This book spans the relationship of two girls -- the wealthy Caitlin and the underprivileged Vix. This follows them from the summer of 1977 to the sum...moreThis book spans the relationship of two girls -- the wealthy Caitlin and the underprivileged Vix. This follows them from the summer of 1977 to the summer of 1996. Cait and Vix meet in school when Cait asks Vix to accompany her to her father's house in the Vineyard. After that, Caitlin's life was never the same again. Vix is smart, observant, maybe even a little shy while Caitlin is vivacious, outgoing, and opinionated.
Most of the book is told from Vix's POV with subchapters from some of the supporting characters POV. However, Caitlin never gets a subchapter. We're left to figure her out from Vix's reactions to her and the reactions of the other characters. Caitlin gets a lot of reaction for her "don't care" attitude.
This book is about so much more than the relationship between two friends. It also focused on the complexities of relationships between women, women and men, between parents and children, etc. And then, there's the usual growing pains mixed into this story making it an excellent read.
A few things that annoyed me with this story was the contrived ending. It seemed almost as if Blume was trying to make her readers feel sorry for Caitlin. I didn't. I felt more sorry for Vix.
And another personal grievance was the way that Vix kept on forgiving even when Cait did the unthinkable. I think this irked me because I know firsthand what it's like to keep forgiving a person who keeps breaking your heart.
Other than that, loved this book. I read it in one sitting. This book made me nostalgic for some of my own friends.(less)
Early 20th century (1938) lesbian literature. This was a painfully beautiful novella revolving around a young woman named Morgen Tuetenberg. In the be...moreEarly 20th century (1938) lesbian literature. This was a painfully beautiful novella revolving around a young woman named Morgen Tuetenberg. In the beginning of the story, Morgen is caring for her sick father, the renowned painter, Fritz Tuetenberg. During a walk, she meets a pianist named, Royal St. Gabriel, who falls for her at first sight. The death of Morgen's father leaves her empty, and Royal wishes to fill this emptiness, but Morgen doesn't feel truly complete until Toni enters her life.
This story dragged a little in the beginning, but not for long. This story runs a gauntlet of emotions from love to grief to indifference. With this being so short, you seem to be watching strangers. You don't have much of a chance to get too intimate for the characters. You care for them, but only in that detached way.
I think the strong point in this story was the theme of human emotion and love. I was rooting for Royal. I really liked the guy, but love is capricious and Morgen had to do what made her happy. I think she did start to love Royal, but he still wasn't what she needed to fill that void.
There really isn't too much more that could be said about this book without giving it away, so I'll just stop trying to find the right words to describe it. If you ever get hands on a copy, definitely read it. It's a touching story.(less)
This is the story of Ninah Huff, the granddaughter of the founder of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. Say that thre...moreThis is the story of Ninah Huff, the granddaughter of the founder of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind. Say that three times fast. I dare ya! Basically, the people of the congregation spend their time striving to do the "Lord's good" while denying themselves earthly pleasures (No TV, very little free time, you get the picture) because they don't want to be stuck on earth when the good Lord comes back. To avoid earthly sins, the members of the church are known to inflict pain upon themselves such as sleeping on nettles or walking on pecan shells.
The story is also told from Ninah's POV. She's a young girl struggling with religion and life in general. She questions what she is being taught in her community, but at the same time, she feels ashamed and guilty of the changes going through her -- particularly her attraction to a boy named James. Despite, Ninah and James's efforts to avoid temptation and sin, the two come together in the biblical sense, and the outcome tears their little community apart.
I thought this was a very beautiful story following the trials and tribulations of not only a teenager growing up under such strict beliefs but the desires of the heart and flesh, the questioning of religious beliefs. Ninah makes such a transition in this story. She goes from a timid teenage girl to a young woman who knows her heart and believes that God's love comes from more than just pain. She finds strength when so many obstacles stood in her way. She forces a community to change, to face it's hypocrisy, and above all, Ninah finds a sense of self.
I also loved the characters in this book. They were so beautifully drawn out. You could imagine them vividly. Everyone from Ninah to Corinthian, the woman who the community considers a backsliding whore. You feel for these people. You can probably think of people who share some similar attributes. Maybe not as religious, but we all know drama-queens and people who strive to please others.
Ninah's story is so heart-wrenching, but beautifully written. I could not put this book down, and I already want to read it again. All I have to say to that is, "Whee, Jesus."(less)
I gave into temptation after seeing the ads for the movie all over Goodreads. Wow, what a story. I wouldn't say this was a hard story to read, but muc...moreI gave into temptation after seeing the ads for the movie all over Goodreads. Wow, what a story. I wouldn't say this was a hard story to read, but much of it is dreary. This book takes place during a time when women were only seen as vestibules to bear children--particularly sons. Other than that, their lives were "worthless," and they were often viewed as another mouth to feed for their husbands' families.
Living life under strict patriarchal codes, women were not allowed to air their grievances. They were encouraged to accept their lot in life and believe that everything that happened to them was their own doing, something they deserves. They were taught that they only achieved perfection through pain. However, these woman created a secret language used to convey their true feelings to one another.
This books follows the journey of two women whose spent their lives as loatongs (old sames)--women paired together to be the emotional pillars to each other that their husbands could not be for them. Their history together is painful, and their relationship poignantly illustrates the ever shifting face of female relationships.
Women, and our relationships with one another, are such complicated things. Even though this story takes place during a time long before women had many rights, some things remain true. Some of the same tricks they used then, we use now. We still share so many of the same fears, hopes, aspirations, etc. These things still affect us no matter our races, geographical locations, social statuses. Beautiful story.(less)
Astrid Magnussen's mother, Ingrid, is strong, self-relying, and unsympathetic to weakness of any kind. She also has strong rules against love and the...moreAstrid Magnussen's mother, Ingrid, is strong, self-relying, and unsympathetic to weakness of any kind. She also has strong rules against love and the way it should be properly handled. Ingrid is Astrid's world, everything she knows she learned from her mother, but she finds herself teaching herself to survive when her mother kills a lover (whom her mother falls in love with, breaking every rule she ever had) who tossed her aside.
I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I watched the movie first and liked it. I was pretty much willing to accept what had been told in the movie, but I am glad that I finally read the novel. It was hard to put this book down. The reader follows Astrid from innocence to maturity. We also see her progress from being the doting daughter to the cynical teen who loves and hates her mother at the same time.
She does a lot of growing up in her foster homes, and she learns many things that aid her in the struggle to survive. Ingrid still plays a vital role in Astrid's life even though she's in prison. Ingrid is literally Astrid's world even in the confines of prison. She can still manipulate Astrid's life, even though Astrid tries to prevent that from happening.
Astrid and Ingrid's relationship is a complex one even to be a mother-daughter relationship. I didn't agree with some of the decisions that Astrid and her mother made, but life isn't perfect, why should this book be? Issues abound in this book from women's issues, maternal issues, mother-daughter issues, etc.
Note: Old review that I'm importing from an old book blog.(less)
I'm not sure what I can say about this book without giving away too much of the plot. Everything I want to say seems like a potential spoiler, but I'l...moreI'm not sure what I can say about this book without giving away too much of the plot. Everything I want to say seems like a potential spoiler, but I'll try.
Delores Price spends the early part of childhood in a sort of childish bliss. She somewhat oblivious to the problems her parents are having. It only matters that they're somewhat well-off. Then, Delores's parents divorce and she spends the next few years of her life sitting in front of the television and eating junk food to combat her problems.
Delores is like any other teen. She just wants to be accepted and liked. She admires movie stars, she likes music and guys, but she's not accepted because she's fat. Kids at school bully her (and that's the least of her worries), but instead of fighting back, she retreats into a world of overeating and the television.
I heard some people say that Lamb can't write women. I beg to differ. He wrote women exceptionally well in my opinion. Books rarely make me cry, but this one caused me to tear up quite a few times. Delores emotions, her failures, her successes were so true, so believable, as you follow Delores through tragedy after tragedy.
Note: Old review that I imported from an old book blog.(less)
Tess's father, Mr. Durbeyfield, is jokingly told by a minister that his family is the direct lineage of an old, noble family that was once thought to...moreTess's father, Mr. Durbeyfield, is jokingly told by a minister that his family is the direct lineage of an old, noble family that was once thought to be completely gone. There's nothing left of the family's land and fortune, except the family name (d'Urberville).
However, Mr. Durbeyfield and his wife see this as a chance to move up on the social ladder. They devise a plan to send their daughter to become acquainted with a rich woman who's last name is d'Urberville. From then on, Tess is left to try to maintain her dignity and honor and to pick up the pieces of her broken life that resulted from her parents' need to be important.
This was my first time reading anything by Thomas Hardy. I was warned that he was cynical man, and I'll agree that Hardy's prose is cynical, yet heartrending. I couldn't help feeling bad for Tess through all her troubles. This is not a happy novel. For a moment, you think that things will get better for Tess, but the fates seem to be against her.
The landscape of the novel changes with the mood of what's happening. The land itself almost seems to be a living person that he described. He uses vivid, beautifully described imagery to describe people and places in his novels. There are themes of theology (Hardy had internal conflicts with believing in God), virtue, the boundaries of love. He employs everything from Greek mythology to modern (or what was modern in his day) poetry.
There are no illusions of a happily-ever-after in this story. This was simply a beautiful novel, a novel that portrays its female heroine as the strong woman she was. She could put more modern women heroines to shame.(less)