This just isn't my type of book. I need a book to either have a page turner plot or really believable, interesting and complex characters. I'd call th...moreThis just isn't my type of book. I need a book to either have a page turner plot or really believable, interesting and complex characters. I'd call this more of a setting book. It paints a picture of life centered around Amusement Park in New Jersey, beginning in the 1930's. The stories of the family members revolve around historic events such as the depression, Pearl Harbor and WWII. Simply put, it just didn't hold my interest. The characters never came to life and it didn't have a thick plot. It reminded me of how I felt watching the TV show Mad Men. This show is also all about the setting. Things would happen to people in this interesting setting and then life would just go on. The only difference though was that the Mad Men characters were compelling.
I tried both the written version and the audio version of the book and neither one held my interest. I would not have tried so hard if it hadn't been a book club selection.(less)
I would give this 3.5 stars if Goodreads allowed half stars. I'm rounding up for originality. This story is told in the form of letters from a 38 year...moreI would give this 3.5 stars if Goodreads allowed half stars. I'm rounding up for originality. This story is told in the form of letters from a 38 year old man with special needs. His mother had recently passed away and now he has to find his way in the world without her.
The recipient of these letters is Richard Gere. Yes, Richard Gere the actor. I wouldn't have expected this format to work for me but I was actually OK with it. I suppose it was because the letters were written for therapeutic reasons so I didn't get caught up in the fact that actual letters would not contain this much detail.
The supporting characters were quirky and the story held my interest. It was short and surprisingly light considering the tragedy that occurred.
Other reviewers seemed to think that the main character had Asperger's, but I'm not sure about that. He didn't have all the usual traits that you'd normally associate with Asperger's and the author never specified the diagnosis. This bothered me a little bit at first but then I decided that in a way it made it more believable. People with special needs often do not fit into a set mold and it really doesn't matter what name you give it. He had challenges to overcome and it was believable.(less)
So disappointing. To sum it up, I'm not a fan of the rant. It was meant to be a humorous rant on the problems with our country and how Adam Carolla wo...moreSo disappointing. To sum it up, I'm not a fan of the rant. It was meant to be a humorous rant on the problems with our country and how Adam Carolla would make it all better if he were president. Unfortunately, I just wasn't laughing most of the time. I may have laughed twice but that's not enough when there isn't much else to the book. I can't say that I agree with many of his positions either so that didn't help matters. (I actually enjoy reading different viewpoints but this wasn't the right format for that.) If the book was funny, I wouldn't have been bothered by his surprisingly ultra conservative views.
What probably made it worse was that I expected to like this book because I enjoyed "Not Taco Bell Material". I stuck it out with this one only because I didn't have anything else to listen to.(less)
This is a very difficult book to rate. 3 stars would technically mean that I liked it and that's not really true. I really wasn't eager to pick up the...moreThis is a very difficult book to rate. 3 stars would technically mean that I liked it and that's not really true. I really wasn't eager to pick up the book and I was relieved to be finished with it. The writing felt stilted and the way it was written did not hold my interest. The same tone was used in describing an unimportant detail as a pivotal moment. It go so boring that I started skimming and then I would miss an important detail. A book like that would usually get at most 2 stars from me. Because Malala was such a courageous and admirable girl though, I am offering one extra star. (This is supposed to be a book review and not a review of the person, right??) It seems that most of the other reviews are reviewing Malala herself. If that is what we are doing then I would of course give her 5 stars! I understand that she is only a teenager and English is not her native language. I assumed she wrote the book herself and I kept thinking that she would have been better off if she got an author to co-write it with her (as was done with "What is the What" which I loved or "A House in the Sky".) I was so surprised when I reached the end and found out that she actually did have a co-writer. With that in mind, the book really could have been much better. Maybe they rushed it to get it published before all of the publicity died down. Anyway, if you don't care about the writing and just want to read about a courageous girl in Pakistan then disregard this negative review. I'm clearly in the minority!(less)
It was hard for me to decide between 3 and 4 stars. I love memoirs and good self help books and I am very interested in the topic of meditation so I t...moreIt was hard for me to decide between 3 and 4 stars. I love memoirs and good self help books and I am very interested in the topic of meditation so I thought this was a guaranteed hit for me. I did enjoy the book and I'm glad I read it (listened to it actually). I appreciated hearing his journey from complete skeptic of meditation to a convert. I was much less interested in the story of his career path in broadcast news though. I can't say why exactly. Maybe because I have no interest in broadcast news or maybe he just didn't write about it in a way that made it particularly interesting. I have read memoirs where people had made less interesting subjects more compelling so I suspect the latter was the problem. I considered dropping a star for that reason but decided to be generous and go with 4. It was still a cut above average memoir for me. If half stars were available, it would get 3.5 from me.(less)
I was desperate for an audio book and didn't have any recommendations. This one was available for free on audible.com so I figured I didn't have anyth...moreI was desperate for an audio book and didn't have any recommendations. This one was available for free on audible.com so I figured I didn't have anything to lose. It exceeded my expectations! It was as good as any David Sedaris essays. Very light and funny. I was only sorry that it was over in less than 30 minutes. I would have hiked longer if the book was longer!(less)
I was looking for an easy audio book and I thought this would do the trick. I didn't expect all that much. I wasn't expecting great literature. I just...moreI was looking for an easy audio book and I thought this would do the trick. I didn't expect all that much. I wasn't expecting great literature. I just wanted something to help me pass the time while I did housework and went on hikes. Unfortunately this book even fell short of these low expectations. It disappointed on many levels. It was not a particularly interesting story. None of the characters came to life for me. And worst of all, the supposed mystery element was ridiculously obvious. I'm not one to try to figure out the big mystery. I prefer to let it unfold on it's own. From very early on though, it just jumped out at me like a red flag. Maybe I just read too many books like this. I held out some hope that it would offer more in the end but no such luck. To make matters worse, the storyline at the end was completely unbelievable. I don't mean the supposed surprise. I mean the events that took place. I just wasn't buying it at all. Oh well. Clearly I'm in the minority again on this one because it has pretty high ratings. Maybe this book appeals to a younger audience. It is classified as young adult fiction so maybe it was my mistake in thinking it was for me.(less)
I like this type of young adult fiction. It had believable teen characters and teen angst. The dialog was done well, mostly believable and still funny...moreI like this type of young adult fiction. It had believable teen characters and teen angst. The dialog was done well, mostly believable and still funny at times. (It really bugs me when all of the teen dialog is 100% witty and smart.) It had the right pace for the romantic development which is very important too. I also liked that it was set in the 1980s without hitting you over the head with the 80s references. It worked well in the audio format, with two narrators for the two main characters except it was off-putting form me when the male voice did the female voice during the dialogues. I only had a few other complaints. The step father was perhaps too rotten. I think it makes for a more interesting book when there's complexity to all of the characters. Also, I would have liked a more satisfying ending but I'm not sure what that could have been. Since I'm not the author though, I don't think it's my job to come up with a better ending! Overall, I looked forward to listening to this book and I even got some extra chores done around the house as a result so it was well deserving of 4 stars from me! (less)
I debated whether to give this rating 3 or 4 stars. I was worthy of another star because of the amount of research that went into the book and it is a...moreI debated whether to give this rating 3 or 4 stars. I was worthy of another star because of the amount of research that went into the book and it is a compelling topic. Ultimately, I am sticking with 3 stars because I was not that eager to pick it up and was relieved to be finished. I found it interesting to learn how marriage has changed over the course of history, but personally I am not a big history fan and at times it felt like I was reading a history text book. The ancient history portion was particularly slow going for me. I almost stopped reading it in the beginning for this reason. I was glad that I stuck it out though because the portion that dealt with more recent history (the last 200 years or so) was much more interesting to me. Then she spent quite a bit of time on the more recent history (since the 1950s) and that was very good too. Parts were so compelling it made me want to talk about it with anyone who would listen! I don't think I needed to read the entire book though. I would have been satisfied with a long article that summed everything up or a nice Ted Talk on the subject.(less)