Since many people are concerned about spoilers with this particular book, I am going to keep this review hidden. If you aren't concerned about the posSince many people are concerned about spoilers with this particular book, I am going to keep this review hidden. If you aren't concerned about the possibilities of spoilers (I really don't think I've got any in my review), then by all means, read on...
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. It was fine. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I probably won’t remember it. I went into it blind. I didn’t read a synopsis. I wish it hadn’t been written like this.
After I received my Kindle last month I put several of the hot, new books onto my e-book holds list through my local library. When my turn with this book came up, I just opened it and started reading. I was not sure what I was in for in terms of writing or plot. The first thing that I noticed was how underdeveloped the writing was. I naturally assumed that this was a lucky debut novel. I had never heard of Blake Crouch before so I did a little Googling and was very surprised to see that Crouch actually had published several other books prior to Dark Matter, including a series and the novel that the TNT show Good Behavior (starring Lady Mary Crawley!) I also discovered that I have a fun fact in common with the author: he was born in Statesville, NC where I worked for five years before moving to Maryland!
Though they proved to be quite distracting, those broken sentences did serve to add a sense of urgency which fit the story very well. And while I appreciated that technique, it was way too overdone. This approach ended up being more of a distraction that took me out of the story.
The hook was great. I think if I had known what the story was about before I read it I would have been a lot more disappointed in it than I was. Having no idea what to expect, the bar wasn’t set too low or high. The literal self-vs-self theme was very well executed and really forces readers to self-reflect. It came at a good time in my life, so I appreciated it for that, on a personal level. I’m at a place right now where I often let myself get stuck in the “what if” thoughts and the regrets of past mistakes, but this book was a good little reminder for me to appreciate where I am and who I am and all of the people that I have in my life. I wouldn’t be this person living this life with those people if I had made different choices. I needed that reminder, so thanks, Blake Crouch, for that.
As is to be expected in a book with this scope, it was pretty predictable. I was able to guess all of the “twists” before they twisted. It was a pretty thrilling story that ran at a fast pace. As I read I kept thinking it was prime to become a movie, and lo and behold it’s been optioned by Sony. Surprise, surprise. Eh, I’ll probably end up watching it.
The biggest negative for me would have to be the amount of confusion I had while reading. I’m not one to shy away from confusing science-y books. The Martian was one of my favorite books in 2014 and I was thoroughly confused about what Watney was actually doing for the majority of that book. The Martian was confusing yet still enjoyable and even if I didn’t know exactly what was going on, I still could progress with the story. With Dark Matter, however, I was just super confused and didn’t follow parts of the story. OK, the multiverse, I’ve heard of it and I get its basic idea, but whaaaaat was going on with it in this book? Also, I couldn’t stop giggling because it made me think of Brian and Stewie traveling the multiverse in Family Guy.
I had to ask my husband who, as an optical engineer, has a background in Physics to please ELI5. He broke it down, but I was still really confused.
Overall this one is worth a few hours of your time as it really doesn’t take too long at all to read. I often forgot about it and forgot that I was in the middle of reading it, which is why it took me so long to finish it. I probably won’t remember anything about it in a few months. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Nadia Turner is seventeen years old and six months out from the death of her mother to suicide. Struggling with all of the overwhelming emotions thatNadia Turner is seventeen years old and six months out from the death of her mother to suicide. Struggling with all of the overwhelming emotions that come from a suicide of a family member, she is simultaneously grappling with her first love. Luke Sheppard is the son of the pastor of Upper Room, the Turner family church. When Nadia becomes pregnant with his child the summer before she leaves for college, she and Luke will both make choices that will haunt all of those close to them for the rest of their lives. As the title would suggest, Brit Bennett’s debut novel touches on all aspects of motherhood and the ability for individuals to assume a maternal role, however briefly. The novel explores the heartbreaking ways that the absence of a mother can affect characters and what it really means to be “unpregnant.”
Bennett writes beautiful prose. The pages are full of the quotable, stick-with-you, lyrical sentences that craft a memorable story. At the beginning of the novel, the Mothers, a Greek chorus of women from Upper Room, tell readers “all good secrets have a taste before you tell them.” Bennett allows her readers the chance to become both a mother and a Mother for the duration of the book as we watch Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey grow, develop, and navigate life, love, loss, and betrayal. The Mothers narrative ebbs and flows throughout the novel, coming back in just when the reader begins to get comfortable in the account of one of the three main characters, offering an outsider's perspective to the inner turmoils. Having a collective voice guide the narration was a refreshing strategy. However, readers get a sometimes too heavy-handed lesson on the the power of petty gossip hiding behind good intentions. These chapters narrated by the Mothers became a bit redundant in their message. The way any true gossip makes its way around a small group, once you’ve heard something enough times, it becomes an annoyance and off-putting.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, devouring it in three sittings over two days. This was quite an impressive debut novel from such a young author and I truly admire her gift with words. The Mothers isn’t Bennett’s first piece of published writing. In 2014 she received a lot of attention, some good, some bad, for an article that she penned for Jezebel entitled I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People. The article offers Bennett's perspective on the current state of young Black men being killed while in police custody and how White America reacts to these ever-increasing headlines. Adding a personal layer to the article, Bennett writes on the time that her father was himself detained by police. I will also link you to a worthwhile New York Times article on Bennett and her years-long process of writing The Mothers. According to this NYT article from October 2016, fans of Bennett have something to look forward to as “Ms. Bennett is focused on her next novel, about two sisters in Louisiana who are separated.”...more
This book is hyped as hell and they even adapted it to film with that dragon-lady from GOT?! I did not enjoy this book that much. I actually started rThis book is hyped as hell and they even adapted it to film with that dragon-lady from GOT?! I did not enjoy this book that much. I actually started reading it last spring, but I quickly (60 pages in) lost interest and returned it to the library. I was given a copy as a gift recently and so I figured I would give it another go. I was not blown away by it at all. In fact, I had to force myself to continue reading it several times just so I could finish it and move on to the next book I wanted to read. There were no surprises, no insights, no new ways of looking at the right-to-die debate. One of the big things I knew about this book was that it was a major tearjerker and so I was fully prepared for a tear-storm when I finished it as I cry super easily at books. (When I finished A Little Life I found myself thinking about Jude and JB and Willem and Malcom at random places like the grocer or work or the dentist and I would break out crying again.) I did not cry at this book. I didn't even get a lump in my throat from trying to hold it back. I was just relieved that the book was finished. The ending offered no surprises or insights or revelations at all. The story was quite boring and the writing was a little immature- perhaps this was her first novel? I was super irritated at a technique that Moyes used out of nowhere and seemingly for no purpose. Late in the book we had a few chapters that randomly switched the point-of-view from the main character to the POV of other characters. I generally enjoy this kind of narration when it is done well, but in this book it was so random it was jarring and pulled me out of the story, it only happened once with each character, and not every character got a chapter. There were several missing POV's that I thought would have much better added to the book. I would love to read a book about the dilemmas of assisted suicide if it was written differently. I was hoping for something a little more Jodi Picoult-esq. Overall the book felt more like a chore than an enjoyment. I can not recommend this book, but apparently I am in the minority. Most people loooooove this book. I just didn't. I was underwhelmed and I am probably going to skip the movie. 2 out of 5 stars. ...more
There has been a marathon of all 600 episodes of The Simpsons on for the past week and it has been difficult to tear myself away from the show. This bThere has been a marathon of all 600 episodes of The Simpsons on for the past week and it has been difficult to tear myself away from the show. This book was able to tear me away for hours at a time, though. It was that I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story and was excellently told. I admired the way that Stedman put the reader in the conscience of every character. The book is full of difficult choices and by the end, the reader is able to understand why each character does what they do, even if we don't necessarily agree with it. The characters are all so fully human and realized. Stedman is a very gifted writer and I was surprised to learn that this was debut novel. She has a simple way of telling a beautiful and heartbreaking story. The themes of loneliness, choices, and the long-reaching impacts of war all bounce around this story, effecting every character, just like a beam of light on the water. The novel does start out kind of slow and takes a little time to get going, but this background buildup of the characters is so important for the rest of the novel. I loved the time I got to spend with these characters. This was a wonderful story and I can not wait to see what Stedman does next! I am also quite excited to see the movie version. A solid 5/5 stars. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I REALLY enjoy the Olympics. I get way too into them and start counting down to the opening ceremony and map out all of thI really enjoyed this book. I REALLY enjoy the Olympics. I get way too into them and start counting down to the opening ceremony and map out all of the events that I want to watch and what time they will be on. One of my favorite Olympic events is without a doubt girls gymnastics (coming in second to ice dancing at the winter games). What I REALLY enjoy is getting a look at the inner workings of the publicly seeming perfect lives of the athelets, and this book really delivered on that! For some reason, it took me a few chapters to get into Abbott's style of writing and I almost gave up on this one before I finally settled into the groove. Once I did get settled, I found that I very much was into the story, if not completely sold her her style. I did appreciate the knack that she had for turning the small details of life, those seemingly insignificant things that happen to us daily, and turning them into something dark and sinister with deep-reaching effects on other characters down the road. I also enjoyed the cliquishness of the gym moms who were living out their failed ambitions through their daughters. Believe it or not from reading the synopses of the book, the Knox family does include a son. This was the one part of the book that really invoked a response from me. The son is essentially ignored and cast aside in favor of the Olympics-bound older daughter and at times he experiences outright child abuse in the form of neglect. A pivotal scene with him near the end of the book had me enraged at the way the parents were treating him in a time of crisis. I felt so sad for him and the life he was going to have to live in the shadow of his sister. This kid was probably my favorite character in the book. He was certainly the smartest character and, I think, the most compelling. (view spoiler)[ Left to himself he is able to observe as an outsider and he is the one who really solves the "who-dun-it" early on (though it's not revealed until later). (hide spoiler)] The mystery is actually super easy to solve and I had it figured out early on, but the book is still very compelling to read. I couldn't stop reading in order to find out how it would be revealed. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I adored the behind-the-scenes look at gym life and I wish that I could find more books with this element in them. Any suggestions?? 4.5/5 stars...more
This book has had so much hype surrounding it and I have been super excited to read it since it first came out this past summer. I recently signed upThis book has had so much hype surrounding it and I have been super excited to read it since it first came out this past summer. I recently signed up for my new library card and as they were processing it, I browsed the shelves and I was thrilled to see that this title was available! As soon as I got home I began the process of devouring this book. I absolutely loved the beginning and could not put it down. Soon, though, the book began to loose some of it's steam and I was quite disappointed in the ending. This book reminds me of one of those fireworks that starts of really strong and you feel such anticipation of how it's going to look when it finally explodes, but then it just makes that sad whistling noise and fizzles out into disappointment. The ending felt rushed and like it was quickly tacked on as kind of an afterthought. There were so many different ways that it could have ended that I feel like I would have been way more satisfied had it ended in one of those other ways. Besides the ending, another thing that I disliked about it were the characters. There were so many unlikable characters in this book. Despite each character getting a background section detailing their life prior to the crash, I still felt like none of them were fully formed or fleshed out. I also had a difficult time connecting to any of them either. I was really confused why we had to endure a background chapter for literally every.single.character. For some of them, it was totes important that we get some background info. on them since they may have had something to do with the crash. But for some of them it just felt like needless filler. Believe it or not, I actually did really, really enjoy this book. It was a gripping page-turner with a lot of red herrings. I loved the portrayal of the entertainment news culture and how the 24-hour news cycle isn't as trustworthy or fair or balanced as we may wish to believe it to be. The Bill O'Reilly is so deplorable I grimaced and cringed as I read the scenes with him. Overall this is a very fast-paced thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can definitely recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of thrillers and mysteries. As a fan of the television show Fargo, I am excited to read more of Hawley's works. 3.5 out of 5 stars. ...more