Serena is the story of George and Serena Pemberton, newlyweds who are the heads of a large timber empire based out of Boston. The story is set in theSerena is the story of George and Serena Pemberton, newlyweds who are the heads of a large timber empire based out of Boston. The story is set in the depression-era mountains of North Carolina (home sweet home) where the lumber company is now scalping the landscape. Serena is new to the camp after the marriage takes place, but George has lived there long enough to father a child with a local girl named Rachel.
The story is told in a limited third person narrative from the points of view of Pemberton (Mr., not Mrs.), Rachel, and a group of local men who work in the camp cutting down trees.
I've read and watched some interviews with Rash where he notes that Shakespeare's MacBeth was a huge inspiration on this story. There are several nods to the Bard in this book. A few times the "uneducated" camp men make references to his works and Serena is very much a character like Lady MacBeth. The chapters with the workers also mimics the chorus giving us insight on to what was happening outside of the direct action of the story.
The book is heavily layered with many instances of metaphor, symbolism, theme, imagery, etc. There are also a few subplots going on like an altercation with the government that seeks to preserve the land for a national forest and with Rachel's struggle to be a single mother. The characters are highly developed, though I don't know that I would say that they were ever 100% fully developed. The characterization in the book was well done though, and Rash even had the ability to write the land in a way that it became another character in the book.
This is a somewhat lengthy book, in fact one interview I read noted that this was his longest book to date. The action takes its time to unfold, but it is worth the wait. The writing is excellent and Rash has a wonderful way of capturing place in a way that is reminiscent of Faulkner (Serena was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award in 2009). Despite the title, this is not a very character-heavy novel, I would say that it is more of a layered allegorical novel with a heavy narrative structure.
I recommend this to fans of historical fiction, fans of North Carolina authors,fans of Faulkner, McCarthy, O'Connor, fans of southern literature in general and readers who prefer more of a narrative than a character-driven plot. 4 out of 5 stars. ...more
Gillian Flynn grows on me more and more each time I read one of her books. The more I read by her, the more I want to read more and the more I like thGillian Flynn grows on me more and more each time I read one of her books. The more I read by her, the more I want to read more and the more I like the books and the characters and the stories. I had a real hard time with Gone Girl. I didn't like any of the characters and I was disgusted by the ways in which the people treated each other and manipulated each other and harmed each other in that particular book. Then I read Sharp Objects and I liked it a little better. I was still disgusted and cold towards the characters, but I was starting to get it- Oh! These are Gillian Flynn characters! They're messed up! They're Haunted! They're disturbed! They're despicable! They're real! When I read my third book by Flynn, Dark Places, I knew what to expect. I knew I wasn't going to like anyone and I wasn't going to relate to any of the characters and that was how it was supposed to be. I actually didn't completely dislike our protagonist in Dark Places. I felt like I could understand a little more about why she acted and felt the way that she did versus the other Flynn characters I have read. Don't get me wrong, I still didn't love her and want to hang out with her IRL, though. Flynn's characters are so unlikable, I think, because they are so real. We all have yucky parts to ourselves that we'd like to and that we try to hide from other people. Nobody's perfect, and that is especially true if you are a character in a Gillian Flynn novel.
This book was a compelling and engaging read. I read it in a few lengthy sessions rather than several short bursts. I think I read it in three sittings of about two hours each. I had a hard time putting it down, and several times I found myself carrying my nook around the house with me as I washed clothes and did dishes, still reading. I had a strong desire with this one to know "whodunit?!" I can usually figure these things out (and did, in fact, with Gone Girl and Sharp Objects), but this one had me stumped until the great reveal. Flynn threw several viable red herrings at us throughout the book, and as soon as I had thought that I'd figured it all out, here comes another herring. The characters in this book were very developed, I thought, with the exception of Ben. I wanted to know more about why he was making the choices that he made and what was compelling him to do the things that he did (or, didn't do). I appreciated the alternating chapters that Flynn gives us in this book. We start out hearing from Libby present day and then the alternating chapters are the perspectives of the mother and Ben on the day of the murders. This slowly builds a picture of the events that led up to the tragedy. This book does a great job of showing how even the most messed up people can come to terms with the mistakes of their past and how those mistakes can and will haunt you for a lifetime, if you let them. Flynn is a very talented writer. She has a sophisticated writing style that flows well from the first page to the very last sentence. She has a way of evoking real physical feelings for me. As I read this book I felt dirty, like I needed 100 showers and that still wouldn't be enough. As I read I felt like I had a layer of grime on me. This book is supposed to be macabre like Flynn's others. Dark Places deals with some real heavy issues like molestation, Satanism, drugs, alcoholism, depression, and animal sacrifices, just to name a few! Overall, I enjoyed Dark Places the most out of the three currently published Gillian Flynn novels. Each book of hers that I read I like a little better than the last. I will definitely read her next work and I eagerly await the film version of this book starting Charlize Theron which I believe is coming out soon! A solid 4 out of 5 stars! ...more
I cannot join the hugely huge group of people who loved this book. I did not love this book. I didn't even like this book (mostly). What I did like abI cannot join the hugely huge group of people who loved this book. I did not love this book. I didn't even like this book (mostly). What I did like about this book was Gillian Flynn's writing style and that is the only thing that allowed me to give this book a 2.5 rating. I cannot for the life of me figure out why there is so much hype surrounding this book! I wish that I could say that people are loving it because of Flynn's way of writing, but I highly doubt that is the reason this book stayed on the NYT Bestsellers List for so long. I am excited to see the movie and how it will be adapted to the screen, especially since a large majority of the book is entries from Amy's diary.
Amy is a spoiled rich girl whose parents made a fortune from writing a series of children's books based on Amy- the Amazing Amy Series. Being raised completely opposite is Amy's husband Nick who is now having to care for his ailing parents (Alzheimer's (dad) and Cancer (mom)). After the couple both loose their jobs they make the decision to leave NYC and move back to Nick's small hometown in Missouri to help care for his parents.
This book is a macabre, psychological suspense thriller that majorly messed with my mind. I found myself feeling disgusted the entire time I read. Gone Girl gave me a sense of urgency as I read it. Though I did not enjoy it overall, I did feel a compulsion to continue reading, and at a quick pace. I had to know what was going on? What will happen next? Why is this happening? I had a very difficult time relating to any of the characters in the book. Adding to that, I also had major trouble cheering for any of the characters. I found myself not caring one way or another what happened to them. The alternating POV chapters between Nick and Amy allows readers to see just how equally disturbing the two individuals truly are. I especially hated the ending, though to avoid spoilers, I won't reveal anything about it other than the fact that I simply abhorred it. Let me reiterate here: Flynn's writing is excellent. Her writing never ebbs its way into cliche or overblown territory like a lot of mystery novels seem to do. Flynn has an amazing gift for blooming her characters into fully rounded, three-dimensional people and the writing flowed very well. Though I really disliked the subject matter of book, I do want to read another of her books since the writing was so exquisite. I would recommend Gone Girl to adult fans of suspense, thrillers, and mind games.
Title: Gone Girl Series: Stand Alone Genre: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Author: Gillian Flynn Published: 2012 By Broadway Books Awards: Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best Suspense/Thriller; GoodReads Choice Award for Best Mystery & Thriller Pages: 422 I Got It: Borrowed from a family member I Read It: July 20 - July 24, 2014 I Rated It: 2.5 Stars
I really liked Insurgent, despite being confused out of my mind for the majority of the book. I was so confused at the start of this book that I had I really liked Insurgent, despite being confused out of my mind for the majority of the book. I was so confused at the start of this book that I had to view Roth's blog post: But I Read Divergent A Year Ago! which was super helpful in reminding me how Divergent ended since it had actually been more than a year since I had read it. Once I read her blog post I had to start the book over and re-read the first 40 pages, this time with a little less confusion. The characters were still really awesome and we got to see a continuation of character development with our main cast in this book. I really liked the majority of the characters and I thought that they all fit into their roles perfectly. I was pretty pissed off at Tris at several points in the book, and especially at several of the choices that she made and a lot of her reasoning behind her actions and decisions. She is Dauntless after all, though, so I suppose I can't stay too mad at her for too long. I liked how we got to see the humanity of Tris in this book. She is a Dauntless girl in the middle of a factions war, and yet she still spends a great deal of the book feeling guilty about killing someone who was threatening her life. I appreciate Four for the role that he plays. He does a great job as the male lead. I do hope that we get some more from him in Allegiant. I want to know more about him, his back story and his inner thoughts and motivations. Even though I loved the main characters, one of the most annoying things about this book for me was the secondary characters. Roth included an enormous cast of characters in this book and I found it incredibly difficult to keep track of all of them. I wasn't sure who was good and who was evil and who I was supposed to root for and who I was supposed to thumb my nose at and who was born into what faction and who switched to what faction and why. Too much! The pacing of the book was excellent. This is a long book (525 pages) but it passed very quickly and I was genuinely surprised when it ended; I had thought I had at least 100 pages to go! I did read this book on my Nook so perhaps that helped quite a bit with my not realizing how long it was. Despite the actual length of the book, it flew by and I think that this was mainly due to all of the action that took place. It seemed that every time I sat down with the book there was a battle scene resulting in an emotionally heavy outcome. These books are dystopian done well and Roth continues the excellency of the world building. There did seem to be some redundancy of action to me which only added to my confusion at times. I feel like perhaps those extra scenes could have been left out. It was still a fabulous book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I would recommend. I viewed the second teaser trailer for the Divergent movie on YouTube last night while G was in the computer room and he watched it over my shoulder and he seemed really intrigued. I think it might have gotten him thinking about reading the books before I drag him to the movie. The trailers look great so far and I highly approve of the casting for this movie. I can't wait for March! Oh, and I decided I'm pretty sure I would be in Amity, even though they do dress like Ronald McDonald....more
The Silver Linings Playbook (in case you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months) is the journey of Pat Peoples after his release from a BalThe Silver Linings Playbook (in case you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months) is the journey of Pat Peoples after his release from a Baltimore Mental Institution. Pat is released after serving years for a violent crime that he has blocked from his memory. Pat returns home to New Jersey to a surly and withdraw father, an altered brother, a wife he is having “apart time” with, and a mother who is trying to hold this whole motley crew together with some hugs and crabby snacks. Pat is convinced that his life is a movie and that he is making his way to his happy ending, or his silver-lining, if you will. The novel is Pat's journey to re-self discovery and his true silver lining, even if it is not in the form that he thinks it will be.
The Hours is the story of three women in different eras living their life in one day. First we meet Virginia Woolf, yes, THE Virginia Woolf, on the moThe Hours is the story of three women in different eras living their life in one day. First we meet Virginia Woolf, yes, THE Virginia Woolf, on the morning that she begins writing Mrs. Dalloway. Next we meet Clarissa Vaughn living in the late 1990's New York City who is planning a party for her long-time friend, Richard, who is being honored with a distinguished literary award, and finally we meet Laura Brown who only wants to read Mrs. Dalloway and escape from her mundane housewife life in 1950's America. We journey on one day in the lives of each of these ladies much like we journey one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway in the novel Mrs. Dalloway. In the end the three lives will interchange and all come together in an act of interconnectedness like no other.
I enjoyed this book. I hate to say it, but it really was a page turner. I had to know what was going to happen to ole' Mary. Even though I knew that sI enjoyed this book. I hate to say it, but it really was a page turner. I had to know what was going to happen to ole' Mary. Even though I knew that she made it back home I had to know HOW she was going to do it because, honestly, I would never have thought she'd be able to. The story, though it is a fictionalized account of a true event, was very unbelievable and I think that Thom may have taken several liberties with his telling.
Anna Karenina is the story of two main characters- Anna Karenina and Konstantin Levin. Anna is married to Alexy Alexandrovitch who is stuffy and borinAnna Karenina is the story of two main characters- Anna Karenina and Konstantin Levin. Anna is married to Alexy Alexandrovitch who is stuffy and boring and serious and old and she does not love him. Levin is a hard-working farmer who is, for some reason, in love with Kitty. Kitty is a bore and I do not care for her. Kitty is pretty sure that Alexy Vronsky is going to ask for her annoying little hand in marriage and just before this happens, Vronsky falls for Anna and suddenly- passionate affair! Anna gives up her status and her beloved son and becomes an outcast in order to be with Vronsky. Soon she becomes jealous and raging and crazy and convinced that he will leave her for another (now, where the hell would she get a crazy idea like that?!) so she (SPOILER ALERT, kinda) jumps in front of a train to make him sorry and to end the cray-cray life that she has been leading. Meanwhile, in Russia, Levin has finally found the courage to swoop in on a rejected Kitty and get her to agree to marry him or else become a spinster. They have their ups and downs as a couple but basically end up in happy ever after land with a baby on a farm.
So, like I said, the book was really just about normal people living normal lives. I may sound unappreciative, but actually, that was what made the book so great and Tolstoy was able to take these characters and make them real and tedious and borning like we all really are (except maybe Lady Gaga). They were relatable and honest and raw and I have read a lot of reviews where people say that they hate Anna and can't understand her motives, but Reader, I saw a lot of myself in Anna. I wouldn't normally admit that to just anyone, Reader, but I appreciate you and I trust you and so yeah, I am a lot like Anna. I can be a real hot-head and I can be jealous and I am immature and I am rash just like she was. I was able to see pieces of myself in almost every character, even Alexy Alexandrovitch. The characters were abundant, but they were all, even the smallest of small characters, well and perfectly formed. Tolstoy is a master of the characterization and for this, I was able to forgive the novel its length.
I liked the book. I did not love it and I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. However, there are some themes in the novel that I think many people, even today can relate to. Consider- what is the position of the lower class citizens? Do they deserve government assistance or are they to be shunned and used only as labor? What about women's rights? The hypocrisy of the men in this novel is astounding. Anna has one affair and is never to be forgiven yet almost every man (minus the endearing Levin) has affairs all throughout the novel. It was a tedious, but thought-provoking read and I am glad to be able to put this brick of a Russian masterpiece finally on my "read" shelf....more