I saw that someone I follow added this to her bookswap. Recognizing Camden as a town in Maine, I checked first to be sure it -was- in fact referring tI saw that someone I follow added this to her bookswap. Recognizing Camden as a town in Maine, I checked first to be sure it -was- in fact referring to that town, and once I was sure of it I requested the book. I did enjoy the Maine-specific parts of the book, it was kind of cute to read a book with a setting so familiar to my life. It was clear that the author did some research and knew the area. I must admit, though, I was surprised that more people didn't seem to remember Roberta from when she was a child there. Small towns in Maine don't have much ... turnover ... as it were, and I imagine there was even less in the early 1900s. As the book alludes to, most of them grow up staying in the same down and working in "the mill" (or the factory, or whatever). She should have known most, if not all, of the townspeople but there were a lot of introductions, typically as "Grace's sister".
The main character annoyed me. Why, because Roberta was a so-called "independent" woman, does that have to also mean she is a total slob?! I know that was a departure from the norm, but I think you can be independent, get divorced, drive a car, etc, and still keep a decent house and appearance. Maybe not immaculate, especially with three children and no husband to help with housework. But her dirtiness annoyed me. Also I thought the author could have done more with the children. They aren't really individuals, especially the middle one (and I don't even remember her name, as proof). Lydia I suppose was precocious, and Rebecca got a little bit more air-time because she was the oldest, was dating, and understood what her uncle had done to her mother. [And as an aside, that scene between Roberta and Elfred affected me more than any scene of that nature that I've read in any book previously. I had to put the book down for a moment.] And of course, I sensed what would come between Roberta and Gabriel within a page of his introduction. But that's ok.
I didn't find the book to be anything really special. It wasn't bad, in fact it was a cute book, an entertaining read. But nothing I'd want to read over and over....more
This one just arrived in the mail yesterday -- OMG it is THICK, what was I thinking?! Looking forward to reading this someday, especially since this eThis one just arrived in the mail yesterday -- OMG it is THICK, what was I thinking?! Looking forward to reading this someday, especially since this event played a big part in my father's life....more
I've read a handful of Pulitzer Prize (fiction) books, and generally have not been impressed. The few I've read from other categories I've had betterI've read a handful of Pulitzer Prize (fiction) books, and generally have not been impressed. The few I've read from other categories I've had better luck with, but that may be because it is easier to choose books about topics I am interested in than it is with "fiction", which is a pretty general category. Empire Falls is the best Pulitzer Fiction book I've read so far. I went back and forth a lot trying to decide between 4 and 5 stars. I've settled on 4 for now, I think... I enjoyed the writing, but I'm not sure it will stick with me.
Additionally, it suffers from the "lack of plot" problem -- it's more a slice of life sort of novel. The writing was excellent, but even about 3/4 of the way through the book I wasn't sure what it was about, really, aside from "a dysfunctional family". There was a small amount of foreshadowing that John's role in the book would change, but how and why and what that change has to do with the point of the book (which still wasn't clear at that time) were a mystery until the last minute.
I think, in the end, the book is a little about not taking the small things in life for granted, and a little more about the catalysts needed before people take the step to make the changes in their lives that they really want to make. We, as humans, are surprisingly unwilling to change unless forced in most cases.
I thought the writing was wonderful and I really related to Miles, Charles and Tick, and felt like the others could have been real people I know even though I didn't care for them much. Being from small-town Maine myself, I felt Richard Russo captured the feel of living in such a place. His work came highly recommended, and I understand why. I'll definitely be reading more of his work!...more
Had I read this when I was in middle school, this book would have gotten 5 stars from me. Of course, when I was in middle school the internet was farHad I read this when I was in middle school, this book would have gotten 5 stars from me. Of course, when I was in middle school the internet was far less established than it is now -- we didn't have a computer and I had no email address at all until my freshman year of high school -- so this story wouldn't have worked out in quite the same way. But it closely mimics the idea of how I imagined things would go if I ever somehow managed to run into Jonathan Taylor Thomas out there in the real world (which would mean he would have to come to my small town in downeast Maine, since I never left there). I'd treat him like a real person, not a movie star, because obviously he's tired of people fawning all over him and somehow I'm the only one who is able to hold it together and we'll end up together.
And I'm sure many other young girls had exactly the same ideas in their heads.
This book hit all the clichés.
Which is why, now that I'm 31 instead of 13, the book only gets 3 stars from me.
Don't get me wrong. The book was still super cute. It was a fast, easy summer read that warmed my heart in all the right places despite me wanting to scream at the characters for being so stupid. I liked the email correspondence and how it played a part in the story but that most of the story was told in narrative rather than relying solely on correspondence (those types of books never seem to work for me). I both love and hate the way the ending of the story (view spoiler)[is left up in the air for the reader to decide what will happen to their relationship in the future. Was it just a summer fling, or can it turn into something more? (hide spoiler)]
I really disliked the extra drama with her father. It sort of ruined the "normal girl meets movie star boy" storyline for me, since she wasn't really a normal girl (though her mother really wanted her to be). I feel like their could have been a different sort of (more normal) father drama.
Anyway, cute story, fast read, brought back some nostalgia for simpler days.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a book I picked up in an airport while traveling one time, and am just now getting around to reading. I have this odd habit of purchasing whaThis was a book I picked up in an airport while traveling one time, and am just now getting around to reading. I have this odd habit of purchasing what I call "airport books", but not reading them during the trip on which I purchased them. Eh.
This was a fast, light read, although it did cover a bit of a heavier topic regarding adoption. Although Colin Firth's name appears in the title (and is what in fact attracted me to purchase the book in the first place -- I thought he'd play a much larger role in the book than he did) the main plot of the book doesn't revolve around him. True, there are lots of ladies in the book who proclaim to love him, and he is filming a movie in the small town where the book is set (in Maine! I didn't realize that until after I purchased it, and books set in Maine are another of my reading quirks). But the book itself revolves around pregnancy and adoption (and Colin Firth plays no role in either the pregnancies or the adoptions).
The story is told from the point of view of three women -- one who has just learned that she was adopted as a child in a death note from her (adopted) mother, a second who had a child as a teenager who she gave up for adoption (the first woman, of course), and a third who is pregnant but isn't sure she wants to be ... who is assigned to write a news piece covering the home for pregnant girls where the three women's lives intersect. The second woman also bakes a lot of pies that don't really add much to the story if you ask me. There's also another woman who isn't a POV character who WANTS to adopt a child. And another set of young people who work on the movie set who were adopted and have stories to add as well. Anyway, their lives all intersect and they help each other grow and opinions change and blah blah.
There were some good thoughts about adoption, motherhood, pregnancy, etc that I'll probably add as quotes here. But while the story itself wasn't bad, it also wasn't anything special if you ask me. But it was cute and entertaining nonetheless; I've still added the first book by this author The Meryl Streep Movie Club to my TBR....more