This wasn't at all what I expected. For some reason I had it in my head that there would be some dark underbelly of a twist and generally more Gone Gi...moreThis wasn't at all what I expected. For some reason I had it in my head that there would be some dark underbelly of a twist and generally more Gone Girl-like.
There was a twist but not until the very end and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It wasn't as surprising as other twists, I never trusted this friendship and I'm not sure that's from the way it was written or because of my previous assumptions about the novel.
The story is pretty much about a grade school teacher who always dreams of being an artist then gets to know this family, the Shahids and comes to love (and get obsessed with) each member in her own way. And that's about it. I didn't dislike the book but wasn't completely invested in the characters. Although I strangely connected to Nora which goes against most reviews that say they disliked/hated her. Perhaps I saw some of my own weaknesses and not-so-great traits in her so could be empathetic. I too have (had?) lofty dreams of my future and get angry and upset that I've accepted less but perhaps lack the drive and ambition one needs for those dreams. I also can become obsessive about things, pushing all other thoughts out of my head.
If nothing else the novel serves a cautionary tale--this women is ten years my senior so hopefully I can come to terms with my aspirations and emotions otherwise I risk being even angrier and disappointed in a decade.
Also, Messud perfectly captures the feeling of never being able to return to "home": "But do you know this idea of the imaginary homeland? Once you set out from shore on your little boat, once you embark, you'll never truly be at home again. What you've left behind exists only in your memory, and your ideal place becomes some strange imaginary concoction of all you've left behind at every step." (less)
The one thing that I did enjoy with this book and stood out to me was the use of Scottish words. I love...moreStory: 2 stars Images: 1.5 stars Actual: 2 stars
The one thing that I did enjoy with this book and stood out to me was the use of Scottish words. I love reading it out loud and being able to hear a Scottish accent in my mind and made me wish wither a) i could do a Scottish accent or b) hear the book read in a Scottish accent. (less)
It had so much going for it! At least as far as my interests go-- time period, Jack the Ripper, steampunk! But any time I thought "oh I should read mo...moreIt had so much going for it! At least as far as my interests go-- time period, Jack the Ripper, steampunk! But any time I thought "oh I should read more of that..." it just seemed so unappealing. I did several loads of dishes rather than read. Yeah. I also wonder about the audience for the book. You have Jack the Ripper which would seem like it would make it for an older audience although the murders aren't described in detail but if the reader looked into him they would certainly learn of them. However the protagonist reads so young, so I would see it more for middle-schoolers. But then it's so long! (Too long.) Hard to figure out. (less)
I cried for almost 80 pages of this book and it's only 124 pages long.
It reminds me of Our Town in the sense that we often overlook things and don't...moreI cried for almost 80 pages of this book and it's only 124 pages long.
It reminds me of Our Town in the sense that we often overlook things and don't appreciate them until they're gone. I get incredibly depressed thinking about looking back on my life and seeing all the things I missed.
Although I suppose the main character in the story "Daddy" in a way did appreciate the important things--he lost his job, his wallet and eventually his car but instead of getting depressed he sees the pure joy is his dog, Happie's face and know he's got what he needs. (Oh no, I'm crying again. I think I'll be doing this off and on all day.)
If I had known this book would be so sad I probably wouldn't have checked it out, but as upsetting as it was I'm glad I did. Like Our Town the point isn't to make you sad or feel pity but instead learn to appreciate those little things, those annoying things of every day living.
And most importantly to spend as much time as you can with your dog and perhaps be a bit more like them where everything is the best thing as long as they have their "daddy" or "mommy".
Now excuse me while I go bundle up, go outside and cry while throwing a stick for my dog. (less)