I loved the premise. Two brothers having dinner at a posh restaurant where the unspoken is the most compelling story. I wanted to know more about the...moreI loved the premise. Two brothers having dinner at a posh restaurant where the unspoken is the most compelling story. I wanted to know more about the earlier relationship between the brothers, the source of Paul's animosity toward Serge. Just an inkling. And did Serge return the dislike? I loved Paul's snarky remarks about the pretentiousness of high priced restaurants. The ending was a little too unbelievable and too many loose ends. But all in all, a very good read. (less)
I'm about halfway through Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Really looked forward to this book as I loved Corrections. I'm disappointed, though (like it's...moreI'm about halfway through Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. Really looked forward to this book as I loved Corrections. I'm disappointed, though (like it's the first time I've been disappointed with a follow up? Hardly.).
Hard to like any of the characters - maybe that's Franzen's point? A book of Anti-heroes? Still, it's not quite working for me. The character of Patty - I just can't get the feel of her. She's not fully developed or not consistently presented. The early awkward Patty and the empty nest, witty, sexually assertive Patty do not seem like the same person.
And there's this underlying air of misogyny throughout the book that I'm not liking. Actually, am struggling with figuring out if it's misogyny or Franzen's legitimate viewpoint of women he has encountered because there are some stereotypical traits included here that I, too, dislike, i.e., he's capturing something here but simply too many unredeemable women populating this novel, too many harsh views.
There is some good writing and there are some quality insights. I like the behind-the-scenes political opinions and happenings. Franzen opens a few doors to let some light in on insider maneuverings (I live in the land of the golden cheeked warbler, endangered species with huge political ramifications ... can't help but see a few parallels to the cerulean warbler).
I'm liking how Joey's ambivalent feelings toward his mother are presented (have three teenagers of my own). His character isn't super likable either but at least he's believable to some extent. (less)
I gave Sugar in My Bowl five stars in some part because (1) there was no 4-1/2 star option and (2) it's such a unique and necessary addition to the bo...moreI gave Sugar in My Bowl five stars in some part because (1) there was no 4-1/2 star option and (2) it's such a unique and necessary addition to the book world.
Some of the stories were absolutely wonderful. My personal favorites: Gail Collins' "Worst Sex," tales of surviving Catholic school (as a survivor myself I nearly always love when writers share these memories) and Jean Hanff Korelitz's "Prude" wherein she reveals a secret she is sure will astonish all who know her. Coincidentally, the book I finished immediately before reading Sugar in My Bowl was Korelitz's Admission (a look into the world of admissions to Princeton). And yes, her secret did come as a big surprise.
So many of these stories were very well written. Nearly all are brave. A few blend the role of love and sex in our lives as opposed to sex for sex sake. Some were fictionalized. Some were true revelations (very brave). Some are a little too much on the intellectualized, politicized side of sex - not the "real sex" I was hoping for, but also understandable given that the writers signed their real names. I kept wondering if there would be more meat in the writing (pun not intended, honest) if these women, or others, were to have written anonymously.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the read, looked forward to each new chapter and was sad when I was finished. I'd love it if Ms. Jong or another editor would continue to publish works in this same spirit. (less)
This barely gets 4-stars, or, only because there isn't 3.5. I mostly liked it as much as I did because I love P&P and enjoy someone's explanation...moreThis barely gets 4-stars, or, only because there isn't 3.5. I mostly liked it as much as I did because I love P&P and enjoy someone's explanation for Darcy's behavior, seeing him as a more likable character. It's fun reading his growing admiration for Elizabeth. I do plan to read part II and III of this trilogy and was bummed I didn't have part II on my bookshelf. (less)
What I like most about Hornby is how he gets the reader into the head of his main characters. He uses these insights to explore the inner most working...moreWhat I like most about Hornby is how he gets the reader into the head of his main characters. He uses these insights to explore the inner most workings of longterm relationships. Especially relationships gone south. In Juliet, Naked Hornby delivers again. The main theme, how music, their songwriters and their lyrics in particular, can have a profound affect people for years and years. (less)