This is one of my all-time favorites... I love the depth of the world Huxley creates and the imagery he uses. I love his use of language to add to the...moreThis is one of my all-time favorites... I love the depth of the world Huxley creates and the imagery he uses. I love his use of language to add to the story and create metaphorical layers. Most of all, I love the idea of (and execution of) the anti-hero Helmholtz Watson. (less)
I must have a secret (ok, not so secret) obsession with dystopias. This was Lord of the Flies with just a slightly different angle... different enough...moreI must have a secret (ok, not so secret) obsession with dystopias. This was Lord of the Flies with just a slightly different angle... different enough that it captured my attention and I finished this book in five days (while camping with a two-year-old and extended family).
This story captured my interest after watching the movie. It got bad reviews, but I was so drawn in by the plot line and the idea of the hidden beach that after finishing the movie I wanted to read the book. It doesn't disappoint in that the two seem to be pretty different... right down to the ending which varied from the movie in unusual and disturbing ways.
An enjoyable read. Especially good for a vacation because it is a fast read and has a travel theme. (less)
I read this book on a recommendation from the pastor of our church- it is not the kind of book I would usually pick up. Keeping that in mind, I tried...moreI read this book on a recommendation from the pastor of our church- it is not the kind of book I would usually pick up. Keeping that in mind, I tried to be open-minded about the message as I went through it.
I think Stanley offers a lot of practical advice on how to get from where you are in life to where you want to be. Namely, that if you want to get somewhere in life: be a spiritual leader, a great parent, or have a fulfilling marriage- you can't expect these things to crop up on their own. You have to do the hard work that will lead you there.
There is a lot in this book that I liked and agreed with. I think if there are things you want to accomplish, you don't just pray for them- you move toward those goals in a practical way. It was a strong admonition to live intentionally, avoid regret, and seek advice from those who are wiser and further along in life than you are. There was also a reminder that we are not solely the crafters of our own destiny, but we rely on the will of God to accomplish (or re-evaluate) our dreams and goals.
From a spiritual perspective, I think it was a little light on the latter points. As someone who believes in God's sovereignty and His purpose and plan for my life, I was a bit ruffled by the assertion that we set ourselves on a trajectory for success through our actions- I believe God does that. I don't think Stanley makes one point to the exclusion of the other (scripturally, there is a delicate balance between free will and God's sovereignty) but his explanation of the second is light and doesn't make an appearance until mid way through the book.
Another slight problem I had with this book was from a leadership perspective. I admire those people who live with a great level of control in their lives and have conquered debt, go to the gym regularly, have great marriages and parent well. I aspire to that. However, I think it can also be a source of pride, especially as a church leader. Stanley mentions several circumstances where it was blaringly obvious to him that someone was doing something wrong (and stupid)- marrying the wrong person, getting into debt, buying something unnecessary, etc. I felt his approach to these situations was a little self-righteous (basically, swallowing an "I told you so" but writing it all over the pages of his book). I hope that as a leader I am able to set an example but act with compassion and grace when others stumble, and attempt to forego the judgement between the lines of this book.
One thing he covered very well was the regret over lost dreams- what we do when our life plan doesn't match up with God's reality. It was an emotional and enlightening chapter, probably the best of the book, and left me with the simple but comforting revelation that even though there are things in my life I have mourned over and would have done differently, God chose the path of my life with a plan and a purpose and I was never entitled to those dreams in the first place. If all I took away from the book was that one thought, that alone was worth it. (less)
I think I was drawn into the plot line of this book more than anything else- I didn't think the author was a great writer and I felt like the male cha...moreI think I was drawn into the plot line of this book more than anything else- I didn't think the author was a great writer and I felt like the male characters were pretty unconvincing.
That being said, the idea that birthed this novel was a fantastic one, and the way the story flows, and the way that she allowed the reader to see several perspectives and story lines was very interesting. I just wished that she would either a) stick to female characters or b) make more realistic male characters.
To say that she isn't a great writer may be harsh, I just felt like Picoult didn't take the time to question whether or not her characters would actually say/think the things she had written. There were some fantastic lines in this book but they seemed really silly coming out of the mouth/mind of a 13-year-old girl or an 18-year old boy.
I also felt, at times, that her writing was a little over-dramatic, which is hard to do considering the subject matter and emotional tenor of the book.
I wish I could have rated this book 3.5 stars. There was a lot to like in it, it was just that jarring feeling of "he/she wouldn't say that" that pulled me out of the story one too many times that kept it from a 4-star rating. (less)
It had enough in it that appealed to me as a foodie to keep me going... but it wasn't the best book I have ever read. More of a "guilty pleasure" than...moreIt had enough in it that appealed to me as a foodie to keep me going... but it wasn't the best book I have ever read. More of a "guilty pleasure" than anything. But it was a quick read! (less)
I loved the survival aspect of the book... it brought me back to my childhood reading books like Hatchet, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, etc....moreI loved the survival aspect of the book... it brought me back to my childhood reading books like Hatchet, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, etc.
That being said, the book took a strange turn about 3/4 of the way through and lost me. I definitely don't think it lived up to it's wild assertions that it would "make me believe in God" (I already believe in God, by the way).
I suppose my love for this book would improve by delving deeper into its symbolism or themes. It is definitely a book that begs for dissection and discussion. Looking forward to talking about it at book club.(less)
**spoiler alert** If I could give this zero stars I would. Reading it made me feel dirty- like I had just had an affair.
I don't know what I was expec...more**spoiler alert** If I could give this zero stars I would. Reading it made me feel dirty- like I had just had an affair.
I don't know what I was expecting, having never read any of this author's other work. I guess I thought it would delve more into the decisions that lead you to a happily committed marital relationship- but it's basically just a story about how a woman justifies her inappropriate feelings for her ex.
I made it about 1/4 of the way through this book before realizing it wasn't for me. I considered stopping but was hoping for a redemptive ending which just wasn't really there. I guess, technically, the woman doesn't have a full-fledged affair and she decides to stay with her husband... but she is also dishonest with him (even at the end of the book) and the story glosses over the most important details... like the reconciliation between the couple and the strengthening of their marriage. It basically ends like, "Well, I didn't sleep with the guy, and I'm not really gonna tell my husband about it, so it's all over now."
Really disappointing. Of course, if you like the author's writing style maybe it is not so bad (I didn't), but I would never recommend this story to anyone just because it felt morally degrading to read.