I found this book fascinating. The amount of painstaking detail that Mr. Larson gifts the reader with is incredible. I often imagined him, surrounded...moreI found this book fascinating. The amount of painstaking detail that Mr. Larson gifts the reader with is incredible. I often imagined him, surrounded by notes at some library somewhere, cross-referencing this and that to get it all just right as I read through this intriguing account of the Chicago World's Fair.
It is written from two main perspectives and a minor third, the first being the design and architecture world surrounding the fair, the second in equal measure of the devious world of H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who used the fair to his advantage in chilling ways. The third perspective is focused on a delusional and misguided young political named Prendergast who eventually assassinates the mayor of Chicago.
I have heard others comment that the read was dry, but I am one of those weird people who enjoyed watching the film Titanic for the first time back in 1997 because I was enamored with the attention to detail in recreating everything, and couldn't have cared less about Leo and Kate's affair. So, in a nutshell, I was in detail-nerd heaven in this book. And I know more now about the Ferris Wheel than all ya'll.(less)
This story is a interesting look into the life of a family impacted by Asperger's Syndrome. Being the mother of an Aspie, I was excited to read this a...moreThis story is a interesting look into the life of a family impacted by Asperger's Syndrome. Being the mother of an Aspie, I was excited to read this and see Jodi Picoult's take on it.
Jodi has a gift for being able to see clearly from each character's perspective, and I find her rotating point of view from chapter to chapter quite engaging (this writing style isn't for everyone). The story was heartfelt and definitely had an interesting premise, with her autistic child in the middle of a murder investigation.
The only problem? I guessed the plot from like, the beginning.
So I kept reading and hoping I was wrong and that some unseen plot twist would redeem the story, but it didn't happen. Alas, I was right all along.
That being said, still a good read, although a little long (or maybe it felt that way since I knew what would happen).(less)
I am sad to give this book only three stars, because the subject is something I really love to study and think about - this idea of the intricate chor...moreI am sad to give this book only three stars, because the subject is something I really love to study and think about - this idea of the intricate choreography of human souls on earth, how our actions affect each other, and nothing is a coincidence - but I unfortunately feel that the message came across a little too theatrically for me in Mr. Andrews' treatment.
Of course the stories he mentions are true and accurate, and are no doubt inspiring examples of this idea, but because there seems to be an average of 1-3 sentences per page, surrounded by artwork and the like, it ends up coming off like a collection of Hallmark cards rather than a book that takes itself seriously and really analyzes the butterfly effect.
I consider this a good book for anyone who wants a nice 10 minute read (because that is how long it takes to read it), but for anyone (like myself) hoping for a more in-depth searching of how our everyday actions can have great influence in our life and the life of others, it would be best to look elsewhere.
So, I must start out this review by admitting up front that I know Beca personally - and, well...I think that is precisely the point. We all know some...moreSo, I must start out this review by admitting up front that I know Beca personally - and, well...I think that is precisely the point. We all know someone, whether it be ourselves, our neighbor, our mother, or our friend who struggles with this battle labeled "depression". I champion Beca for being willing to take the fall in order to get a conversation rolling about this issue of feeling embarrassed or ashamed to tell others that we struggle and take anti-depressants.
While I have my own theories as to why depression seems to be more common these days (I feel there is a strong link to all of the chemicals, pesticides, additives, Bt corn, and GMOs in our food that were simply not there one hundred years ago), the reality is that there are many individuals, myself included, who benefit greatly from the use of anti-depressants. Getting to the point where I was willing to go see my doctor and ask for a prescription? Extremely difficult. Why is that? One tends to think that, as long as we are not depressed to the point of being suicidal zombies, no extra help is needed. We are otherwise strong, capable people, who just need to find that magical combo of routine and purpose and health and spirituality to get back on top....right? If I just do all those things, it will fix itself, right?
Beca bravely shares her journey and it is cathartic to share it with her. You will read along, nodding your head, relieved to get a chance to read a book that isn't a "Secrets to Happiness" book, a doctor's dry write-up of the causes and treatments for depression, nor an ultra-dark look into a lost soul, but simply an honest memoir of faith and hope. (less)
I really, really wanted to give more than three stars for this book. I love Tracy Chevalier and her writing style, I found the premise of the book int...moreI really, really wanted to give more than three stars for this book. I love Tracy Chevalier and her writing style, I found the premise of the book interesting, but when compared to her other novels, this one fell a little flat for me. I guessed almost everything before it happened, which is always annoying when reading a novel, and for whatever reason, I did not feel very connected to the characters.
That being said, if Chevalier came out with another novel I would no doubt make sure to read it. Her talent as a writer is undimmed for me, though I am left disappointed a little by this story. It seemed to be told looking through a window at the characters, rather than being written from within them. I wasn't carried away, I guess!