I have to be honest; I stopped reading Jodi Picoult books awhile ago. I enjoyed the first two or three I read immensely but then quickly realized thatI have to be honest; I stopped reading Jodi Picoult books awhile ago. I enjoyed the first two or three I read immensely but then quickly realized that many of them were so similar--introduction to flawed people, development of conflict, startling twist, resolution.
When I read the synopsis for this book, the focus on elephant's intrigued me. My initial impression was right--compared to many of her other novels, Leaving Time strikes me as one that Picoult spent more time researching and making distinct and unique. It doesn't hurt that the habits and rituals of elephants are completely arresting and endearing.
But elephants are more the setting or background of this novel. The main character is Jenna, a teen girl who is obsessed with discovering where her mother disappeared to after some sort of altercation years ago. Jenna enlists the help of Virgil, a broken P.I., and Serenity, a broken psychic. All of the elements of this novel worked in tandem--stories about elephant mothers being separated from their babies, for example, made Jenna's personal story that much more beautiful. As always, this book does have a twist near the end that somehow took me completely by surprise. I found myself sobbing at midnight in bed, my curious husband just listening to me. This book was an awesome journey--one I won't be able to forget. ...more
IMHO, not as good as The Bookman's Tale but still provided everything I want--love, adventure, mystery, and good humor. The protagonist in this story,IMHO, not as good as The Bookman's Tale but still provided everything I want--love, adventure, mystery, and good humor. The protagonist in this story, Sophie, is a bibliophile. Her love of books was nurtured by her uncle. When he dies unexpectedly, Sophie is thrust into a titillating mystery. Lovett splices scenes from the present with scenes from Jane Austen's life. Lovett is one of my very favorite writers because he writes about all the things I love. :) ...more
**spoiler alert** Totally absorbing and interesting. Frida lives in a fallen world-most major cities are cesspools with no infrastructure, little food**spoiler alert** Totally absorbing and interesting. Frida lives in a fallen world-most major cities are cesspools with no infrastructure, little food, no utilities, etc. Those with money have fled to enclosed "communities". Her brother has apparently become some sort of martyred terrorist. So Frida leaves L.A. with her husband Cal and they begin to survive on their own. Everything changes when Frida discovers she's pregnant. She and Cal leave their home again and struggle to make sense of the new community they encounter. Intriguing, full of mystery and discovery. My big complaint--it seemed like it ended mid-story, without resolution....more
Underwhelming. Lots of misdirection and suspenseful build-up but in the end it's nothing unexpected. Well-written and very interesting, but I guess IUnderwhelming. Lots of misdirection and suspenseful build-up but in the end it's nothing unexpected. Well-written and very interesting, but I guess I like more answers and background with my sci-fi....more
I wish I could give this 3.5! I really enjoyed the idea of this story more than the execution. This is primarily a story about Leticia, a free black wI wish I could give this 3.5! I really enjoyed the idea of this story more than the execution. This is primarily a story about Leticia, a free black woman in the mid-1800s. She ends up marrying a white man and traveling with him to Oregon. There are two other women included in this tale who, in my opinion, are supporting characters. For whatever reason, I felt this story slogged on. It covers so many years and is so broad sometimes I was bored. Despite that, the fact that this is a true story is kind of amazing. Leticia is a true rule model and someone I'm glad to know more about. Thanks to Net Galley for this read! ...more
This book threw me for a loop. I wasn't alive when all this crazy s*** went down so what I thought I knew about Charles Manson wasn't at all true. I'mThis book threw me for a loop. I wasn't alive when all this crazy s*** went down so what I thought I knew about Charles Manson wasn't at all true. I'm sure my mom (who was born in 1962) told me a glossed-over version of the truth--that Manson was a murderer. For some reason I thought he was something of a serial killer. I was surprised to find that Manson is basically a crazy misogynist-racist who enjoyed taking advantage of people and twisting the truth.
This book reads like a criminal psychology class case-study; Guinn goes far enough in Manson's background, upbringing, and historical climate to help us understand what the hell happened. Manson was, above all, a master manipulator and opportunist. Manson was a lifelong delinquent and criminal. By the time he was 29, he'd been in some sort of detention center, jail, or prison for about 14 years. Manson takes bits and pieces from other ideologies and uses them to manipulate people--fundamentalist Christian ideas, Dale Carnegie's advice, and Scientology's teachings to name a few. He grilled all the pimps he met in prison for all the tips they had to offer.
After his longest stint up to that time (6 years), Manson ends up near Berkeley, California, which, as Guinn explains, made for a perfect storm. Everyone was rebelling against the "man", everyone wanted to do drugs and have sex, no one 'belonged'. Finally Manson 'fit in' because no one fit in. Manson was obsessed with the Beatles (OBSESSED) and with becoming a famous musician in his own right.
He used the cultural climate to his advantage (and the pimp advice) and basically started a cult. His groupies mooched off of everyone around them (Even the government. Is that irony?) and basically did drugs, had orgies, and stole things. He convinced his "Family" that he was like a god (and twisted up some Bible verses to lend his ideas credence) and convinced them that "Helter Skelter" (so named for a Beatles song!) was coming--a race war in which the black people would rise up and kill all the white people. The Family listened to The Beatles over and over again and believed there were secret messages about Helter Skelter and the impending apocalypse.
How did they end up becoming murderers? It's almost as if it was by accident. Sure, Manson is a total sociopath, but it's almost like these idiots (sorrynotsorry) stumbled into becoming murderers. I was surprised to find that Manson didn't personally kill many people--he had so handily brainwashed his followers that his groupies did most of the dirty work. Further, Manson is still alive in prison and still tries to sway people to different "causes". He receives so much mail that extra staff has to help sort through it. He sired two children--one of whom committed suicide in part because Manson was his father.
Guinn is an excellent author and has pieced together so many different threads of this story to make a cohesive picture of exactly what went down. I was a little bored during some of the historical-political background sections, but I see why they were included. Thank you Goodreads Giveaway!!! Loved this. ...more
**spoiler alert** This is one of those books that took me a minute to 'get into' because the author goes back and forth between two narrators--two tee**spoiler alert** This is one of those books that took me a minute to 'get into' because the author goes back and forth between two narrators--two teenage girls. One girl (Syb) is mostly a typical teen, excepting that she's just been in a one-off modeling campaign, while the other girl (Lou) is dealing with the death of her first love. It took me awhile to catch onto the alternating narrators and pick up the context clues and other clues so I knew who was speaking. For the first chapters I was just terribly confused!
Both girls end up at a sort of summer camp for a semester of their school. It's at this camp that Syb begins to really come into her own and Lou comes out of her shell. Of course, their lives intertwine and the usual dramas of high school unfold.
I can't say what made me enjoy this book so much...in retrospect I loved these characters. Syb has let her best friend walk all over her all her life--I wanted to see her take a stand. Lou has fallen into a deep depression--I wanted to see her begin to heal. Syb's good friend Michael (an awkward, possibly autistic character) is totally endearing--I wanted to see him affirmed and validated. In the end, my only critique is that the nemesis of the story (Holly) didn't get nearly enough malice as she gave! Will definitely recommend to teen girls and anyone who enjoys a good, coming of age drama. Thanks NetGalley for the excellent read!...more
Kind of a depressing read. Lucy is dealing with infertility when she a) loses another baby and b) her husband is in a serious accident. There are otheKind of a depressing read. Lucy is dealing with infertility when she a) loses another baby and b) her husband is in a serious accident. There are other revelations to deal with as well. I appreciate this book for the interplay between friends and family, but it really is kind of a downer. I didn't feel like the bits of humor/joy balanced out the incredible sadnesses. If you like drama and need a little melancholy--this book is for you. Harper's writing and character development were good, IMO, and that's what kept me reading. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read it! ...more
**spoiler alert** Reading this book was like watching a train wreck, in the best possible way. You don't want to look away, you want to see what happe**spoiler alert** Reading this book was like watching a train wreck, in the best possible way. You don't want to look away, you want to see what happens even if it's horrible.
This book is about a family falling apart. One event seemingly shatters everything--the matriarch of the family (always flighty and eccentric) becomes a true hoarder and shacks up with the female neighbor, the patriarch is cut loose and eventually shacks up with his son's ex-girlfriend, his son becomes a drug dealer, and his daughters make some pretty poor choices of their own. Despite all their fumbling and foibles, I loved the Bird family. I loved watching them piece their lives back together after tragedy (though it took 20 years) and, against all odds, their story ended on a pretty happy note. Good family drama. Got my copy from NetGalley. ...more
This is like a novelized Lifetime movie. It's melodramatic, sometimes flat-out unbelievable, and everything ends happily. Melanie's son is abducted whThis is like a novelized Lifetime movie. It's melodramatic, sometimes flat-out unbelievable, and everything ends happily. Melanie's son is abducted when he's three; understandably, her life falls apart, her marriage dissolves, and she becomes depressed and anxious. She's so obsessed with child safety that she begins to temporarily abduct children just to teach their parents not to take them for granted. Somehow (?!--totally weird and beyond belief) a prosecutor falls in love with her. Of course, there's a crazy twist near the end of the book. The writing was a tad juvenile (can't put my finger on why; seems like a creative writing exercise that wasn't fleshed out very well). ...more
I say 4.5 stars! This book moved a little slowly for me compared to other stuff I've read, but not in a bad way. I stuck with it and after the first 3I say 4.5 stars! This book moved a little slowly for me compared to other stuff I've read, but not in a bad way. I stuck with it and after the first 30 pages or so I was consumed with these characters and their lives. This is an old-fashioned, Southern dynasty story (okay, dynasty isn't the right word because these people aren't rich, but you get the idea). The book is written from the POVs of three women in different generations of the same family; they are plagued with mothers abandoning their children. I thought this would just be an emotional drama, but it ended up being a mystery...well-written, moving--made me cry in the end. :) ...more