I have ready many books about Satmar orthodoxy and have been raised as a traditional Jew. There are certain parts of the book that disturbed me great...more
I have ready many books about Satmar orthodoxy and have been raised as a traditional Jew. There are certain parts of the book that disturbed me greatly, being considered dirty during menses, no higher education for woman, burning of wigs because of Indian hair etc. I think Deborah had a hard life. It was obvious her father had a certain mental condition and it was not taken care of (as it's just not done in that community). Her mother was forced into that marriage and unfortunately the Beth Din (Hasidic Court) rules and they would never let her take Deborah. I did feel sorry for Deborah but I then began to find her annoying. She started to sound really obnoxious and silly. Granted, she may be reliving her missed teenage years (I probably shouldn't judge). The thing that left the most sour lasting impression was the picture of her in New Orleans. She looked very trashy with a cigarette in mouth, and she didn't mention anything about her child or what she's doing with her degree. All in all it was an easy read, I read it in a night. The writing style is very easy. If you are not familiar with Judaism it may be hard to follow some of the customs and some of the words that are in Yiddish or Hebrew. (less)
I love books that start at the end and blindside you by introducing you to a character, and then go back 30 years and begin again. This story is not...more
I love books that start at the end and blindside you by introducing you to a character, and then go back 30 years and begin again. This story is not necessarily a happy one with a fairy tale ending. It's about two best friends who meet a seemingly wealthy man and as usual three is a crowd. There are underlying plots and more characters including an eccentric elder woman who is more than just a friend to the male character. As the plot continues and secrets are revealed our protagonist realizes that unlike Washington's famous "Rules of Civility" which the characters profess to live by, they have been living a lie. Our protagonist begins life anew. The story takes place in the 1930's and the 1960's. It's an easy read, cannot put down read if you like stories with twists and history. (less)
This is one of those go everywhere and read whenever you get a minute or two to books. I am a huge Erik Larson fan and this book to me is comparable t...moreThis is one of those go everywhere and read whenever you get a minute or two to books. I am a huge Erik Larson fan and this book to me is comparable to Devil in the White City. I have always been curious about the rise of HItler's power and how Americans living in Germany reacted. Erik Larson manages to research seemingly minute details that make the novel more interesting. I love how he chooses two interesting historical characters and you see their personal growth. It is also interesting to see the steady rise of antisemitism and ant-communist sentiment and how the Nazi party (although at first dysfunctional) eventually formed. Like most Erik Larson novels I tend to read more novels on the subject he writes about. He has a wonderful way of inspiring people to read more. If you are interested in learning about the rise of Nazi Germany and are a fan of history and of Erik Larson I highly recommend this book. (less)
Every once in a while I will read something that affects me on a personal level. It becomes so intense that it is like a relationship, a secret relati...moreEvery once in a while I will read something that affects me on a personal level. It becomes so intense that it is like a relationship, a secret relationship that I have with the characters of the story. It is not only that I can relate to the characters, feel their pain, happiness, anger, and fear it is that the author allows me to feel that way in a very subtle and almost sneaky sort of way. There are only a couple books that have made me feel that way in the past, The World According to Garp, She’s Come Undone, and Lolita are just to name a few. Those books took me to places in the human psyche where I never thought I would ever go. Sometimes while reading about these characters I start to imagine who they are in my life, inevitably I believe that authors model their characters after real people in their lives. My favorite authors are ones that make me reread the sentences to make sure I understand their full impact. I also love when I have to research exactly what the author is talking about. Often times that research leads me to other authors that have inspired them and I in turn engulf their work just to see how the influence exists. Nicole Krauss is a fairly unrecognized author in the mainstream, but I have read one of her other books, The History of Love , and was so inspired to read Great House. Krauss has an amazing way with words and reading her books is like listening to Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” for the first time. She invents characters with so many flaws and internal struggles that you start to question your own internal struggles. With sentences like, “When you die, are you Hungry” or "Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering,” I almost have to do a double take to make sure I really understand their impact. Krauss makes you wish that you could use simple words and weave them into these sentences that take your breath away. I must admit that I had to read The History of Love twice because it was really intense and I wanted to make sure that I grasped the characters and the essential meaning of the book. I am sure that in a couple of years I will reread The Great Room. Krauss has a formula for her books and she tends to write in a choppy sort of way in that each chapter is the story of another’s life. It is sort of like she threw the pages up in the air and where they landed is where she unravels the stories. At first it is hard to keep up with the characters; a fifty year old woman who is telling a story to a judge about her life and a desk that she fostered, A father and son gripping with the death of their wife and mother and trying to understand each other, A professor who is trying to unlock the secret of his wife’s past, and a tormented thirty something who is in love with an antiques dealers’ son who has depressive tendencies. All these stories surround this desk that was stolen from a Jewish family when the Nazi’s came into power. What I love about this novel (and her other books) is how she is able to connect all the characters together for brief chapters, yet you are still able to relate and connect to the characters on a deeper level. I must admit that at the end of the book I got upset because it was ending. I didn’t exactly like the way it ended, and I had some questions and I had to reread certain pages to fully grasp the novels conclusion. The persona stories within the novels are marvelous and any author who can see a perspective from another sex (other than their own) is a great story teller. I am glad that Nicole Krauss exists and I hope to read more of her work.(less)
Occasionally I am at a loss for words when I write about books. I like to say that I enjoy most books and I give most of them the benefit of the doubt...moreOccasionally I am at a loss for words when I write about books. I like to say that I enjoy most books and I give most of them the benefit of the doubt and I can appreciate the writing, story telling, and overall effort it took for the author to patiently spend hours writing and editing his/her masterpiece. I for one, could never imagine painstakingly sitting hunched over a computer writing page after page of fiction. I do have to give credit where credit is due, Ms. Niffenegger did write a novel, and that is about the nicest thing I can say about it.
I probably had great expectations from this book given that her previous book, The Time Traveler's Wife was probably one of my top 10 books from the last decade and this book was a total let down. The adjective fearful is the perfect description of the book, although I would have probably used creepy. This book was creepy.
The story began with the death of a woman named Elspeth, who had a younger lover named Robert. Elspeth is an identical twin (her sister's name is Edie). Edie has identical twins named, Julia and Valentina. Elspeth left her twin nieces her flat in London and asked that the twins live in the flat for a year. The only clause is that their mother, Edie is not allowed. Edie and Elspeth have not spoken in years.
The twins are very close and have an almost incestuousness relationship. The are so dependent on one another that they are rarely alone. Upon arriving in London they meet one of Elspeth's neighbors, Martin who suffers from OCD, (Martin is the only saving grace in all of the characters of the novel). The novel continues for another hundred or so pages with boring scenes of London cemeteries, dead people, a cat, animal cruelty, ghosts, a weird love affair, more weird ghosts, and a really weird ending.
In summary if you want to force yourself to read something that when you finish, you will ask for your time back, then this is the book for you! I actually read this book twice, just in case I missed some higher, deeper meaning but I used all my analytical powers, even read my notes on existentialism and I could come up with nothing! it was just weird and creepy.(less)