A brave and honest memoir about being the daughter of seriously mentally ill mother. In her acknowledgements, the author mentions how the book took sha...moreA brave and honest memoir about being the daughter of seriously mentally ill mother. In her acknowledgements, the author mentions how the book took shape after chapter 19 was published in excerpted form. I found this interesting because I felt like chapter 19 was the chapter that had the most precision, insight and intent. It did not connect with the pace or tone of the rest of the book and I so wish the author could have maintained that level of descriptive quality and honesty. I felt like the book languished in painstaking detail of the children's daily activities and games. I know that children express emotion with play but there is all too much of these meaningless details in this book. Like the book Glass Castle, the mother in the story is certainly an interesting balance of likable at times and evil other times. A true human being. I was frustrated that there was no intervention on behalf of the children. Nothing monumental ever really takes place. The characters were not as deep and complex as I wished. I never got an indication of how Laura's childhood shaped who she is today and why. Just like the children's determination to endure their situation I continued reading although I had no reason to turn the pages. However, I admire the sister's solidarity and strength and I am glad everyone survived unscathed. (less)
I am a fan of Laura Moriarty. The Center of Everything is one of my favorite books. She writes with great clarity and measure: "She would owe this und...moreI am a fan of Laura Moriarty. The Center of Everything is one of my favorite books. She writes with great clarity and measure: "She would owe this understanding to her time in New York, and even more to Louise. That's what spending time with the young can do-it's the big payoff for all the pain. The young can exasperate, of course, and frighten, and condescend, and insult, and cut you with their still rounded edges. But they can also drag you, as you protest and scold and try to pull away, right up to the window of the future, and even push you through."
I enjoyed learning about Louise Brooks and her rise to fame. The factual references to feminist and social issues of the time make this book a step above most historical fiction. (I never considered that corsets must have caused such physical limitations and did women really use Lysol as birth control?) Moriarty really depicts strong, relate-able characters. I thought about them after the book was finished. I felt like I KNEW them. I admired their tenacity. There was rarely a weak character in the story. They all knew how to get up once knocked down. I also loved that her story lines were not trite or predictable. For example, the adopted/foster parents were not horrific and hurtful but perhaps some of the best people in the story. I was also expecting Cora's search for her birth Mom to go through more hoops and glad that the conclusion was reached easily. The places and neighborhoods in Kansas and New York also were described vividly.
Like other Goodreads reviewers, I though the book went on too long and tried to accomplish too much. I would have been satisfied with the book ending without Part three.
Still, I would recommend this book to friends. Moriarty does not disappoint in this engaging and lovely book. Defiantly a good read.(less)
It's been a long time since I've read a book that I have enjoyed as much as The Light Between Oceans. Granted, I am a sucker for all literature based...moreIt's been a long time since I've read a book that I have enjoyed as much as The Light Between Oceans. Granted, I am a sucker for all literature based on islands or near the sea but this book is so much more. It's a story about strong people who like most other people have complicated back stories and how that past influences the choices they make in their lives. This book forces the reader to consider what they would have done in the emotionally wrought and complicated situation that the characters find themselves in. Stedman writes beautifully. She shows us an exotic, lush, wild and unfamiliar land and really places us there. Her characters were well developed and like able. The settings were clear and imaginable. The dialog was excellent. This book was a portrait of psyches, a land, a time in history, and a page turner that explores our virtue and humanity. I loved this book and look forward to the next one that Ms. Stedman writes.(less)
It was like getting a tooth drilled or being hit over the head by the same damn bat. I'll pass on this one- thank you very much.
The same scenes repeat...moreIt was like getting a tooth drilled or being hit over the head by the same damn bat. I'll pass on this one- thank you very much.
The same scenes repeated endlessly. Hopelessness, cruelty, fear and abandonment abound in this book. It's a bleak tale and a place I choose not to visit any longer than reading the 67 pages I spent there.
I've believed Dubus to be brilliant based on "House of Sand and Fog" but the writing in this book is meandering, inconclusive and confusing. Often I would read a sentence and feel like I had just read that same sentence, after looking back through the pages, I would indeed find the same sentence slightly altered in chapters prior. I also think my distaste for violence, competition and urban environments totally jaded my viewpoint of this book.
I love stories that tell of the capacity of humans to endure and overcome adversity but in these types of stories there is usually an inner light within the protagonist and glimmer of hope, feelings of repentance or desire. Dubus tells a tale of desiring only to escape, get high and return the violence to those who bullied him. He writes as if detached and distant from the young man in the story.
Another Good Read reviewer stated it beautifully "The focus for most of the book is on his horrible childhood and how weightlifting and fighting (street fighting, not boxing) gave him confidence. It's the sort of testosterone-heavy story that I usually avoid at all costs. I really could have used an adult perspective throughout the book—most of the time it's so claustrophobically inside his own adolescent head that it seems his adult self continues to think this way. Even when he has an "epiphany" towards the end, it comes off as ridiculous and makes me wonder if he ever actually grew up.
Worse, the writing is awkward, meandering, and repetitive. It jumps back and forth through time for no reason except that it was badly edited. If this is the story that's been fighting to get out all this time, I'd think he'd spend a little more effort making it as good as his fiction. (less)