Let me just get this out of the way. If any two or more of the following apply: a difficult relationship with your mother, your mother is dead, or youLet me just get this out of the way. If any two or more of the following apply: a difficult relationship with your mother, your mother is dead, or your mother is an alcoholic, proceed with caution. You're in for a potentially rough ride.
Summary: When Irene's problematic, alcoholic mother suddenly dies, Irene feels free to return to her hometown of Toledo, where she can pursue her career as an astronomer and scientist. Almost immediately, she becomes entangled with a colleague, George, who effortlessly blows past every defense Irene has ever built. But soon, an unsettling truth comes to life: Irene's mother and George's mother had plotted many years for them to come together. Can love that is planned and programmed and manipulated truly be love?
This book contains a somewhat predictable plot, characters who are remarkable for their extreme oddness and selfishness, elements of magical realism that remind me somewhat of Alice Hoffman, and a few moments of philosophical and sweet ruminations on love, that go a long way towards redeeming the book. Also, kudos to the author for not taking the easy way of going for an easily recognizable town. Midwest, represent!
********************SPOILER ALERT!!!! THIS IS AN ONGOING LOG OF MY IMPRESSIONS************************
2/3/15: Still reading. So far, I am hating this. I can handle the fact that a large part of the story line is about an alcoholic spacy mom dies suddenly at home alone before having a chance to make things right with her rightfully-resentful daughter. BUT the resentful daughter is just...ODD. And an asshole. In fact, ALL of the characters are assholes. Is it worth it to finish this book?...more
So far, loving it. Which, duh. Of course. Definitely one that I will read again...but with the intent to cure homesickness or invoke it? Unknown at thSo far, loving it. Which, duh. Of course. Definitely one that I will read again...but with the intent to cure homesickness or invoke it? Unknown at this juncture.
"Doorways Into the Depths" captured, stunningly, the rich nature of a summer afternoon in Southern Indiana.
"How I Tried to Become Hoosier"-a recounting of a European-Californian who moved to Bloomington, Indiana, and tried to belong, resonated with me on a gut-level--not just the author's knowing descriptions of town and gown, but the struggle to make a place your own.
"Redneck Gifts" is a wonderful exploration of the character of Indiana's people, their reserve, their hospitality, and the gross misperceptions so many people have of them.
"The Saintly and the Sinful: A Vision of Indiana Cities" is a refreshing read--not the least reason being that the author of this essay grew up in Illinois, viewing the Hoosier State as a cosmopolitan promised land. He eventually adopts Indy for his own and celebrates it in such a way that I think I may have to read this many times over and agree. And maybe propose to him....more
This exhaustively researched (long after it was originally written) and annotated memoir of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the basis for her beloved, charmiThis exhaustively researched (long after it was originally written) and annotated memoir of Laura Ingalls Wilder was the basis for her beloved, charming Little House series, and shows just how much of the Little House books were fictionalized. But even after all of the facts are presented--including the sordid and sad and problematic episodes that Wilder omitted from the novel, what we are left with is still a solid (and true) story that celebrates hearth, home, and the hard-working and courageous spirit that I believe still beats in the hearts of most Americans. ...more
Complex, coded, and creepy—these are the three words I’d ascribe to this book. Also, completely original in concept but not completely smooth in execuComplex, coded, and creepy—these are the three words I’d ascribe to this book. Also, completely original in concept but not completely smooth in execution.
Through journal entries, transcripts of audio and video recordings, excerpts from emails, letters, newspaper clippings, and research tomes, the story unfolds: how A., a 20-something Briton, inherits a magnificent house and correspondingly huge fortune from Ambrose, a previously-unknown distant American relative; how A. and his teenaged friend Niamh (a mute Irish female who more than vaguely reminds me of a slightly more well-adjusted Lisbeth Salander) come to America and claim the house and fortune; how they almost immediately realize that there are supernatural enhancements to their property. But a ghost is the least of their issues—soon A. is having vivid and often terrible dreams and quite possibly being driven to insanity, and both he and Niamh are discovering secret rooms and cryptic coded messages from dearly departed Ambrose. It’s becoming apparent that Ambrose was part of an esoteric, secret society, the members of which converge on Axton House every year—and are about to do so again.
This is the kind of book that one might need to read more than once or twice to really get the whole story and appreciate its sophistication; however, the sometimes-vague inferences, as well as the tedious scenes of code-breaking, likely will bore or frustrate a great many of us who are in possession of much intelligence but little patience for codes, ciphers, and puzzles. ...more