past and the present day and they do it seamlessly. Not Picoult. Not in this book. Her switches were poorly constructed...usually coming during the brief moment you are actually interested in the story line.
I gave it two stars because the Native American storyline was semi-interesting. (less)
**spoiler alert** I bought this book for the worst reason - the cover. I was perusing the bargain section at Barnes and Noble and this one stood out....more**spoiler alert** I bought this book for the worst reason - the cover. I was perusing the bargain section at Barnes and Noble and this one stood out. I liked the cover - the cute little sundress, the sandals and the title. It was only $4.95, minus $0.49 cents with my membership discount.
This book has a slow beginning, a slow middle and a slow end.
Natalie Goldberg moved to Macon, Georgia, after a failed romance left her jobless in NYC. She is the daughter of a famous civil rights attorney and is staunchly opposed to the death penalty. Her job working in criminal law causes turmoil in her mind and among her family. That is, according to the author, because you don't feel much of the turmoil. You don't feel much of anything. Nothing is developed in this book. Natalie doesn't develop. The other characters don't develop. The plot doesn't develop. There's no real climax. I understand that it's meant to be a light beach read, but it doesn't give you that need to turn the page to see what happens next. I read the whole thing to be stubborn. I don't like to start books and never finish them.
There are a few moments in the book where you think, ok, this is it. There is going to be some action. A colleague enlists her help in getting his sister out of an abusive situation. I thought maybe this would be a major plot line and would involve her talking to the sister and dodging some bullets. Nope. Natalie just breezes into this lady's house, though they don't know each other, spouts of some domestic violence statistics that she got from Google or Law and Order:SVU and then the woman just agrees to pack up right at that moment and leave the house with her kids, but without the dog. Okay...not realistic, but I thought maybe there would be a story involving the husband. Nope, this part of the story is briefly alluded to in the book, sister is okay, hubby is mad and killed the dog and here is a necklace to thank you. Said colleague, Carl, seems to like Natalie and you expect a romance storyline there. Not really. You get an epiphany from her in the last couple of pages of the book, but it all falls flat.
The book began with Natalie reporting a death threat to the sherrif's office. Oooooooh, death threats. This will be suspenseful, right? Nope. The subject of death threats is never explored and is dropped by the third page.
Ok, so there is a big trial and the suspect will get sentenced to the death penalty if found guilty. This is it. This is the big moment of the book, right? Nope, predictable and easy. Every now and then Natalie whines that she doesn't like the death penalty, but we don't really "go there" with her. There is some strife with her parents over her position at the law firm, but the author doesn't delve into it and then wraps it up in a pretty bow at the end of the story.
You don't get much of Southern comfort or the culture shock of coming from the Northeast to Georgia. She mentions funny Southern words now and then and a few landmarks, but this book could really be set anywhere else and you wouldn't notice a difference. There is no sense of culture. Natalie goes to a bar with a friend and learns about zydeco dancing, but the author seemed off the mark in the description. She also likes to drop, "I'm a Jew" or "that guy is black" now and then. I don't know if the author is trying to make a statement or anything, but she mentions those things in weird ways. Like she's trying to make it an issue.
It's a book that lack a lot - interest, development, personality. None of the characters seem very likable. They are not offensive, you just don't care for them either way. The story is dry, flat and predictable. Oh, and another peeve. The author really enjoyed adding a ton of flourish to each sentence. She could never just say, "I walked across the street to the deli." No, it would be, "I lazily yet hastily walked with a limp and a skip across the black, black like an orchid in the night, street with cars beeping their cacophony of horny symphony at me as I headed towards the glass-encrusted door of the mellow delicatessen." Every sentence needed embellishment. That's fine now and then, but when you include it on every page it becomes pretentious.
There is a reason that such a new book went into the Bargain Bin. (less)
**spoiler alert** My mother gave me this book. Someone from her work gave it to her. The good thing: neither of us paid for it. My mom told me it was...more**spoiler alert** My mother gave me this book. Someone from her work gave it to her. The good thing: neither of us paid for it. My mom told me it was hard to get through. She wasn't kidding.
The book centers around Amanda, a nurse who travels home to her family homestead in Wisconsin after she suffers several breakdowns while treating wounded soldiers. She had gone home to rest, get well and to help her sister, Matilda, look after the home while Matilda's hubby, Carl, was stationed in France. Sadly, there is a drowning. Matilda dies during the drowning. Young Ruth, Matilda's daughter, remembers drowning, but doesn't remember the details. Amanda takes responsibility for Ruth, raising her as her own, and then cares for Carl when he comes home from the war. Throughout the book we learn of the events that lead to the drowning and what truly happened that night. The plot is okay. The story-telling just bombed.
The author goes back and forth between first and third person, between World War I, War War II and the period before World War I and probably the period between both wars, but I don't remember because the jumping around was so mind-numbingly annoying. Some authors truly master the art of going back and forth between characters, narratives and time periods. Christina Schwarz does not.
The characters are unlikable and unmemorable. The only ones that were semi-interesting were Rudy the caretaker and Carl. And both were forgotten. Seriously. Carl plays a major part in the plot for a good majority of the book, there is tension and development there. Carl is desperate to solve the mystery of his wife's death. He searches the houses and asks questions, trying to get a clue. You are lead to believe that he may discover the secret. And then the author suddenly discards him. It was like she couldn't figure out what to do with him so she just ties up his story by saying he went to work on a ship and that's it.
Amanda, the main character, oh, you just want her to drown from the very beginning. Matilda is likable, but predictable. It's all cliché - Amanda is the less-attractive and more straight-laced sister. Matilda is the free-spirited pretty sister. Mommy and Daddy favor Matilda, blah blah blah.
Ruth had promise. First, the author has obviously never encountered a child. The narratives that supposedly come from 3-4-5 year old Ruth are obviously written by someone in their 30's who has maybe seen a small child once or twice and is just guessing at the way children think. Ruth's character seems like she is getting a sort of backbone and is developing into her own person and then her personality just fizzles out. I guess Ruth drowned twice. Once during the night at the lake where she literally almost drowned. And then in her life, drowned by her overbearing Aunt Amanda.
The plot is a little interesting. The characters are blah. The details leave a lot to be desired. No wonder it's an Oprah book club favorite. I can normally finish a book of this size in a day. It took me a month to read it. I forced myself to get to the end...which was predictable.
Was this review jumpy and confusing? Yeah, it's just like the book.(less)
Parents of little girls in ballet class need to read this book WAY before they ever get fitted for their first pair of pointe shoes. Students should...more Parents of little girls in ballet class need to read this book WAY before they ever get fitted for their first pair of pointe shoes. Students should read this book way before they ever get fitted for their first pair of pointe shoes. Teachers should read this book because they may know as much as they thought they did about pointe shoes, pointe technique and foot health. Balletomanes should read this book because it's pretty damn cool.
As a former ballet dancer, I know first hand that pointe isn't something simple and that's it's about much more than pretty shoes. A lot goes into the technique and there is a TON of misinformation out there. Parents and teachers allow little girls to go up way too early. This leads to injuries galore and the crushing of future careers. Students often don't take proper care of their feet and shoes and end up with injuries and with shoes that don't last. I was proud to be one of few students I knew who never had a pointe-related injury. I also knew how to properly care for my shoes in order to make them last for a good while.
With this book, you get a lot of information, as much as you could want to know about pointe. The authors outline the history of pointe and how it came to be such a defining trait in ballet. There's a section on how the shoes are made, which is very interesting as many casual dancers and fans have no clue as to what really goes into making those shoes (especially the custom ones). You get a lot of advice on breaking in shoes and caring for them. They have a nice class outline, with examples of exercises. There is a lot of information on the various brands of shoes and how they differ, as well as the gear associated with going on pointe. A nice chapter includes stories from professional dancers. They do give advice on how to prevent injuries and what to do should one occur. The newer edition (2004) lists resources for those injuries. I would caution against ordering shoes sight unseen based on the information on this book. It's always wise to go to a proper dance store and see those shoes first hand and try them on.
Again, I highly recommend this book to any parent, student or teacher. It should be required reading for those involved in ballet. (less)
"It looked like it had been rubbed with sandpaper. Turns out I had a yeast infection and passed it on to him."
"I wasn't going to put my mouth on it. He peed out of that thing. I'm sure he felt the same about my apparatus."
"He could poke a hole in the wall with that thing."
Yes, you, too, can learn what it was like to be married to David Bowie and his penis in the 1970's.
This book is a little bit on the fun side. You do get some insight into what it was like with David Bowie, iconic Rock-God and Living Legend, in the late 1960's and 1970's. You also get insight into how freakin' bitter Angela is. And egotistical. This woman believes that David Bowie would never be David Bowie without her. Everything is her idea. Even the Serious Moonlight Tour of 1983 - three years after they were divorced and 6 years after they separated. And the Serious Moonlight tour influenced Michael Jackson's Thriller tour, so Angela gives herself credit for that, too. Sigh. I'm simply amazed that Angela hasn't claimed that she secretly went back in time and arranged the union between Mr. and Mrs. Jones that lead to the creation of David Bowie. I wouldn't put it past her.
Angela had been dying to write a book since her divorce from Bowie. She tried right away in 1980ish, a book called Free Spirit. It was crap and didn't do well. Bowie then issued a gag order which prevented Angela from gossiping, going on talk shows and writing books. It was never enforced and she would give small interviews here and there, but nothing major. The gag order ended in 1990 and boy did she get to work. I'm surprised that she didn't write this book sooner, though, given her inability to use simple phonics, I'm not surprised. She was obviously busy, though, by going on shows like Joan Rivers (anyone remember? I still remember her cheap pleather outfit, plain as day) and making the claim, "Do you know I caught him in bed with Mick Jagger." That's all she said, but the media went with it and the next day there was a fury of articles about Bowie boinking Jagger. A tiny bit later she went on Geraldo to say they were sleeping naked in bed, but she wasn't going to make any assumptions on what happened. And then years after that she went on Jenny Jones to say she did find them in bed, but they were passed out cold from booze 'n' drugs with their clothes on. Whew! Hard to keep. You think she would have gone into detail in the book, but she didn't. She kept it vague, probably knowing it's the only claim of hers that people want to hear about. Bowie has never denied getting it on with men. But he denies Jagger. I'm inclined to believe him.
This book does give a little glimpse into the sex, drugs and rock and/or roll of the 1970's. You've got stories aplenty about all the big acts back then, such as Led Zepplin and the Stones. You have Angela claiming that the Stones wrote "Angie" for her. Oh, this is a claim she waivers on in various interviews. I guess it depends on which medication she is on that day. There's plenty of sex to be read about, snorted drugs to ponder over and a pool exorcism to leave you laughing or crying. You'll learn all about their offbeat courtship and marriage, how David Bowie reminded her before their marriage and all the years after that he was not in love with her. They each had their affairs and would even swap lovers from time to time.
Backstage Passes shows you how bitter, bitter, bitter and jaded Angela has come. It is obvious that she is still striving to be in HIS limelight. She wants credit. Lots of credit. All the credit. The book was written about 15 years after the official divorce and you can see that she is not over it one bit. She constantly denies, in the book and in media, that she wants to be famous because of him. Yet, this woman was married TWICE (at least!) after her divorce from him, had a kid with one of those husbands, and still goes by Angela Bowie (which was never her legal name as his last name is legally Jones). I would sometimes half feel sorry for her, but then it's hard. She is so delusional. She, by now, has had 30 years to process it and get over and nothing has changed. Reading this book, it is no wonder their son, (Zowie/Joe/Duncan) cut off communication with her as a teenager and is still estranged from her. This is a woman who cannot let go of the past, who keeps trying to change the story to keep her name relevant today and keeps feeling. Kinda sad, really. (less)
This is a good, basic book on witchcraft, specifically Wicca. It's a small book and a very quick read. I recommend it for any witch's library or for...more This is a good, basic book on witchcraft, specifically Wicca. It's a small book and a very quick read. I recommend it for any witch's library or for those who are curious about or new to the path. Since the information is basic, it's old (pointy?) hat for most witches, but's it's great if your sentimental or you like Cunningham. I keep it in my library even though I'm not Wiccan, but because I like the introductory information, the explanations for those who believe witchcraft = satanism and for pure sentimental value. (less)