I liked how Waters introduced the characters and their stories in present time (1947) and then told her story backwards. So often, we look at people a...moreI liked how Waters introduced the characters and their stories in present time (1947) and then told her story backwards. So often, we look at people and make judgments without knowing the whole story. In this case, we have characters who are often judged or held up to criticism by most of society (lesbians, women who have affairs with married men and ex-cons.) In the first part of the book, it was easy to fall into the trap of disliking the characters and making judgments about them based on their lifestyles. The next section of the book goes back to 1944, and reveals a little more of the characters pasts. Finally, the last section goes back in time to 1941 to reveal the beginning of some of the relationships and misconceptions about others. Waters does a good job of getting the reader to look past prejudices and recognize the individuals and their humaness. The book also did a great job of showing the changing and conflicting roles of women during wartime and post WWII. I liked the book and would give it 3.5 stars.(less)
I enjoyed Gilbert's wit and meditation as she progressed on a year long journey of spiritual discovery. The book was a travelogue of metaphysical dest...moreI enjoyed Gilbert's wit and meditation as she progressed on a year long journey of spiritual discovery. The book was a travelogue of metaphysical destinations. I liked her stay in Italy, because the food and ambience were most appealing to my senses. I found her stay in India to be enlightening, learning how to pray, meditate and sacrifice self. Gilbert seemed to learn how to be comfortable in her own skin during the final leg of her journey in Indonesia. I viewed her trip in three parts: the first (Italy) was one of self-indulgence, the second (India) was one of self-depravation, and the final third (Indonesia) was a balance of the two. Gilbert occasionally sounded whiny and self-absorbed, but I think as depressed and insecure as she was, it was necessary to talk about and focus on her "I" issues before she could move forward.
I thought this was an interesting look at the story of our first family, Adam and Eve. It was told in four sections, each from a different perspective...moreI thought this was an interesting look at the story of our first family, Adam and Eve. It was told in four sections, each from a different perspective, in reverse order from Adam and Eve's fall from grace and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. I felt like I was watching an old fashioned movie reel in reverse.
The murder of Abel by his brother Cain held a prominent spot in the plot. I think this was so because Cain's exile from his family mirrored his parents exile from the garden. It also begged the reader to consider the nature vs. nurture issue. If God created everything good, how could he allow evil into the world and how could Adam and Eve be held responsible for their actions if they were created in God's image. What could make Cain have so much murderous anger?
Maine portrays Cain as a typical misunderstood teen, while Abel was the son who could do no wrong. Eve often appeared hormonal and nagging. Adam bumbled along trying to figure out how to raise a family. With the inundation of dysfunctional families on every talk show on t.v., it was refreshing to be reminded that we are no different from the first family.
What a tremendous undertaking! I can't imagine trying to cook every single recipe of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, much less havi...moreWhat a tremendous undertaking! I can't imagine trying to cook every single recipe of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, much less having to eat it. Liver, kidneys, brain.........ugh, gag me!!!! I enjoyed Julie's snarky commentary, although it sometimes got annoying; then again Julia Child was sometimes annoying to watch. Anyway, I enjoyed reading Julie's attempt to make some sense of her life by cooking her way through Julia. It wasn't always appetizing, especially the maggot infested kitchen; but it was humorous.