It may be a cliche to say that you laughed so hard you cried, except that I did while reading this book. Several times. Greene tells the story of howIt may be a cliche to say that you laughed so hard you cried, except that I did while reading this book. Several times. Greene tells the story of how her family created itself with such wonderful humor that you can't help but fall in love with them all.
Of course, a book like this can't be all sunshine and smiles, and Greene doesn't pull her punches when relating stories of family tribulation. Nor does she leave us in any doubt that children around the world face horrifying poverty and hunger every day.
If this book has a flaw, it's that it's a little uneven. In the midst of discussing the process of adopting one child, the narrative jumps back to relate an anecdote involving an older child, or Green's own childhood. These leaps never detract from the overall story, but the transitions are sometimes jarring.
Another cliche: this book is both hysterical and heartbreaking. But mostly it is about how family bonds are about love and effort more than blood....more
It gives away nothing about this book to say that it's about two sisters whose father kills their mother. One of the sisters is also stabbed, but survIt gives away nothing about this book to say that it's about two sisters whose father kills their mother. One of the sisters is also stabbed, but survives, and the other sister runs for help and returns to a very bloody scene. The remainder of the book is the next 30+ years of the sisters' lives, showing us snapshots of how this traumatic event and its aftermath effect the rest of their lives.
This is an excellent premise for a book (one that is loosely based in the author's own life, as it turns out). The father's impending release (either earlier on parole or later when is sentence is up) is supposed to create a lot of tension for the sisters, but very few changes are evident in their lives or relationships as this date grows closer. An improbable and weakly fleshed out encounter shortly before the father's release causes some temporary changes in their thinking, but things soon go back to "normal" and the reader is forced to wonder what the point of it all was.
This book got off to a strong and vivid start, as we live through the sisters' trauma, but as they grow into adults it becomes disorganized. Meyers could have either kept a tight focus on the immediately aftermath of the event (that part of the book was quite good) or given the reader more to chew on as the sisters grew up. She did neither, but instead takes the reader on a ramble through 30 years of the sisters not dealing with what happens. But then it seems she suddenly realizes that the story needs some closure, so Meyers gives them a breakthrough for an ending that neither she nor her characters have earned....more
At first, this looks like a fairly predictable orphaned-English-girl-gets-shipped-off-to-live-with-distant-relatives story. Predictably, the family MaAt first, this looks like a fairly predictable orphaned-English-girl-gets-shipped-off-to-live-with-distant-relatives story. Predictably, the family Maia is to live with in Brazil is horrid, and only allowed her to come at all so that they could get the allowance that comes with her. Fortunately, Maia has a very sympathetic, if somewhat mysterious governess who accompanies her to Brazil and in her adventures. It isn't until Maia's been in Brazil for a while that the story begins to come out of its predictable beginnings. There's a missing boy who may or may not actually be missing, and a child actor suddenly looking at the end of his career, and possibly Maia's new family has been living on ill-gotten gains for some time.
This is quite an enjoyable story, with plenty of adventure, and some intrigue mixed in for good measure. The characters are believable and the ending is quite satisfying, with the horrid family getting their comeuppance and Maia and her friends being able to live out their dreams....more