This was totally different than what I was expecting, based on the description. I'm a sucker for multiple story lines that eventually come together (t...moreThis was totally different than what I was expecting, based on the description. I'm a sucker for multiple story lines that eventually come together (think Love Actually or Lost, Season 1) and Walters does this very effectively, weaving past and present, taking readers back and forth between the west coast and Italy.
My main issue is that you are never allowed to forget how physically beautiful the heroine is. Yes, there are exceptionally beautiful women in the world, many of them actresses. But by the end, I felt like I was beaten over the head with it, and what a tragedy it is to be so attractive. Maybe I'm too sensitive? Also, the ending (last chapter) was a bit rushed, after 300 pages of back story, but I still managed to tear up. Ugh.
But overall, a very nice and beautifully written story. Perfect for vacation (ideally to Cinque Terre!) or simply escaping.(less)
I thought this book started out great, all mysterious and everything. But somewhere about two-thirds of the way through it fizzled and lost the "magic...moreI thought this book started out great, all mysterious and everything. But somewhere about two-thirds of the way through it fizzled and lost the "magic." People might think I'm crazy for saying this, but I truly believe in a world where anything can happen. Unfortunately, by the end of The Night Circus, it felt like the author didn't believe this and was grabbing at straws.
Perhaps this is one of those rare instances when the movie is better than the book. The imagery was quite lovely, although quite out of reach. For me, at least.(less)
Not a fan. I usually save my tolerance of 800-page books for John Irving novels and now I remember why. Flowery, descriptive prose and meandering plot...moreNot a fan. I usually save my tolerance of 800-page books for John Irving novels and now I remember why. Flowery, descriptive prose and meandering plots are not for me. Neither are stories where all the characters are hopelessly beautiful, but tragically flawed.
Read it if you're into the South or World War II. But be warned, there are parts that are very gruesome. I skipped about 20 pages in Chapter 34 because I don't have the stomach. Oh, and there is very little story set in Rome, so don't be fooled by that, either.
The Vietnam War was the most interesting to me, probably because I know very little about it. Turns out, my dad is the same age as the main characters, so it was interesting to get his take on the era. What a volatile period, and Conroy's writing really drives it home. Jack - the main character - is intensely introspective, so his perspective on the events is thorough and fair, highlighting the activism and idealism that inspired an entire generation to just... be better.
While I appreciated the majority of the stories, it just took too long to get there. This was five novels in one. Thankfully, I was on vacation, so could read about 100 pages each day, but by the end, I lost interest and just wanted to finish the story. I hate feeling that way at the end of a book. It's not what reading should be. But, I can blame my short attention span and stylistic preference - the stories are well-researched and ring true. It's just not the book for me.(less)