Title: The Crying Tree Author: Naseem Rakha Pages: 353 pages Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009) ISBN-10: 0767931408
Book Description...moreTitle: The Crying Tree Author: Naseem Rakha Pages: 353 pages Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009) ISBN-10: 0767931408
Book Description from Book: Irene and Nate Stanley are living a quiet and contented life with their two children, Bliss and Shep, on their family farm in southern Illinois when Nate suddenly announces he’s been offered a job as a deputy sheriff in Oregon. Irene fights her husband. She does not want to uproot her family and has deep misgivings about the move. Nevertheless, the family leaves, and they are just settling into their life in Oregon’s high desert when the unthinkable happens. Fifteen-year-old Shep is shot and killed during an apparent robbery in their home. The murderer, a young mechanic with a history of assault, robbery, and drug-related offenses, is caught and sentenced to death.
Shep’s murder sends the Stanley family into a tailspin, with each member attempting to cope with the tragedy in his or her own way. How do you continue the same life without your child? How do you continue on?
My Review: I was initially intrigued when receiving this book for review by the cover. I am always drawn to interesting cover art. After reading the back cover I didn’t see how the boy playing the trumpet and the title The Crying Tree came together, but very appropriate after reading the book.
I read this book on my vacation and I must say it was a great read! The themes of the story for me were loss, grief and forgiveness. One of the most powerful lines in the books is about pain and grace. How do you have pain and grace at the same time? I guess through forgiveness comes grace. There is so much pain in this story, the pain of a mother, a father, sister and lover. There is a powerful statement made about pain and hatred eating you alive and now you get around that hatred and forgive. I am not sure I could have forgiven as Irene Stanley had, but she was a remarkably strong character. I appreciated her strength and journey.
The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha is a remarkable and heart wrenching story that will stay with me for a while. The characters are very well developed and you have a good feel for their feelings and values. The characters are very human and have made mistakes. I highly recommend this book. It will draw you in within the first few pages and like me, you will be staying up a bit too late wanting the story to continue!
I am once again blown away by the storytelling on Wally Lamb. He introduces us to a wide range of rich characters. What I like about the characters, e...moreI am once again blown away by the storytelling on Wally Lamb. He introduces us to a wide range of rich characters. What I like about the characters, especially Caelum, is they are just average people, trying to make sense of a world that is wrought with tragedy. The description of the shootings in Columbine are heart wrenching. I listened to this book and found the drama of the shootings to be very intense and had a profound effect on me.
Generally books with a lot of side stories are not enjoyable to me. The Hour I First Believed is the exception. The Columbine shooting falls into the background of the story as life and tragedy continues to plague Caelum. It almost felt like a new story once Caelum starting his discovery and research on his family history. But throughout the book the struggle to maintain the relationship between Caelum and Maureen is ever present.
To me the theme throughout the book is that life isn’t easy and neat. Terrible things happen to people for unknown reasons. This story though filled with tragedy portrays the strength of the characters to overcome the tragedies of their lives and find hope and purpose for in their lives. Don’t we all have tragedy in our lives at some level? It is all about our journey through the tragedy and who we are on the other side. One can only hope we continue to find hope in life after it is all said and done. It was inspiring to follow Caelum, Maureen and Violet in their journey to hope after an imaginable amount of tragedy.
I have read Amish fiction in the past and didn't find it very fullfilling. That was not the case with "The Hope of Refuge" by Cindy Woodsmall. I was v...moreI have read Amish fiction in the past and didn't find it very fullfilling. That was not the case with "The Hope of Refuge" by Cindy Woodsmall. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. "The Hope of Refuge" had me engrossed within the first few pages. I found the characters, Cara and Ephrian to be believable and very likeable characters. I grew up in South Dakota. I lived near a Hutterite community and knew members of the community. This community is somewhat similiar to Amish, therefore, I am particularly interested in the Amish community, their rules and values. As with any book worth reading, I lost a few hours of sleep wanting to discover the outcome of "The Hope of Refuge", but it was well worth it!
My Rating: 4/5 - Great - I would recommend to my friends! (less)
My Review: I have to admit I picked Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany from Netgalley, based on the cover. Amy Hatvany is a new author to me, but one I pl...moreMy Review: I have to admit I picked Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany from Netgalley, based on the cover. Amy Hatvany is a new author to me, but one I plan on reading more of. On Sunday, I decided to start my day leisurely with a bit of reading time. I started Heart Like Mine and found it very gripping and ended up finishing the entire book in one day. This is very unlike me as I have a house and family to take care of on the weekends! Heart Like Mine is a story of love, marriage, parenthood and grief. The struggles of a blended family are amplified by the recent death of the children’s mother, Kelli.
The story flows very well, even with the transition between times and narrators. What really kept me reading this book was how well the emotions of the characters were developed. The tense relationship between Victor and Grace (stepmom) and the emotional roller coaster of the grief, feeling of betrayal and loss of the teen daughter Ava were spot on. I just wanted to wrap in my arms around the youngest child, Max. I loved the ending and being able to see how each character came to terms with each other, the past and the future.
My Rating: 4 – I would have lost sleep to finish this book, if I hadn’t finished it before bedtime! If you enjoy books by Jodi Picoult or Women’s Literature you will LOVE Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany! This is the first book I have read by Amy Hatvany, but it will not be my last (less)
My Review: I believe this is the first book by Kate Atkinson that I have read. I must say her writing was outstanding. I love the concept/ story line...moreMy Review: I believe this is the first book by Kate Atkinson that I have read. I must say her writing was outstanding. I love the concept/ story line of Life After Life. The whole idea of being able to relive your life with a bit of hind sight is intriguing. What might you do differently if you would have known what you now know??
Life After Life takes place between 1910 and 1960. Atkinson superbly portrays this era in history both in London and Germany. The main character Ursula was very well developed as were the lesser characters in Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I had a bit of difficulty connecting to Ursula as each “new” Ursula was a a little different than the previous one due that Ursula’s past experiences. This left me with a bit of confusion and a disjointed feeling initially. But once I got a feel for this I saw how each life added another layer to the story.
As a social worker I was fascinated by Ursula’s story and the impact a small change or decision would make of the final outcome of her life. It is amazing how a even a small change can rewrite history. We have so many choices in life and you never really know how a different choice may impact your life. While in life we may experience hind sight, we don’t get the chance to use that gained knowledge to change our future. Would be interesting if we could.
Kate Atkinson crafts her story in such a manner that the reader truly does experience that feeling of déjà vu when reading Life After Life. This ability to provide the reader with that experience shows the true writing talent of Kate Atkinson. But this is where I might delineate from my fellow book bloggers…I found the end of one of Ursula’s life to the next very disheartening. Once I would start reading again and would be at a similar place and the story took a different path I found this very disjointed. I am a casual reader at heart and like a nice flow to the story. While Life After Life is amazingly written, I really missed the continuous flow of the story. In my opinion, Life After Life had many starts and ends within the telling of the story that decreased my enjoyment of getting lost in the story. This is part could have been due to the fact that I read bits of the story at a time due to my busy schedule and that might have taken away from my overall experience of the book. I think Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is best read in large chucks of time.
My Rating: 4 – I would recommend Life After Life by Kate Atkinson as the characters and writing are amazing and the concept of the story fresh and unique. I really enjoyed the attention made to the details of the historical significance of the setting. Life After Life would make for a great book group discussion.
My Review: Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a novel which touches on issues such as racism, homophobia and feminism...moreMy Review: Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a novel which touches on issues such as racism, homophobia and feminism in a heart warming and humorous way. Though these issues are heavy this story is entertaining and evokes real emotions about the various characters. Jackie a housewife from Boston and her family move to the Deep South in the racial charged 1960s. Jackie starts this controversial Literary Society when moving to Collier County. This novel is narrated by Dora, one of the lovable misfits that make up the Literary Society. Each member of the Literary Society bring something different to the table during a time in history when different was not a valued attribute.
The members of the Literary Society are colorful and lovable. I can’t even chose a favorite character as I loved them all. I especially would love to see a movie made of this book just so I can see Dolores, the alligator hunter. My image of her in my mind is pretty entertaining!! The Literary Society is a group of people who are different, but develop a real friendship despite their differences. Change is possible when people look beyond their difference and find their common ground. For this group one common ground discovered was reading/books. Jackie, the Literary Society originator had good intentions and wanted to change the injustices she saw in her new home, Naples. She didn’t always approach the issues in the best manner and was not always successful, but her intentions were good.
After this group has an incident with the Ku Klux Klan, it looks like all was for naught. Can things really change?? But everything turns around for the group and the ending is very satisfying. The group leaves a lasting impression on Naples, Florida. I loved the ending!
Miss Dreamsville and The Collier County Women’s Literary Society is a debut novel by Amy Hill Hearth and will be available for purchase on October 2, 2012. If you enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you will love Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society. The characters really make the story!!
My Rating: 4/5 – The story flowed well and the characters were wonderful! I still smile thinking of the image in my head of each character. A wonderful debut novel that kept me up a few nights later than a girl who needs to get to work on time should stay up! (less)
This is the story of migration, love and loss as two women (Adelina and Juana) find the path of their lives crossing. Juana’s family suffers a tragedy...moreThis is the story of migration, love and loss as two women (Adelina and Juana) find the path of their lives crossing. Juana’s family suffers a tragedy which greatly affects Juana’s relationship with her mother. Juana’s father, Miguel leaves to go to the United States to find work and money for the family. Juana and her mother struggle greatly in the absence of Miguel. After two years, Juana leaves Mexico to search for her father.
Juana is befriended by a young woman, Adelina in a Tijuana jail. Adelina was born in the United States and came to Mexico with her boyfriend. The two make plans to leave their life in Mexico behind them and go to the United States. Juana is desperate to find her father and find out why he did not return to Mexico as he had promised.
The story is told in alternating chapters by Juana the young girl living in Mexico in poverty with her mother and Adelina a 30 year old social worker in Los Angeles.
This is a debut novel by Reyna Grande. I love discovering new authors! I can only imagine the Reyna Grande enhanced the story by using some of her personal life to shape this story. When Reyna was 5 years old her parents immigrated to the United States and left her and her siblings in the care of their grandmother. At the age of nine, Reyna immigrated to the United States to be with her parents. She currently resides in Los Angeles. Author’s Website is http://www.reynagrande.com/
My Review: This book was recommended to by my friend, Syd. I thought the writing was good. The book was engaging and had a good flow to the story. The descriptions of life in Mexico were interesting and heartbreaking. I felt a bit confused in the middle of the story by the alternating chapters by the two women, Juana and Adelina. The author quickly brings it all together and it all makes perfect sense. Once everything started to come together, I had a hard time putting the book down. Once again I stayed up too late reading! 4/5 – Recommended/ A Good Read.
Mar 8, 2011 Review: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Wallsfrom Reading In White Bear Lake....... by Jen C Title: The Glass Castle Author: Jeannet...moreMar 8, 2011 Review: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Wallsfrom Reading In White Bear Lake....... by Jen C Title: The Glass Castle Author: Jeannette Walls Publisher: Scribner; Date of Publication: 1 edition (January 9, 2006) ISBN-13: 978-0743247542 Pages: 288 pages
Synopsis: (From Publishers Weekly) Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
Video of Jeannette Walls on “The Glass Castles” with her mother.
About the Author: Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up in the southwest and Welch, West Virginia. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, a triumphant account of overcoming a difficult childhood with her dysfunctional but vibrant family, has been a New York Times bestseller for over three years. A publishing sensation around the world, The Glass Castle has sold more than 2.5 million copies in the U.S. and has been translated into twenty-two languages. Walls is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Christopher Award for helping to "affirm the highest values of the human spirit," as well as the American Library Association's Alex Award, and the Books for Better Living Award. The Glass Castle was chosen as Elle magazine's book of the year. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.
My Review: The Glass Castle: A memoir by Jeanette Walls
In The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls tells the story of her unconventional, nomadic upbringing as a child. Her father, Rex was a very intelligent and charismatic man, who spent time teaching his four children. His alcoholism keeps the family in unimaginable poverty. Rose, the mother of the family was an artist who really could not be bothered to provide basic care to her children or maintain employment as a teacher. Jeanette and her siblings did well in school and learned to fend for themselves at a very early age. What struck me most about this book was not what happened to the children/family, but how the author’s voice when telling about these events of her youth contained such love and compassion for her parents. In many regards the children had to parent themselves as well as their parents. I did not pick up feelings of resentment in reading The Glass Castle. Rex promised to build the family a Glass Castle for them all to live in. The promise to me showed the hope this family had, which unfortunately never became a reality.
Jeanette is able to preserve and maintain hope throughout The Glass Castle. This is what makes The Glass Castle different from other memoirs I have read about dysfunctional families. I was not left with that “icky” feeling when reading this. The children were terribly neglected, but this was not done with malice. I believe the parents loved their children.
Jeanette and her siblings are able to escape. One by one they go to New York to start a new life for themselves. Three of the children seem to fair well as adults and maintain a relationship with their parents. Then the parents move to New York to be with the family. They chose a life of homelessness, which is hard to understand. But the children seem to accept their parents and who they are. (less)