There are some 4-5 star stories in here, but then there's the rest of the book.
I usually loathe short stories but it wasn't until I read the title sto...moreThere are some 4-5 star stories in here, but then there's the rest of the book.
I usually loathe short stories but it wasn't until I read the title story that she hit a bum note. This was quickly followed by a few more bum notes and then surprise surprise, she finished up with her remaining good story.
Nevertheless, the first few really were very vivid and engrossing. Had it not been for those few stinkers, I would have rated this 4 stars. (less)
I'm trying to imagine writing the love story of my husband's grandparents...good Lord, the pressure!The awkward Sunday dinners! Surely not a task for t...moreI'm trying to imagine writing the love story of my husband's grandparents...good Lord, the pressure!The awkward Sunday dinners! Surely not a task for the feint of heart.
I love books about the effect of war and displacement on social change and have a particular interest in eastern Europe. I think it's heartening that there are an increasing number of authors who will roll up their sleeves and pour their fascination and passion into books like this so that we can appreciate the often colossal effort made by our migrant ancestors.
As I read this book, it was just so hard to comprehend that these people, who trod the path with the famous and infamous in Russian history, would ultimately become Australian. I'm guessing that our sunburnt country may as well have been Mars to them at the time.
This is a nicely written, sincere book by a brave author. It would have been nice to know how they adjusted to such a different life. Or is that the sequel?(less)
Having read both A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Empty Cradles, this book made me yawn.
The first third is okay, but despite being quite a short book, it...moreHaving read both A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Empty Cradles, this book made me yawn.
The first third is okay, but despite being quite a short book, it was padded out and repetitive.
The real story should have started when this book ended. How did they reintroduce 6 children, 1 with serious burns, after more than a year apart? What happened when she visited her mother? How did the new "mammy" cope with the children? Did they want to go back to the institutions?
But no, none of this was touched. Glad I didn't buy it.(less)
Hard to say if this was a teen buddy tale or a grisly account of starvation and hardship during the siege of Leningrad. It tried to blend the two and a...moreHard to say if this was a teen buddy tale or a grisly account of starvation and hardship during the siege of Leningrad. It tried to blend the two and although it was an enjoyable read, I found the later aspect carried the coming of age story.
The middle third was quite dull and the characters really didn't progress beyond the first chapter. Throwing in multiple teen conversations about sex were incongruous with the rest of the story and quickly became quite frustrating.
Around a third of the way through the book I mentally changed Kolya's name to Stiffler.
In a bid to balance that out, these pubescent characters intermittently spouted heavy Russian poetry.
Apart from the awkward characters, the book was actually very interesting and compelling.(less)
If you'd like to enjoy this book, just read the Table of Contents. That makes for a very funny read. But then there's the rest of it.
If you took out al...more If you'd like to enjoy this book, just read the Table of Contents. That makes for a very funny read. But then there's the rest of it.
If you took out all the garbled nonsense from this book, let's face it, you'd just be left with a blog. I really didn't think this worked as a book at all.
Too many of the stories are laboured, pointlessly hysterical and often lame. Even the funny ones.
I thought she tried so hard to present herself as crazy, potty, whacky, batty, zany, anything other than herself perhaps, that I found her insincere and boring.
If you have ever been trapped sitting behind half a dozen Pepsied up 14 year old girls on a train, you'll understand the agony of this woman's writing style.
There were quite a few times during this read that I wondered if the author was so damaged that she really is developmentally stuck in her teens. To be honest, I wasn't engaged enough to care though.
I've read worse books, but I found this hard to rate because some of the content was okay, but the delivery was woeful.
Now, I find the word vagina funny, so there's no need to use the word 11 times in a row to make me laugh. In fact, after 6 vaginas, I just wished she'd had the balls to say c*&t. Remember kids, the number of times you need to say vagina is in inverse proportion to how funny your anecdote is.
Snausages... that was the very word that alerted me to that fact that the author is in fact, 6 vaginas.
I honestly don't feel I got anything at all from this book except that it reinforced my horror of modern mai...more I was asked to read this for a book club.
I honestly don't feel I got anything at all from this book except that it reinforced my horror of modern mainstream romance. Reading something as calculated and contrived as this just made me angry and after that, I just became bored. I read it in one day just so I could put it behind me.
I found both the characters to be flat, uninteresting and incredibly lame. Neither of them had any real personality - I'm pretty sure that not liking ginger is not a personality.
Two days on I cannot even recall her name. I know his was Travis only because it irks me that I now I may think of this dribble each time anyone references Taxi Driver.
Do authors like this actually sit down before they start writing and make a list of lame traits their leading man needs in order to dupe lonely menopausal ladies into falling for him?
Seriously, he doesn't eat red meat, he jogs, he's good looking, owns not only his own business but his own home (on the beach) and a boat and a motorcycle, he's great with animals, cooks, is calm in a crisis, is dying to have kids- but only with he right woman, blah blah blah blah blah, yuk.
Honestly I would have traded all of this superficial, paint by numbers nonsense for a little personality and maybe even some honour.
I don't buy for a second that their love was just so special that nothing and no-one else mattered. Apparently their underhand cheating was beautiful and deserved our admiration rather than our condemnation, because, romance!
I thought the actual choice itself was cheesy and prompted no concern from me at all. I was actually hoping he'd suddenly die and she'd wake up a zombie and eat the kids.
I found this book bland and cliched...a crush on a French man, a saucy Chinese fortune teller, letters (numerous) to a dead mother and the inevitable...moreI found this book bland and cliched...a crush on a French man, a saucy Chinese fortune teller, letters (numerous) to a dead mother and the inevitable triumph over circumstance were far less interesting than the macaroon recipes and cups of tea.
I didn't hate this, but two days later I could no longer recall the main character's name. When someone asked me what it was about I said, "something about biscuits." (less)
This tragic story unfolds in and around a small church in North Carolina during the reign of an unstable parson who leads his flock far from their val...moreThis tragic story unfolds in and around a small church in North Carolina during the reign of an unstable parson who leads his flock far from their values. Told from the perspectives of a young boy, Jess, Adelaide, the old town midwife and healer and the town sheriff, Clem Barefield, the authenticity and immediacy of this novel make it an engrossing and rewarding read. After witnessing some of the twisted and sordid goings-on of the congregation and some still closer to home, both Jess and Adelaide draw their own conclusions and ultimately their silence leads the people around them further into temptation. Both Jess’ newly discovered shadowy grandfather, Jimmy and Sheriff Barefield confront issues of hatred, atonement and forgiveness which are unearthed from the past as a consequence of the actions of the congregation and eventually we see true healing outside of church stemming from true evil within it. Beautifully written and paced, interesting and endearing characters, for the most part he had the courage to show faith to its detriment against common sense and only really diluted that within the last page or two.(less)