I had never read a "noir" mystery before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this but I really enjoyed it. I did have to keep reminding myself...moreI had never read a "noir" mystery before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this but I really enjoyed it. I did have to keep reminding myself of the time period in which the book was set, or I would have gotten really pissed off about the way women were treated. Based on this novel, though, I'll probably read more mysteries in the noir genre in the future.(less)
I wanted to like this book, I really did, because it was sent to me as a random act of kindness. WARNING: BOOK SPOILER.
The reasons I didn't are myria...moreI wanted to like this book, I really did, because it was sent to me as a random act of kindness. WARNING: BOOK SPOILER.
The reasons I didn't are myriad: (1) I couldn't stand the primary character. Her way of living and using people just disgusted me (NOT because she's lesbian, though). (2) The book felt like it was just a series of accounts of her relationships with very little substance either in the relationships or to connect the accounts. (3) The author's style of sentencing and forming paragraphs is very free-form and run-on, which drives me nuts.
I guess I should admit that the author was successful, in that if her intent was to describe a character that would make the reader dislike her and/or uncomfortable, she certainly did with me.(less)
Before you consider reading this book, be aware that are some very disturbing and graphic scenes in it, even more than the cover description depicts....moreBefore you consider reading this book, be aware that are some very disturbing and graphic scenes in it, even more than the cover description depicts. If you can handle that, this is a great example of hardboiled fiction. I had always thought that James Ellroy's writing was over-hyped, and only decided to read this because it was on the "1001 Books" list. It's obvious now that I was mistaken, and I will be adding other Ellroy's books to my "to read" list.(less)
**spoiler alert** Since I'm usually not fond of books written in epistolary form, I wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. It was one of those...more**spoiler alert** Since I'm usually not fond of books written in epistolary form, I wasn't sure if I would like this book or not. It was one of those books that, at the beginning, I wasn't sure I would finish, but as I got further into the book I liked it more and more. WARNING: SPOILER In some ways, I would have preferred that the author focus less on her activities in the film industry, and more on her sister's cancer, but can't articulate my reasons for that. It definitely was an accurate portrayal of how helpless one feels and how frustrating it can be to have a loved one be very sick, when you have no control over that. I also liked the way it showed family members' differing reactions to the sister's illness. Unfortunately, the cover makes the book look as if it belongs in the "chick lit" category, but overall, the book is rather more serious than that.
There are two quotes from the book that I particularly like:
1. (p. 148) Her gradual awakening to what's happened to her, to what she's lost and what may lie ahead,is harder to witness than all the spinal taps and puking, because I know this pain may not end ... Watching someone you love being hurt is its own special hell. Because you are not hurt, because you are strong, you feel you ought to prevent the pain from being inflicted; her pain is blameless, while your psychic pain is laced with the guilt of knowing you didn't do anything to stop it, and the fact that you couldn't have comforts only your mind, never your heart.
2. (p. 293) When I walk into an old cathedral ... I in fact feel as if I'm trespassing. I feel I've made a mistake, I've entered a secret club, that I shouldn't be there, especially if a service is in progress... I see the bowed heads of believers on their knees, and I hear the muffled whispers of their prayers, I feel alone and apart from them and that I don't belong in that place. I want to. I am in awe of it. But I'm outside. I envy those praying people. I want to feel what they feel. There is magic there, but I can only watch it, like an audience watches a ballet, never knowing what it feels like to pirouette on one toe ...(less)
This was a good book in that it was much a memoir and review of the incredible impact of Alzheimer's on family caregivers as it was a review of the au...moreThis was a good book in that it was much a memoir and review of the incredible impact of Alzheimer's on family caregivers as it was a review of the author's mother's descent into the crevasse that is Alzheimer's. At times, however, the strength of the story was overshadowed by a little too much jumping around in timeframe as well as the author's own alcoholism. All in all, though, I would still recommend it to anyone who has a friend or family member with this disease. Warning: don't ever think "It can't happen to me, OR I would never become like that" because this books shows you that you never know what would happen in those circumstances.(less)