I noticed a shift for Tom, when he met Isabel, he thought to himself that the way in which she fed the birds and her pure zen actions on the beach th I noticed a shift for Tom, when he met Isabel, he thought to himself that the way in which she fed the birds and her pure zen actions on the beach that day, signaled to him that the war was over. And as she began to mesh her life into his on Janus, he was working on his recovery from the war. The more precise and methodical he could be, the more sense he could make of his life today, since so much of his life prior to Isabel didn’t make sense: not only the war, but the abandonment of his mother. Part of recovery from PTSD is grounding, a technique to bring the present moment into keen focus in an attempt to leave the past in the past. I laughed when I read the Janus literally had no roads and thought of this ironic connection. How could Tom ground himself without solid ground? Maybe I read too much into it, but I still laughed at the connection. I found myself questioning his faith in the sanctity of marriage given his history. Nonetheless, at this point he remains married to Isabel, yet due to her opposition to the proper handling of events on Janus, there is a rift growing in between the two. Tom is also met with survivor’s guilt from the war, and also his unborn children. For a brief moment he tries to convince himself that he owes it to Isabel to allow this child into their lives and hearts, but he is fighting with this notion. These inner demons which plague the couple illuminate the pressure we face to stand up for what is right, and to fit in to a community, and to do the right thing. Isabel prays for the clarity to continue to mother this child all the while praying for Hannah to be at peace. Having three children of my own, and really attempting to empathize with Isabel still makes it hard for me to see that she has done the right thing. Once she knew of Hannah, she should have resolved to reunite them. Their isolation on Janus would have been enough alibi to keep things as proper as could be, but to flaunt it in her face, this is the true crime. It does make me question whether life in isolation helps one to more solidly conform to the beliefs they have of their own accord, rather than having the community to keep one in check, so to speak. Isabel truly believed that Lucy was her gift from God, so much so that Tom almost believed that this was the case. It was only when they were in the community that they began to have the bodily reactions of guilt and shame. Tom's life portrays the saying, "Life is a beautiful struggle" ~Unknown. Tom struggled to stay in the present moment and Stedman did a brilliant job of adding depth and emotion to the other characters which came in and out of his life along with their struggle to remain present. Not sure I would have been able to emotionally commit myself to this tale had I not had children myself. Even this is acknowledged in the story; that you will understand once you are a parent. Words often cannot fully describe the limitless emotion we have for our children, but Stedman does a fine job at capturing this with her words. Amazing, gut-wrenching, and a new favorite of mine. ...more
Critics who compared this novel to the movie Pulp Fiction got it right; although Serge was a touch more likable than Samuel L. Jackson, or maybe theyCritics who compared this novel to the movie Pulp Fiction got it right; although Serge was a touch more likable than Samuel L. Jackson, or maybe they were comparing Serge to Bruce Willis' character? Either way, this novel stands on its own with unique characters, plot twists and hilarious confrontations. Serge is perhaps my new hero, in his own sick and twisted way. He has the right idea when it comes to community but boy does he mess it up for the Davenports! His commencement speech is a fabulous model for anyone to aspire to as he reminds us to, "Clean up our tacos!" Dorsey has an uncanny ability to create the most unusual characters who are unlikely to ever cross paths, yet that is exactly what they do! Jim’s night on the town with the security team is the perfect example. Dorsey’s vivid descriptions put the reader directly in the story and I found myself unable to put it down while I was laughing out loud. Overall, a clever story with exciting dramas that unfold rapidly as the story progresses. ...more
Overall, I think this was a great read. I loved the short chapters so that I could finish one or two at a time before putting it down. Compared to othOverall, I think this was a great read. I loved the short chapters so that I could finish one or two at a time before putting it down. Compared to other Picoult novel's, I enjoyed how simple she kept this one in regards to the characters. Since there was just the couple and each of their parents we really got to know everyone on a deeper level. I envisioned Jodi drawing out a Euler diagram with each character overlapping each other at various times.
I think what I liked best was the way she depicted each woman as an artist. I think women all are artists and need to be in order to balance a family life. While I personally welcomed motherhood, it was interesting to read about how difficult the transition can be for women. And while I did not pity Paige in the least, I came to understand her in the end. I suppose even when we do marry the gorgeous surgeon there are still issues to work out, though I am still not sure I completely agree.
I suppose the story would not have progressed had Paige kept her charcoal and paper out through her transition into motherhood, but that can be a wake up call to mothers everywhere. To keep that part of you alive, that part of you before you became a wife or mother is so crucial to our mental health and happiness. So draw, write, photograph, knit, sculpt or sing you way to whatever makes you happy for your family!...more
**spoiler alert** I liked this story, the detail and the characters were done well. The storyline was almost too real for me. I kept hoping for the ch**spoiler alert** I liked this story, the detail and the characters were done well. The storyline was almost too real for me. I kept hoping for the characters to do something more, but really they just lived life.
I enjoyed the anticipation of the double lives coming together in the end, I just wish the author wouldn't have waited so long to do so!
Bree and Al were my favorites followed by Phoebe and Rosemary. I enjoyed learning how very different each character was and how they played off of each other.
This story also gave some interesting insight into the 60's in areas of both childbirth and birth defects like Down's. While it is encouraging how far we've come on these topics, it is frightening to know where we were.
I loved the idea David found through photography; nature's patterns paired with the human body. I wonder what he might have done differently with his family had he not fallen so deeply into himself, his secret, his hobby. I think he was let off the hook, so to say, by dying in the end and never having to come clean.
I agree with Sarah and would have put the book down had it not been for the book club. I wasn't too attached to the characters like I have been in other stories. But it was still beautifully written. ...more
I laughed out loud, but mostly cried. I cannot believe how much I fell in love with these characters, especially Rudy. The poetry Zusak offers is entiI laughed out loud, but mostly cried. I cannot believe how much I fell in love with these characters, especially Rudy. The poetry Zusak offers is enticing and pure genius in many areas. His use of colors as descriptions are unlike any author I have ever read.
I think my favorite part of all was when Leisel found her accordion; her book to read aloud to the neighbors of Himmel street in the basement turned bomb shelter. She even winked at them as Hans did to his own crowd. I wish she would have kissed Rudy, at least while he was still alive. This author offers quite a unique perspective into the Nazi era.
I loved how Zusak allowed the words to become characters all their own in certain scenes. Like when they tumbled onto the table or into the sink.
I think that we had to love each of these characters so much because of the growing hate for Hitler during this darker than black time in our world's history. I just cried and kissed my children, thanking God that we live in America in this time. ...more
O, where to begin? This book blew me away with all of the life lessons to be learned throughout. The two main characters, Katie and Ellie, learn so muO, where to begin? This book blew me away with all of the life lessons to be learned throughout. The two main characters, Katie and Ellie, learn so much from each other, despite the unique relationship. Ellie transforms into a surrogate mother as she fully immerses herself into the Amish culture. Along with peace and contentment, Ellie learns that through this slower pace of life that family is what matters most. Her high profile career becomes a reflection of the life she has led thus far and she feels horrible about it. I wondered if she ever felt as nervous before another case. I thought perhaps she felt so nervous because for the first time in her career she was gambling with a seemingly innocent life. I had a funny thought that on certain covers of this book there is a young girl in virginal white standing with her hands behind her back. This was the copy that I read. I thought that her fingers were also crossed behind her back, eluding to her guilt.
Also, we have an interesting spin on the relationship between men and women here. All three main characters are guilty of truly hurting the men in their lives, only to be fully forgiven in the end. By this I mean Katie has obviously hurt Samuel, Ellie has hurt Coop, and secretly Sarah has hurt Aaron. All of these men provide a true love that is quite undeserved....more
**spoiler alert** There comes a time in every child's life when they must face the realization that their parents are human. For some reason we are bo**spoiler alert** There comes a time in every child's life when they must face the realization that their parents are human. For some reason we are born with an unconditional love toward them; and for some children, like Lily, this realization is more dramatic than others. (Honey jars flying and such).
I truly loved this story of how Lily dealt with the reality of her life and especially the truth of her mother. I loved how she followed her heart from the beginning to end up at August's home despite her feeling "unlovable." The little clues her mother left behind lead her, not only to August, but to the truth and ultimately her own salvation and peace. Through the course of the summer, Lily blossomed into a little lady, more content with herself, her past and future. She found love and acceptance at a time in our nation's history when it was most unlikely to happen.
I also loved learning so much about bees as I have always had a soft spot for them! I could almost picture a grown up Lily dancing out on the porch with a white dress and a green scarf while a little baby played beneath her and Zach. All of this after a long day tending to the bees. I loved how she and Zach fell in love and that love is what would keep them true to themselves and not allow each other to drown in the hatred of their times. I loved the spirituality of the book and how August found the perfect ways to describe such difficult things to Lily. She knew certain things they did out of ritual seemed silly but she knew they helped the ladies and herself deal with emotions. Like when they put the black cloths over the bee hives after May died. Lily asked, "Do you think putting black cloths over the hives will help May get to heaven?" "Goodness no," August said. "Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life." She always had such a spiritual but also realistic answer for such strange actions.
Some of my favorite quotes: p. 50 "Sunset is the saddest light there is. We rode a long time in the glow of it, everything silent except for the crickets and the frogs who were revving up for twilight. I stared through the windshield as the burned lights took over the sky."
I loved when she was talking with August about the color May choose for the house. p.147 "She laughed again. "You know, some things don't matter that much, Lily. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the overall scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart- now, that matters. The whole problem with people is-" "They don't know what matters and what doesn't," I said, filling in her sentence and feeling proud of myself for doing so. "I was gonna say, The problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it. You know how hard that is, Lily? I love May, but it was still so hard to choose Caribbean Pink. The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters."
Of course p. 148 "I loved the idea of bees having a secret life, just like the one I was living."
p. 209 "They didn't even think of me being different. Up until then I'd thought that white people and colored people getting along was the big aim, but after that I decided everybody being colorless together was a better plan. I thought of that policeman, Eddie Hazelwurst, saying I'd lowered myself to be in this house of colored women, and for the very life of me I couldn't understand how it had turned out this way, how colored women had become the lowest ones on the totem pole. You only had to look at them to see how special they were, like hidden royalty among us. Eddie Hazelwurst. What a shitbucket."...more
I felt at first the writing style was difficult to get in to, but after the first few pages I found I couldn't put it down. Jhumpa certainly has a gifI felt at first the writing style was difficult to get in to, but after the first few pages I found I couldn't put it down. Jhumpa certainly has a gift for capturing her native culture and writes quite eloquently about immigrants as well as their education.
I liked Part I where we were able to say goodbye to each set of characters and welcome the next. But I also liked Part II where we were able to see more of the relationships and how they grew complicated. I didn't get so emotionally attached to these characters.
I found it interesting how they each held high degrees and experienced world travel. But I was troubled about the relationships shared with the children. It seemed that each adult had a dark view of their own childhood, yet other than Kaushik they did nothing to change this cycle. ...more