This didn't get five stars from me because "Oh my God, this is the Great American Novel." It got five stars from me because it was a good, cozy, mysteThis didn't get five stars from me because "Oh my God, this is the Great American Novel." It got five stars from me because it was a good, cozy, mystery read. It starts as one mystery, but then includes other unsolved mysteries and new mysteries; it was well-written (which, sadly, tends to get books bonus points from me. Shouldn't *all* professionally published books be well-written?); it's historical fiction; the characters are well-developed (which, I'm guessing, is a result of being the child of two of them); and I was trying to guess whodunnit and why all through the book, which means Roosevelt had a good plot and good clues).
It was a good read, and I often found myself not wanting to go to bed at night, even though my eyes kept closing, because I didn't want to stop reading it! ...more
What a fabulous book! The overarching story weaves together the individual stories of Pasquale, an Italian who runs a not-so-successful hotel; Dee, anWhat a fabulous book! The overarching story weaves together the individual stories of Pasquale, an Italian who runs a not-so-successful hotel; Dee, an unconventionally beautiful actress from America; Pat, a ne'er-do-well American musician; Claire, a young woman in the movie industry who is fed up with the movie industry; Alvis Bender, an "author" who can't seem to write; Shane, who has a Big Idea for a movie; and Michael Deane, The Hollywood Executive.
It's a pretty fascinating story, told in time-travel format (We're in Italy in 1962. Now we're in Hollywood, "recently." Now it's Seattle in the late '60s. Now back to Italy in 1962. Hollywood "recently." Idaho!). Their stories are beautifully written, and their characters are beautifully developed. I love the time-travel format, and it's probably what made me power through this book so fast -- I wanted to see how all the different time frames and threads were going to come together.
(And it's not really historical fiction about the northwest, but there were so many great drop-ins about Seattle in the 1960s, or today, or the '70s, that I felt like I was at home :) )...more
Well! Talk about a twist -- Jamie Ford did on page 74 what I thought wouldn't be done until page 300-something. What a twist -- of the advertising! ToWell! Talk about a twist -- Jamie Ford did on page 74 what I thought wouldn't be done until page 300-something. What a twist -- of the advertising! To me, it seemed like the book was being promoted as a story about a *search*, but the answer comes so much earlier than I'd expected! The rest of the 319 pages are spent with backstory, and what seems to be becoming Ford's calling card of playing with time (it's possibly even Aaron Sorkin-esque), and a second search.
Songs of Willow Frost is another beautifully-written story by Jamie Ford, the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. This one wasn't *quite* as good as Hotel, for me anyway--I think just because the style, tone, and story were SO new and refreshing in Hotel, but now I've seen it before, so book #2 isn't as groundbreaking--but it was good. At times it felt like the Seattle landmarks were being referenced waaay too often, but then I decided "Screw the national audience. I'm from Seattle, and I enjoy all these references! phhhht!" :)
The story (the collective Story of William's story, Willow's story, Charlotte's story, Colin's story, Willow's family's story) is sad (Sad), then there's hope, then there's not, then it's tragic and depressing, then there's hope, then there's not, then it's heartbreaking, then ... there's hope? AND THEN IT ENDS! DAMNIT! But luckily I read the *entire* book... I almost lost faith in mankind (i.e. Jamie Ford) in the next-to-last chapter... then he redeemed himself ;) And I choose to believe that after he and the rest of us left WIlliam and Willow, there was happiness in their lives. Even though we didn't get to see it, I think (hope) it was there. ...more
This book has all the markings of being a self-published book or a book written by a new author and published by one of those "Anybody can write a booThis book has all the markings of being a self-published book or a book written by a new author and published by one of those "Anybody can write a book!" publishing houses. Commas are in weird places, quotation marks show up randomly, spacing is off, some sentences and paragraphs seem to just start from nowhere, characters are confused for other characters and spelling is changed...
But, if you live in the north-of-Seattle area, there is a bright spot to the book! You know about the topic and the people mentioned!
I was told about this book (and warned that it wasn't that good) because it takes place near where I live. In the 1880s, a young couple moves out to Washington Territory and become homesteaders. So I decided to read it, because I can't pass up the opportunity to read about local history, even if the book isn't that good. So I've been reading it, and today, one of the main characters gets to my area. And as I'm reading, I'm practically shouting, "I know that place! I know him!" (well, as well as you can "know" someone who was born 150 years before you were. But I've been to his grave, so that should count for something.).
It turns out there's quite a bit of real history in this historical fiction book. The towns (like Edmonds), the roads (Cedar Way, which I realize probably isn't that uncommon of a name), the logging camp that was here at the time (Mosher and McDonald), and a whole lot of people (George Brackett, John Lund, Matilda Lund, and all her Deiner children). So it seems like it's been worth it to wade through all the random commas to get to the glorious moment of "I live there! For real!" It's also made me want to do a little research to see if the rest of the characters are real people. I mean, if she named George Brackett, John Lund, Matilda Lund, and all the Deiner children, maybe John Thomas, Sara Brandt, Bill Walton, and the rest of them are real, too.
So it's not a great book, but also not a bad book, but it gets points for sentimental reasons....more
A re-read. I think a friend recommended it to me soon after it originally came out, and it sounded so interesting, I got it from the library and LOVEDA re-read. I think a friend recommended it to me soon after it originally came out, and it sounded so interesting, I got it from the library and LOVED it. I loved it so much, it's one of the few books I've allowed myself to purchase/ask for for a holiday/re-read in the past few years. And boy, it didn't disappoint. How often is a book (or movie, or any experience, for that matter) as good the second time around as it was the first time? For me, this book definitely was!