I really wanted to like this book - I do so enjoy series about towns with interesting characters and amusing storylines. I had hoped for another lovel...moreI really wanted to like this book - I do so enjoy series about towns with interesting characters and amusing storylines. I had hoped for another lovely read like the Jan Karon books, or something more comical like the Lumby series. Unfortunately there are some things about this that I just can't get past.
For one, the narrator breaks in at the worst (for me) moments, and spends pages talking philosophically about life - which ... why do I care what they think about life? I want to hear from the characters! We're given no reason to need or want to know what the narrator thinks. Who is this person talking at me? It breaks up the flow of the story and yanks me out of the book right when I'm wanting more than ever to be lost in the book! It's an easy trick way of putting in exposition without having to think about how to have your characters deal with it. But it breaks the flow and it's information that I have no idea what to do with - why am I being told this stuff? I'd say "read on and just wait and see" except it keeps happening and no real reason is ever revealed.
Another issue is the ever so convenient happenings in the book. Inheritances, low prices on houses, nobody's chickens arrive sick or dead, no eggs are bad, etc. It just felt too much like the author was deliberately making things WAY too easy for her characters. I'd have enjoyed the book a lot more if the characters had had to work for what they got, instead of having everything handed to them or when tense situations were resolved via deus ex machina. Plus, we never actually see the main female character WORK. We're told about how much work she does, she's described as ever so busy and tired, but we see her gather eggs once so far, and I'm two thirds of the way through the book. One gathering, one work session, one painting session, bam! Busiest woman around! Except, no. We don't ever SEE it. We see her partner working. We see secondary characters working. Her boyfriend works all day every day.
Then there's the author/narrator's habit of calling the readers all sorts of cutesy names, very off-putting for me. I want story, not cutesy! And the ever-repeated drawn out words trying to show us how people talk - "Oooooooooooooooo!" and "Nooooooooooooo!" etc - it's getting to be as bad as Barbara Cartland. Every time the main character squeals or tinkling giggles or titters or etc again, I roll my eyes.
I am hoping that the last third of the book redeems itself, but the ever-so-obvious seeeeecret of one character, which is supposedly seeeeecret, is writ large upon the sky for everyone to see - except no one sees it. And we're getting to the supposedly heavy "wah wah wah poor little me" section and all I want to do is yell at the author: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE CHICKENS AND LESS ABOUT PEOPLE'S Seeeeecrets!
I had SUCH high hopes. Darrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrlings. Such high hopes. Such eggspectations. My little pips. My peeps. My little chickies. My .... yeah, the cutesy names are annoying. Dashed high hopes, dashed.(less)
Awful book. The supposed heroine is boring, lackluster, dispassionate and so annoying. Get a backbone, if you want your life to change then CHANGE IT!...moreAwful book. The supposed heroine is boring, lackluster, dispassionate and so annoying. Get a backbone, if you want your life to change then CHANGE IT! The other characters were universally unlikeable, the plot was ridiculous even for trashy chick lit. Things I wanted to know about the characters were passed over for endless descriptions of boozing and makeup, plot points were skipped over willy-nilly, and overall the book needed a hell of a critique group to pull it to pieces so that the author could re-write it into something worth reading. (less)
This was a fasctinating book - so much information that I knew the top layer of, but had no idea all the history that lurked beneath! I love reading a...moreThis was a fasctinating book - so much information that I knew the top layer of, but had no idea all the history that lurked beneath! I love reading about how some tiny event, object or person can shift the entire world history ... and this book is full of those lovely gems. A more in-depth look at the entire timeline would take many many books, as this covers everything from ancient red dyes through Cortez and Spanish rule of the Americas, and on into 20th century chemical dye creations. So while the author basically paddled through the shallow end of the history swimming pool, she did it very well. I never felt like asking the book "but wait! what about that thing you mentioned earlier?" - all loose ends are tied up. A very well-written book - I don't think I ran across a single sentence that made me wince and think "needs an editor!" or "where was the proof-reader when this sentence was approved?". Very good work - direct, detailed, yet also gives a big-picture view of the history of not just red dye, but dye in general.
The one quibble I have with the book is with the figures (illustrations/photos). The text references the photos by figure number ("see fig 2") - but the figures themselves ARE NOT LABELED THAT WAY. Gah! You have to physically count 1, 2, 3 etc in order to make sure you're looking at the correct figure. And there's no actual photograph of the item that has a starring role in the book, nor is there a photograph of the plant it lives on. Nor is there a photo of the dried, powdered dyestuff. But there is a scientific drawing in the figures that isn't even labeled or described on the photo page! Very very frustrating. Hundreds of pages in the book about this ingredient, and no photos of it.
So while the writing gets 5 stars, the lack of photo labelling and lack of wanted photos takes it down to 3 stars - so averaged at 4.(less)
I had high hopes for this book, after reading a great book by Alison Armigon (Nellie Oleson on Little House), but ugh. It felt like 600 pages of "I di...moreI had high hopes for this book, after reading a great book by Alison Armigon (Nellie Oleson on Little House), but ugh. It felt like 600 pages of "I did cocaine with this person, then cocaine with this person, stole cocaine from that person, did cocaine in that room, did cocaine in this room, had sex with this person for cocaine .... " We get it. You were addicted to cocaine, yous lept around. All that, and yet very little talk about actually being on the set of Brady Bunch and acting and her interactions with her coworkers, what it was like to be a child actor, etc. And the book feels like it just tailed off into randomness and then was cut off due to lack of paper somehow. Very awkward.
Definitely not a "read before sleep" book, it will give you nightmare about cocaine and elder abuse.
I just can't recommend this book. It needed a LOT more editing and a great ghostwriter. (less)
Another autobiography that could have used a lot more editing, some writing assitance, and a few more revisions.
Hated - oh so strongly hated - the fa...moreAnother autobiography that could have used a lot more editing, some writing assitance, and a few more revisions.
Hated - oh so strongly hated - the faux screenplay text portions of the book. Geez. Just tell your story. Don't make us parse through a fake screenplay to figure out what's going on.
Hated the line by line re-enactments of individual Little House episodes. We know - we've watched them. We don't need you telling us all about them again. Spend more time on how you felt in those episodes, what challenges you faced in the acting, what about the episode touched you (or didn't), what you remember about it, what you learned, etc.
There was a good book in here that just wasn't allowed to be free.
In the end I just felt ambivalent about the entire book. (less)
Having just read "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Nellie Oleson (ha - that is, by Alsion who playd nellie!), I thought this book would be a great f...moreHaving just read "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Nellie Oleson (ha - that is, by Alsion who playd nellie!), I thought this book would be a great follow-up read. I was disappointed. Alison's book had a lot of detail about Little House, and I had hoped for the same from "Laura"'s point of view. It seems to have been rather glossed over, though she did talk about her relationship with Michael Landon. I just expected to hear more about such an incredibly significant part of her life, and that which truly brought her to our attention.
While interesting to read, the book did start to feel like name-dropping. But I guess if you grow up in Hollywood, you can't help but pepper your conversation with names!
It was interesting, but it didn't grab me like Alison's book did.
And holy cow - was there a bad made-for-tv-movie that Melissa Gilbert *didn't* act in, during the 90s and 00s?!?!(less)
Deeply fascinating unweaving of a lair's lies that ran for over 40 years. This man's life may have included murders, did include kidnapping, stealing,...moreDeeply fascinating unweaving of a lair's lies that ran for over 40 years. This man's life may have included murders, did include kidnapping, stealing, lying about who he was, using his (assumed) names to scam people out of money, just over all a Bad Man.
And yet people kept forgiving him, even after the truth was revealed. Holy cow. And how amazing how people just blindly accepted that he was a Rockefeller, without checking into it. Including the woman he married (under that name) and had a kid with. She never ever met anyone else from the Rockefeller family through him, never saw a penny from him, yet took it as a given that he was a rich Rockefeller. Holy cats.
I'm ... I'm all out of sorts after reading this book. I couldn't STOP reading, I had to find out how it all unravelled. (less)
If you ever watched Little House on the Prairie, you know Nellie Oleson. I never hated her like many friends did (oh how they hated her with a burning...moreIf you ever watched Little House on the Prairie, you know Nellie Oleson. I never hated her like many friends did (oh how they hated her with a burning passion!) but I could see why she was hated. To me she just seemed sad - it was obvious Laura had the hearts of the village, and the full support of her family, so Nellie wasn't really a worry to her, just an annoyance.
Alison's life before, during and after Little House is quite astonishing. I'm just amazed by the lack of parental behavior by so many parents in the Hollywood / acting / theater world - but I guess they're everywhere, we just don't read about them as their children don't get to ack on Little House on the Prairie! :) Alison writes candidly about so many subjects, and tells all the stuff I like to hear - details on the logistics of a day on the set, why things happened, who made what decisions, what people were really like - even the people she doesn't like, she gives second and third chances to and tries to find the good in them. She's honest about herself and her actions, and her revelations about herself are fascinating to witness.
I read this book all in one sitting, staying up until 4am. I truly did not see the hours passing - started it as a little something to read before sleeping, and next thing I knew, the birds were chirping their moning song. Oops. But what a recommendation, eh?(less)
A wonderful, fabulous, fantastic book. Wendy McClure inhabited the world of the Little House books in the same way I did, when she was growing up. Fre...moreA wonderful, fabulous, fantastic book. Wendy McClure inhabited the world of the Little House books in the same way I did, when she was growing up. Frequently I would say out loud "YES!" or "Me too!" or "I agree!" while reading. She clarified quite a few things about the series that had been bugging me (books, timing, characters, storylines, etc). I'm glad she did all the research so I didn't have to!
This is not a strictly scholarly work, by the way. She does do quite a bit of research but the book is about her physical and mental journies and what she learns along the way - about Laura, Rose, herself.
If you liked the Little House on the Prairie books, you should give this a try. I loved this book! I can't stop thinking about it. It will stay with me for a very long time.(less)
A very lovely book that I wish I could afford to purchase, instead of get from the library. I say this because the book is set up so that you can keep...moreA very lovely book that I wish I could afford to purchase, instead of get from the library. I say this because the book is set up so that you can keep notes on which clouds you've seen where - collect them, basically! As I am a birder, this aspect of "listing" clouds appeals to me. I can go birdwatching and cloudwatching at the same time! Keep a yard list of clouds, just like I do birds! A ferry list! An airplane list! Travel list! Oooo, cloud twitchers?
I wish there were more photos of each cloud type, and better descriptions of the differences between similar cloud types - side by side photo comparisons, for instance.
But what there is in this slim volume is very good. A few pithy comments scattered here and there liven up the descriptions and made me smile. But not too many of them - just enough.(less)
Great book! I love hearing about the behind-the-scenes day to day work that goes into discoveries, works of art, plays, tv shows, etc etc. I love logi...moreGreat book! I love hearing about the behind-the-scenes day to day work that goes into discoveries, works of art, plays, tv shows, etc etc. I love logistics and details and what people were thinking when they made decisions. And this book fulfills that love - without being boring at all! Throw in some science, some math (don't worry, not scary!), even a drawing activity if you want to follow along, lots of insider info, lovely descriptions, personal details ... and you have a great read. Definitely a "can't put down" book for me, I stayed up until 3am one night reading this.
I liked it so much I bought a copy for a present for someone. And I never buy books these days! That's a huge recommendation from me. (less)
A fascinating read. I've been interested in the British in Africa after reading Flame Trees of Thika, Beryl Markham's books, etc. This is a more moder...moreA fascinating read. I've been interested in the British in Africa after reading Flame Trees of Thika, Beryl Markham's books, etc. This is a more modern era lifetime story, involving multiple civil wars, alcoholics, murders, rapes, drugs, continual bad weather, insects, etc etc.
If you are of delicate constitution, you'll have to skip a lot in this book. Gory descriptions abound. (less)
Great read. It's like sitting down with Judi and a few pints, gossiping about the world of the stage performers. Nothing earth-shattering, but as some...moreGreat read. It's like sitting down with Judi and a few pints, gossiping about the world of the stage performers. Nothing earth-shattering, but as someone who loves the every day details of other people's lives, this was a lovely glimpse into her world.(less)