I normally like novels with multiple narrators, whose individual stories have a common thread or are somehow linked together; however I don't want to...moreI normally like novels with multiple narrators, whose individual stories have a common thread or are somehow linked together; however I don't want to have to work really hard to find the link or have to repeatedly go back to reread to see if I missed something. It also helps if the narrators have some appeal, some enticement to want me to find out how they are linked together. While I liked aspects of this book, the metaphors and the symbolism of the desk; I found most of the characters rather pathetic and alienating. They suffered. They held on to terrible memories. They had holes in their heart. They were seeking something elusive to fill their life or give their life meaning. I understand the huge, black desk in the room was a symbol of all their anguish, and its 19 drawers housed all their memories and secrets; but I needed a reason to care! I could empathize with losing family in the Holocaust, giving a child up for adoption, having writers block; however I could never really feel for these characters who intentionally built up walls to isolate themselves, because these walls also isolated the reader.
I didn't dislike the book; but I didn't quite like it either. I felt rather indifferent and disappointed at the end. The riddle I'm left with is why "Great House" is being considered so great? I'd give it 2.5 stars if I could.(less)
I liked how this diverse group of flawed characters each was highlighted in their own chapter and how their lives sometimes intersected. I didn't real...moreI liked how this diverse group of flawed characters each was highlighted in their own chapter and how their lives sometimes intersected. I didn't really like all the characters, and had a hard time identifying with some of them, but they seemed real. It was voyeuristic peek at the flaws and foibles of human beings. Sometimes I wanted to look away, but more often than not I wanted to see how they wrecked their lives and/or repaired them.
What I didn't like about the book was although each chapter was based on a character, other featured characters lives would cross their paths, and it sometimes was confusing keeping it all straight. The book was not written chronologically, so each chapter jumped around in time frames, which got confusing. I could read about a characters death in one chapter, then in another he was talked about in the present. It required a lot of rereading on my part to connect the characters.
Overall, I found this collection of stories fascinating.
I got claustrophobic reading this book! I can't imagine being confined to an 11' x 11' room for more than a week, much less over 7 years. The story se...moreI got claustrophobic reading this book! I can't imagine being confined to an 11' x 11' room for more than a week, much less over 7 years. The story seemed so improbable as I was reading it, yet I all I had do was turn on the nightly news to know there are sociopaths out there right now, who have committed this same horrendous act.
The story was especially poignant told through the voice of 5 year old Jack. He enabled the reader to see Room as only he could, someone who knew only the inside of those four walls, and nothing of the existence of the outside world. I kept having to remind myself that Jack's awareness was only of his mother, Room, Old Nick and a little T.V. This really was a chilling tale. (less)
I was slow to like this book, because I couldn't connect with the characters at first. About a third of the way into the book, the...moreMy Rating: 3.5 stars
I was slow to like this book, because I couldn't connect with the characters at first. About a third of the way into the book, the characters grew on me and I wanted to see what was going to happen next in their lives and between them. The book had an interesting premise; it followed Dex and Emily on the same day of every year starting with their college graduation. Their paths diverged and intersected over the next 20 years. The book was sarcastic, bittersweet and funny. It ended much stronger than it started for me.(less)
Imperfect Birds is about family and what happens when the life they are living is a lie. From the outside, this looks to be a perfect family, but look...moreImperfect Birds is about family and what happens when the life they are living is a lie. From the outside, this looks to be a perfect family, but looks are deceiving. Rosie, a high school senior, is spiraling out of control. She creates elaborate lies to hide her drug/alcohol abuse, and it threatens the family. Her mother has her own issues. A recovering alcoholic herself, she also fights depression and anxiety issues. James, the stepfather, tries to be firm, but often finds he's the only one standing up to Rosie.
I could relate to this book on so many levels. I understood Rosie's fight for independence, her yo-yoing between guilt at the grief she was causing and her anger at the parents who were trying to anchor her to her childhood. As parents of teens, I felt Elizabeth's fear, sometimes rational, and other times not. I understood her wanting to see only the best side of Rosie, even when all signs flashed danger. The story was a family's worst nightmare come alive.
I thought the family dynamics were well-done, a "Go Ask Alice" for modern times. My main drawback with the book was Lamott never showed any normal kids or non-druggies. It seems it was gloom and doom, and nothing but tragedy for most kids in the area. Also, the characters of Elizabeth and her best friends were a little too out there for my taste (protesters, alternative religious ceremonies, sweat lodges). That distracted me a little from the book, although I don't know the whole story behind Elizabeth and her friends. Apparently, Lamott has written other books about Rosie and Elizabeth, which I didn't find out about until after I read this one. On the whole, I liked the book and would rate it 3.5 stars.(less)
This book should be retitled "The Ack"! It was dark (minus the humor), depressive, and the characters were wholly unlikable. I kept reading only becau...moreThis book should be retitled "The Ack"! It was dark (minus the humor), depressive, and the characters were wholly unlikable. I kept reading only because my beloved Bookmarks magazine gave it a four star rating. I was finally rewarded at the end of the book with a passage that I totally sympathized with, and swayed me to raise my rating by one star:
"I'm not very likable, am I?" "You're likable enough," said Vargina. "No, I mean, if I were the protagonist of a book or a movie, it would be hard to like me, to identify with me, right?" "I would never read a book like that, Milo. I can't think of anyone who would. 'There's no reason for it."
Heidi Durrow's first novel tells the story of Rachel who survived a tragic fall from a rooftop. It also relates her struggle to survive in a prejudice...moreHeidi Durrow's first novel tells the story of Rachel who survived a tragic fall from a rooftop. It also relates her struggle to survive in a prejudiced world, where she is neither white or black, but dusky, kinky haired and blue-eyed; she is the daughter of a black man and Danish woman. This is a moving coming of age story, set against a backdrop of racial injustice. I'd really like to see a continuation of Rachel's story as an adult. (less)