I was leary of reading a book about a conversation between a son and his mother on her deathbed, but the author's writing was beautiful, and cleverlyI was leary of reading a book about a conversation between a son and his mother on her deathbed, but the author's writing was beautiful, and cleverly interspersed with flashbacks of their life together in a way that allowed the reader to really get to know them. While it was obviously sad, it was actually more inspiring due to the love of the son and the courage of the mother. I also had not expected to find so much humor in a book about facing death. I am glad I discovered this book on the shelf in the library...more
I couldn't resist reading this book after hearing all of the hype about it, and my curiosity got the better of me. I am annoyed that several people ot
I couldn't resist reading this book after hearing all of the hype about it, and my curiosity got the better of me. I am annoyed that several people other than Lee Harper are making money off this, but at least I read a library copy; I'd like to think that I would never have purchased it on my own. :)
I agree with many other readers: Harper Lee knew what she was doing by tucking it away in a drawer (if this is true); and she had a wise agent who advised her to rewrite the good parts of this manuscript. In my opinion, the best passages in the entire novel are the flashbacks of Scout's childhood.
As a stand-alone book, it truly read as a draft and definitely needed an editor. I found the first many pages to be quite boring and disconnected. It did not get interesting until Jean Louise learned about the changes in her father. The many pages about the relationship between her and Henry/Hank seemed rather juvenile to me, even though they are both adults. I did enjoy some of the dialogue between Jean Louise and Aunt Alexandra! The conversations between Scout and her uncle were a mix of humor, information, and confusion! Had I not read To Kill a Mockingbird, I wonder how this story would have come across?
I almost gave up on completing this book, but must admit I am glad I stuck with it, even though I still had to give it only two stars. Had the ending been different regarding Jean Louise and Hank, it would have gone to a one.
After hearing about readers who are upset about the changes in Atticus's standards ruining their memories of him, to my delight, I did not let it influence me on my love of him as he was portrayed in To Kill a Mockingbird. If this had been a true sequel, that may have disturbed me quite a bit. He is still a literary hero in my mind! I am inspired to read this great novel once again. ...more
I have always been a fan of John Steinbeck. While looking for a new book to read, I discovered this one collecting dust on my bookshelves and decidedI have always been a fan of John Steinbeck. While looking for a new book to read, I discovered this one collecting dust on my bookshelves and decided to try it. I was NOT disappointed! It is hard for me to express why I like his writing style, but I found that each sentence is perfect and meaningful, unlike many books I have read recently, where I find myself skimming. Even though it is a rather short novel, it took me longer to read it than most, because I wanted to savor the beautiful language.
I also like page-turners, and this one kept me wondering in a different way. He gave me so many choices of what each character might do and had me guessing until the very end. I also found myself saying, "Please don't do that." This was a mystery of characters' actions more than a "whodunit" type of story. I did guess many of them, but not all.
This book made me think about numerous realities in life and how society treats its people - sadly, not always well; and also unfortunately, it hasn't changed for the better! The actions of people in the 1960s was frightenly a prequel to the way business is run today.
I am glad I found this book and went out the next day to the library for more of Steinbeck, with the goal of reading them all. It looks like my bookshelves will remain dusty for a while! ...more
I can't remember where I saw a recommendation for this book, but I am so glad I did. I had forgotten all about this author; I had enjoyed her first boI can't remember where I saw a recommendation for this book, but I am so glad I did. I had forgotten all about this author; I had enjoyed her first book very much. She did not let me down here!
The qualities of a book that please me the most are a good plot, interesting characters, and a theme or topic that makes me think about real life. This story met all of those characteristics. I stayed up through the night, when I should have been sleeping - that's a sure sign of a winner for me. (Luckily, I could sleep in late!)
The grandparents in the beginning of the story were wise, good role models, and I hated to see them drop out of the scene; but I also recognized the importance of this. I enjoyed the variety of personalities in Letty, admired the strength and high standards of Alex, and wanted to both hug and scold Luna! (What a loving, manipulator!) When Alex made his drastic poor choice, I was crushed for him! At first, I was a bit upset with the author for doing this, but it did make for a good story.
I was pleased with the ending, but the romantic side of me almost wished Letty could have kept both men! :)
I hope it does not take Vanessa another four years for her next book. I will start looking for her name more carefully. ...more
While trying to find a page-turning book to take on a plane trip, I was disappointed with the poor selection in a rather small airport gift shop. FinaWhile trying to find a page-turning book to take on a plane trip, I was disappointed with the poor selection in a rather small airport gift shop. Finally, I settled on a 297-page paperback I had never heard of and reluctantly paid $16 for it. (Most of my reading is free, coming from our wonderful public libraries.) What an unexpected surprise this turned out to be!
Eye-opening sentence: "Lydia is dead. But they don't know that yet." The author is telling me the end right in the beginning? Hmmm... not sure I am going to like this, but OK, I haven't read a good mystery for a while. However, this book is far more than a mystery! Celeste Ng has created a beautifully written, thought-provoking first novel. I enjoyed her methods of getting into the heads of the main characters: Mom (American) Dad (Chinese ancestry), and their three children. Due to my naivety, I had been unaware of the discrimination problems the Chinese people had to face in the 70s. In my career, I was surrounded by quite a variety of Asian cultures and this never occurred to me.
The story develops into provocative themes of gender, culture, discrimination, parenting, love, loyalty, relationships, etc. While the reader is allowed to know what each person is thinking or feeling, unfortunately, the characters themselves do not share their thoughts, hence the title. I found myself saying, "Tell them! Tell them!" throughout the book. How the outcomes of each person's life could have been so different had they spoken out loud! This was a glaring lesson for me to ponder. My only criticisms would be the oft repeated concept of the mother's regret of not having become a doctor and the manner in which Marilyn and James first met.
As I have read some scrutiny about these characters not seeming real to some readers, I would also like to think that there are not many families who parent and interact as this one did; but my fear is that there are more than we may realize. Articles about "Helicopter Parents" and favoritism come to mind. ???
I am very pleased that I stumbled upon this book, and I owe the buyer at the Gateway Airport gift shop an apology for what I had thought of her taste in selections! :)
I also enjoyed the Author's Conversation pages at the end of the book. I hope to see Celeste Ng's name on Goodreads again!
I waited many weeks to reach the #1 spot on the holding list from the library to read this book. It was well worth the time! (Now, after only 48 hoursI waited many weeks to reach the #1 spot on the holding list from the library to read this book. It was well worth the time! (Now, after only 48 hours, I need to find something new to satisfy my addiction. :) I have trouble using the Goodreads "5-Amazing" as a rating (unless it meets the standards of Gone with the Wind), but The Nightingale came close. Once again, I need a 4.75.
I loved the writing style, the characters, the plot; a small negative was a few predictable happenings. I really felt like I was living in France and some of these people were my friends - AND enemies! :( It was one of the most realistic WWII books I have read recently. I am almost certain I could not have made some of the decisions these courageous people had to face, and I surely hope I never have to!
The trek across the Pyrenees was amazing and frightful! Even as I was reading this in sunny Arizona, I wanted to wrap myself up in blankets! This was totally new information to me.
WWII is one of my favorite topics of historical fiction, and I found Hannah's book to come up with a new angle for me. Rather than presenting the various battles, the focus on what the women and families back home had to face was tragic, as well as inspiring. It's not often that a book brings me to tears, but this one sure did - both happy and sad ones.
[If anyone has not yet discovered this, the name of the real project was The Comet Escape Line, created by Andree de Jongh - interesting Google reading.]