I went back and forth on this one. I leaned more toward 3 stars, just because a lot of parts were just too vulgar or grim for me, but that's the natur...moreI went back and forth on this one. I leaned more toward 3 stars, just because a lot of parts were just too vulgar or grim for me, but that's the nature of the people she was telling a story about so...
As usual, Donoghue did a brilliant job of weaving her tale together. The title is perfect because it works on many different levels, and teasing out those bits was a pleasure. Her writing was beautiful as always, and I spent a lot of time thinking about meanings and big ideas in between chapters, sort of like I did with Astray. The historical setting was well done, as was the mystery, as were the characterizations. I was a little hesitant about some forced-feeling GLBT issues, and I found it hard to like the cast of pimps and prostitutes, but I did really like Jenny Bonnet.
Bottom line, if you can get past the vulgarity, you have no choice but to appreciate another masterful work from Donoghue.(less)
Yet another book I would never have read except for my book club. I think I have to give it 4 stars because it's my favorite lesbian book of the ones...moreYet another book I would never have read except for my book club. I think I have to give it 4 stars because it's my favorite lesbian book of the ones I've read. I liked the characters, I liked the various things going on in their lives, I liked the story. Sure it was simple, but it was sweet and a quick read. Of course given the choice I would pick a straight romance to read, but I don't think this one would have worked with a man involved and I enjoyed it for itself. However, it did make me want to pig out on some chocolate chip cookies!(less)
So great, I teared up a lot. I loved Luke and Tessa's relationship. It was interesting to see both sides of Tessa's coming out and how it affected not...moreSo great, I teared up a lot. I loved Luke and Tessa's relationship. It was interesting to see both sides of Tessa's coming out and how it affected not just her and her family but also her best friend. I could have used more about the impact on her not-quite-girlfriend, and that was one of the main reasons I couldn't quite give it 5 stars. (That and even though Tessa certainly struggled, something about the way the school board meeting and other big confrontations were written didn't quite capture the struggle for me.) Luke was a fascinating character, a baseball playing boy with a single mother who's watched too many chick flicks but undoubtedly has a good heart, even if he loses his way for awhile. Towards the end I was tearing up a lot. Not quite crying, but definitely had tears running down the face. So touching.
Now, I'm not gay myself, but I suppose you would call me an "ally" because I have many gay friends and their struggle is something close to my heart. I've never known someone before they came out, but I imagine that this book captured that feeling to an extent. Luke's feeling that Tessa betrayed him by lying, his effort to explain to people that she's still the same person, his struggle to find something to do to help Tessa through a difficult time. I don't know if it's because I'm coming to the book from a straight perspective, but on looking back it seems like Luke's viewpoint was more real. I did like Tessa's voice a lot, but at the same time it seemed like coming out was hard for her, but it didn't really have the level of emotional struggle that I would expect. Still, maybe it's because in the world of this story, Tessa seemed awfully focused on Luke. (Did I mention that I loved their relationship?)
I think this could be a good book for a gay teen. Like I said, I don't know how realistic it was, but at the same time I think that it gives an overwhelmingly hopeful perspective of coming out. Even though there is certainly a lot of opposition to Tessa, her best friend, king of grand statements, and other select members of the community are just SO supportive that the hate pales in comparison to all that love. It's definitely a feel good story by the end. As you can probably tell from the rest of my review, I really think this would be a good book for the straight friend of a gay teen who is unsure of how to react to the changed reality brought on by the revelation of the truth.
I really wanted to like this, but there was just too much man-hating and unexplained science and unremarked incest. I liked the premise and some of th...moreI really wanted to like this, but there was just too much man-hating and unexplained science and unremarked incest. I liked the premise and some of the plot, but those other elements were just too much for me. The story had serious potential, with the traveling and the new planet and the new civilization, but alas, too much hair fetish and mentioning of Mother's "melons." Yeah.(less)
This was a nice story, which I enjoyed more after hearing several gay friends dissect it and share their opinions of it. That definitely made me appre...moreThis was a nice story, which I enjoyed more after hearing several gay friends dissect it and share their opinions of it. That definitely made me appreciate it more than I did on the first reading, since I was coming from a much different perspective. My own first reaction was that the romance between two women meeting for the first time in a friend's cabin was too convenient, especially when one had never been with another woman before, but still I was happy they found each other. The socialization of all the women was definitely dated with the encounter games, but since it was set in 1978, I guess that wasn't too bad. It was just hard to relate to because I can't imagine anyone saying things like that to strangers and casual acquaintances in this day and age. One thing I did love about the book was that the descriptions around the area of Lake Tahoe were beautiful, and I especially wanted to be able to climb the ladder to that cabin loft and look out those windows.
All in all, it's a nice little book but just hard to appreciate as much if you're not gay and/or weren't a young adult in 1978.(less)
This book was wonderful. I loved the two points of view. Both Will Graysons were clever and witty in their own ways. Their lives and problems seemed v...moreThis book was wonderful. I loved the two points of view. Both Will Graysons were clever and witty in their own ways. Their lives and problems seemed very real. The very central figure of Tiny Cooper was so fun to get to know. The insight into friendship, sexuality, and self-identity was incredible. I think almost anyone--gay, straight, old, young, man, woman--would find this book entertaining, inspiring, educational, or all three. Highly recommended.(less)
I really wanted to like this book, as I really want to like all books I read for book club. But I just couldn't. The first one was okay, but not thril...moreI really wanted to like this book, as I really want to like all books I read for book club. But I just couldn't. The first one was okay, but not thrilling. This one made me want to scream. I was literally putting this down with an exasperated sigh every few pages.
These women are supposed to be strong career women. Instead, they're a bunch of shallow weaklings. They let their bosses dictate their personal lives. They are obsessed with sex (and seem to have very little other basis for their relationships). They whine and complain constantly. They treat other women appallingly. They have threesomes for their wedding anniversary. They think their jobs are so important and yet constantly drop everything for a little love in the afternoon, 2 p.m. sharp. (And one of them is a relationship therapist who has absolutely no concept of what a train wreck her own marriage is.) It just defies belief that such annoying, self-obsessed, sex-obsessed, pathetic women could head Fortune 500 companies. I hated the characters, ergo, I basically hated the book.(less)
I've never read any Jodi Picoult before, but I had to read this one when I saw the subject matter. I thought it was great. Real, honest, open. Her wri...moreI've never read any Jodi Picoult before, but I had to read this one when I saw the subject matter. I thought it was great. Real, honest, open. Her writing is fairly strong, but it's the characters that make it truly spectacular work. I felt like I knew these people, their joys, and their sorrows. Zoe's ex-husband took quite an abrupt turn in the personality department that I didn't understand for his character, but then again I don't understand church-sanctioned hate in the real world either. My biggest complaint was with the ending, which I thought was a bit weak. On the other hand, I don't know how a better way to end it would have been. Still, the journey was much more important than the destination in this one.
And with regard to the accompanying CD - just say no. It didn't add anything. In fact, I thought it took a lot away, so I stopped listening to it after about the fourth track. Books are books - no musical accompaniment necessary when you bring your own imagination. (less)
This novel is way too redundant with often choppy dialogue (and, at times, choppy narration). Sarton has some nice things to say, but the problem is t...moreThis novel is way too redundant with often choppy dialogue (and, at times, choppy narration). Sarton has some nice things to say, but the problem is that the people who will read this book will already agree with her and the people who should read this book won't read it. Additionally, it was clear she wrote the story with the express purpose of fitting the subject she wanted to "preach" about; it was not a smooth marriage of plot and theme. I was ready to like this one, so I'm a tad disappointed.(less)
Pretty good story in the beginning, but from page one I hated the writing style. I've rarely come across a writer quite so fond of excessive adjective...morePretty good story in the beginning, but from page one I hated the writing style. I've rarely come across a writer quite so fond of excessive adjectives, adverbs, hyperbole, and metaphors. Then what starts as your average mystery story rapidly devolves into a bunch of quasi-Native American, New Age-y hocus pocus mumbo jumbo. I just didn't think it fit with the tone of the rest of the book. So what started out as a passable (though over-written) mystery ended up... eh. To add to it, the plot lines were only very loosely tied together, making for a weak ending. I was ready to enjoy this book, which made it that much more disappointing.(less)