How do you go wrong with a book whose second main character is a penguin?? I mean, it would probably be a fine story without him, but the detailed desHow do you go wrong with a book whose second main character is a penguin?? I mean, it would probably be a fine story without him, but the detailed descriptions of Misha the penguin and his mannerisms kept me giggling.
The last 20 or so pages of the book kind of lost some of the appeal for me, until the last page. The last couple of paragraphs totally came out of the blue (at least to me), and made me say "Wait. What?!?" so then it redeemed itself and makes me want to read the sequel. ...more
*sigh* I dunno. Anne Tyler and I just don't get along that well. I mean, she's nice and all, and it's not a horrible way to spend time, but ... she's*sigh* I dunno. Anne Tyler and I just don't get along that well. I mean, she's nice and all, and it's not a horrible way to spend time, but ... she's just not my favorite writer. Her writing and stories are fine, just not great for me. But then I read reviews of her books, and the reviewers just LOVE her works, so I read that one, thinking maybe this one will be better than the others I've read, but no, it's still just okay, like the rest. I think her books are ones that I wouldn't mind reading in the future, but won't be DYING to read.
This book was fine to read, although the mother just absolutely pissed me off at the beginning (well, for the first 1/2 or 2/3 of the book, actually). The family of characters are complex (a crazy and evil mother who screams at her children and wishes they were dead; an "I'm the victim" eldest son; a happy-go-lucky, can-do-no-wrong second son who is hated by his older brother; a daughter who ends up just trying to be logical and a hard worker; the daughter-in-law who is nearly a daughter-in-law twice; and a likable grandson who just tries to make it through the craziness), and make up a complicated family. For the first 1/2-2/3 of the book, I absolutely hated the mother, and really only liked the second son (Ezra) and the daughter (Jenny). The next-to-last chapter, though, I felt more pity for the mother, and in the final chapter, I began to like the oldest son (Cody), even though he lost some points with me when he lost a little of his chutzpah (And I know that some people would say that he softened for a good reason, but me, I just think he let the bad guy walk over him again. Boooo.)....more
1/5/13 A few chapters in, and so far I'm loving the tone -- it sounds like you're really listening to Henry James' thoughts, given the style of his wri1/5/13 A few chapters in, and so far I'm loving the tone -- it sounds like you're really listening to Henry James' thoughts, given the style of his writing.
I'm also finding this to be sort of like a game -- James meets someone, describes them, and I think to myself, "Ooh! I wonder if that's going to be the inspiration for so-and-so in such-and-such story." It's also making me want to go find all of his books and short stories that I don't already own.
The book is historical fiction about Henry James. It's really well-written: right off the bat, it *sounded like* James. I loved that!
As I read, I kept trying to place characters in James' life with characters in his book. He'd meet someone new, and I'd think, "Ooh, I wonder if that's the inspiration for Ms. So-and-So in such-and-such story."
The only bad thing is that reading this made me want to go back and re-read all of my Henry James stories, and buy all the short stories I'm missing. But no! I cannot! I must keep with my reading plan! No new books! No straying back to re-reads....more