Really great - well-written and utterly enthralling. Had a little trouble with the audio keeping track of all the different generals, but loved hearin...moreReally great - well-written and utterly enthralling. Had a little trouble with the audio keeping track of all the different generals, but loved hearing the names pronounced with the correct accent.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this one. I loved the story and the characters, especially Queen Kelsea who I thought made a seriously kick-butt superhero...moreI have mixed feelings about this one. I loved the story and the characters, especially Queen Kelsea who I thought made a seriously kick-butt superhero but also, totally relatable! She was great. But listening to the audio, some long sections of the book were so drawn out and grisly that I found myself just wishing it would end, and I was basically relieved when I finished the book, which isn't really a recommendation. But I also still kinda want to read the second one, though probably not on audio. So . . . feelings mixed. What can I say!(less)
Since I imagined from the title that this book would be full of fun, witty telephone conversations, I decided to listen to...more**spoiler alert** Spoilers!
Since I imagined from the title that this book would be full of fun, witty telephone conversations, I decided to listen to the audio version. Having finally (finally!) finished it, I think it is pretty safe to say that was a huge mistake, though I guess I will never know if I would have liked it better in print. As it was, a number of things bothered me about this book, the biggest one being . . .
Neal. My first thought on finishing the book was joy that I would never have to hear about Neal's lips again. Georgie's endless descriptions of Neal and how much she loved him were just so boring, not to mention all their deadly phone conversations. I actually turned my audio book to 1.25 time and I think that otherwise I might not have made it through. Neal just wasn't romantic, despite the million times that Georgie claimed that he was, but that actually wasn't my biggest problem with him. It seemed like he was dragging Georgie down, making her feel guilty for his own unhappiness and then using his close relationship with their daughters to make her feel even worse. The scene at the beginning when they leave for the airport seemed incredibly passive aggressive, later compounded by him not calling her. I hated that she never called him out on that - she just took the blame for everything that was wrong with the relationship onto herself.
Another thing that bothered me was this seemed like it would be a grown-up novel about marriage, but instead it just relied on hokey romantic gestures instead of actual work to fix a relationship. Neal's marriage proposal was particularly lame considering he'd already proposed impulsively to another girl in an attempt to fix a floundering relationship. And though I agree that Georgie's last minute cross country journey, despite being completely idiotic, was probably the right thing to do if she wanted to save her marriage, I hated that it substituted for an actual conversation about their problems.
I hated that Seth, who actually seemed to care about Georgie and bring out the best in her, got cast in the role of philandering jerk and then sidelined.
The whole subplot with writing the sit-com was pretty half-baked - really just an excuse to separate them on Christmas.
Also, why aren't they texting? This novel is clearly set in the age of texting, but Georgie never even thinks to text Neal.
And . . . there were other things. Too many things. On the positive side I did think there were two very funny lines - the one about the mudroom and how the house plans for you to get muddy, and the one about how you shouldn't live in a place where you had to take steps just to not die whenever you left the house (though really, you should do that all the time, all year long, wherever you live).
I am a little sad since I was looking forward to this book a lot, but I think it was just a misfire and will continue to look forward to Rowell's next book.(less)
As the many people whose ears I've talked off over the past month or so can attest, I really really loved this book. It took me a long time to finish...moreAs the many people whose ears I've talked off over the past month or so can attest, I really really loved this book. It took me a long time to finish because I was listening to the audio on my way to work, and over the holidays I wasn't going to work every day which meant less time to listen . . . basically I've been listening to this book for more than two months. I actually think that in a way this made the book more powerful for me. It became part of my life and when I finished yesterday I was somewhat at a loss. For this reason I would also highly recommend the audio version. Not only is the narrator amazing (Boris is great) but I think the slower pace of the audiobook made me appreciate the writing more and some of the ideas and feelings behind it. The plot is pretty gripping (or at least, I found it gripping!) so I think if I had been reading I might have rushed through.
The beginning, with the bombing, was often excruciating and almost painful to listen to, but such a vivid description that I will never read about a disaster scene in the news without thinking of it.
Also, I found Theo's revelations at the end to be very powerful.
Addendum: In the Goldfinch, Theo wonders how his life might have been different if his mother had lived. I just started reading C. S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy and was struck by this passage, about the death of Lewis's own mother when he was a child:
With my mother's death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.(less)
Ergh. I started out liking this book, and then wanting to like it, and then just wanting to finish it but I'm afraid I can't even manage that. I can't...moreErgh. I started out liking this book, and then wanting to like it, and then just wanting to finish it but I'm afraid I can't even manage that. I can't take anymore. In part I blame the audio, about which I have mixed feelings. On one hand, Libba Bray is a FABULOUS reader and adds a ton of personality to the characters. On the other hand it's just. so. slow! All the silly flights of fancy bits (eg many of the footnotes) seem to go on forever. My audio book needs a "skim" function. Also, it feels super heavy-handed. I started to feel like I was listening to an extended lecture on feminism and seriously, I'm good! I'm there already, I agree. I don't need the lecture. And all the consciousness-raising/self-actualization got pretty boring.
I suppose now that I've stopped reading half way through the girls will be stuck on the beach forever, finding their true selves. Oh well. At least they seemed to be having fun.(less)
This book was highly recommended to me by several people, and I did think the writing was wonderful and the amount of research Brooks put into the sto...moreThis book was highly recommended to me by several people, and I did think the writing was wonderful and the amount of research Brooks put into the storytelling truly impressive. Unfortunately, I found that in the second half of the book the historical sections started to really drag. This may have been exacerbated by the fact that I was listening to the audio version, which is slow (though the reader is quite good). I did remain interested in Hannah's story and tried to skip the flashbacks to find out what happened to her, but this turned out to be difficult and I felt like I was losing track so I just gave up. I think I will take a break from Geraldine Brooks for a while.(less)
Breathtaking. I've gotten so emotionally involved with this series. Part of me wishes that the third book was available now (Can it really not be writ...moreBreathtaking. I've gotten so emotionally involved with this series. Part of me wishes that the third book was available now (Can it really not be written? I'm not sure I believe that Hilary Mantel actually writes these things, rather than just pulling them, fully formed, out of the air) and part of me is afraid I'll never be able to read the third book. History is merciless.(less)