**spoiler alert** Jennifer Lauck is a survivor. As a survivor myself, I felt drawn to this book and truly, I did enjoy reading it. My first reaction w**spoiler alert** Jennifer Lauck is a survivor. As a survivor myself, I felt drawn to this book and truly, I did enjoy reading it. My first reaction was one of dislike, because I read a LOT of books and the writing style didn't click with me. I consistently found strange punctuation errors and some short sentences that didn't particularly mesh with the rest of the story, but overall, once I got in to the flow of things, I really found myself enjoying the book.
Memoirs are hard to tell. This was a bittersweet, momentous and incredibly sad take on a life story that never should have been played out the way it was. A sick mother, an absent father, adoption - cruel step brothers and sisters, hard manual labor and an overall feeling of being alone, and so young, all come together for a fantastic and very happy ending that I was glad to witness.
Since I bought this the first month it came out, I have read it multiple times, and I am likely to read it again. Ami McKay paints a picture of a timeSince I bought this the first month it came out, I have read it multiple times, and I am likely to read it again. Ami McKay paints a picture of a time when midwives were the most called upon form of doctor, not just for childbirth, but for all of the other everyday medical practices that we now go to a doctor for, but also for relationships, taboos, domestic violence and smaller, but no less interesting things such as food choices, and religious beliefs. She leads us through the life of the first girl born to a family of mainly men in a very long time, and takes us from her being a young girl to her being a married woman and beyond.
Before you discount the book, and what is in it, you must remember that Ami McKay is writing from a different perspective, a different time era. She masterfully created characters that you can remember well after the last time you opened the book, from the neurotic aunt, to the loving mother, to the doctor who nobody likes (after a spell). She has used authentic props, authentic settings, and a wide variety of emotions throughout the novel, which are tangible from the first page to the very end, where, if you're keeping an open mind and not considering it a women's lib book, you wish it wasn't ending. You root for more than just the main character, you can revel in folklore and the idea that once upon a time, life was actually like this, and in retrospect, no matter how hard it seemed then, it would be fairly idyllic now - Ami McKay paints a lush period piece filled with description, design and emotion while keeping all of her characters witty, intelligent and believable.
I would recommend this to absolutely anybody I know....more
The moment I started reading this book, I wanted to put it down. I dislike being overly harsh without giving the novel a chance, but I could not finisThe moment I started reading this book, I wanted to put it down. I dislike being overly harsh without giving the novel a chance, but I could not finish this book in its entirety. I tried, I did. I gave it a good go, but I ended up skimming my way through its convoluted chapters, with way too much unneeded description and dialogue, and was pleased when I finally closed the covers for good. The conversation is strained, and weak, and trying too hard to be 'real', the situational events are rushed, jumbled and also trying far too hard, and I was utterly disappointed in the overall read.
It is very rare that I do not finish a book that I pick up, but in this case, it will probably sit on my shelf until I have a yard sale and I am able to sell it off for a dime. ...more
**spoiler alert** Judy Blume again astounded me with a more mature, adult novel.
This time, it is set mainly around one complex and interesting charac**spoiler alert** Judy Blume again astounded me with a more mature, adult novel.
This time, it is set mainly around one complex and interesting character named Victoria Leonard (Vix) and Caitlin Somers, her best friend and the reason for her later problems in life. It focuses heavily on the adolescent period where the two spent most of their time together, and unfolds to introduce compelling, fabulous and mesmerizing characters which you wouldn't expect.
The story starts with a phone call from Caitlin to Victoria, stating that she would be marrying Vix's first love, Bru. Vix becomes sick with the news, and flashes back to time spent with Caitlin growing up through summers spent at Caitlin's fathers house. It is very in depth, including heavy sexual imagery (specifically lesbianism), and tackles hard subjects like divorce, infidelity, same sex exploration and various other topics which Blume has covered in the way only she can.
From the sixth grade to Harvard, and onward in to adult life, Blume covers Vix and Caitlin beautifully. You can relate to each and every person she introduces to the story, and by the end, I know I was wishing the novel wasn't over.
**spoiler alert** When I first picked up 'Wifey', I wasn't quite expecting what I got. Having grown up on Judy Blume in a more adolescent setting, a m**spoiler alert** When I first picked up 'Wifey', I wasn't quite expecting what I got. Having grown up on Judy Blume in a more adolescent setting, a mature and poignant read was the last thing on my mind. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Wifey didn't give me that. It gave me something else entirely.
Sandy Pressman is married to a complete and utter jackass. Right off the bat, a surreal incident (though tame now, remember then it was not) with a flasher on a lawn sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Now, it doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but I'm sure for Mrs.Pressman, it was a cornerstone in her character development. She reacted nonchalantly, almost pleased, which was a surprise - but as the story unwinds, her disgruntled and unsatisfied existence is brought to the foreground, and you can almost understand why she would wait for the flasher to come back.
Norman Pressman is a well described, interesting male lead. I disliked him intensely from the get go, Judy Blume was able to create a strong emotional response from me, and he doesn't really get better as things go along. He's oppressive, conceited, forceful and slightly OCD, which, combined, makes him easy to picture. He treats his children, his wife, and his dog in similar fashion, and his aversion to sexual intercourse is almost Freudian.
Judy Blume writes with sardonic wit, elegant description and handles every (at the time) controversial matter she brings up with stark clarity. For those who dislike the book, perhaps you need to remember that it is set in a different time era - Blume's depiction of it is impeccable.
Sandy's choices throughout, from her early disgruntled attitude to the consequent cheating on her husband, and acquiring a sexually transmitted virus, are all brought to the forefront in vivid and imaginative detail, by the end of the book you can honestly feel a connection to Mrs.Pressman. She thinks, acts, and IS a real flesh and blood woman, not a made up cartoon character. She is believable, compassionate and complex.
I would read this book again. In fact, I've already read it multiple times. ...more
My husband received this book for Christmas a few years ago, and to be totally honest, it took me a LONG time to finish it. I was committed to readingMy husband received this book for Christmas a few years ago, and to be totally honest, it took me a LONG time to finish it. I was committed to reading it to the end, because when I pick a book up I try very hard to get through the whole thing. When it came to Cell, it was one of the worst literary experiences I have ever had. I think I may have enjoyed slogging through a swamp infested with prehistoric beasts more than I enjoyed this book. The premise is The Stand, except this time, instead of a virus it is a cell phone. I should have known right from the get go that it wouldn't live up to previous Stephan King novels. Despite my best efforts to enjoy this book, because Stephan King has been a mainstay in my literary diet since I was ten years old when I first picked up 'Christine', I could not. Mr.King's style is all his own here, which is the only redeeming quality of this book. At least he is consistent with his writing. If I had something nice to say, it would be that. Giving up while you're ahead is a motto that should apply to his recent novels. Good try, but this just didn't cut it, Mr.King....more
When I first picked up Winter Garden (which was actually a gift from my husband, deemed by the nice cashier at the Chapters he bought it at as 'SomethWhen I first picked up Winter Garden (which was actually a gift from my husband, deemed by the nice cashier at the Chapters he bought it at as 'Something that will make your wife cry') I was skeptical. Normally, I enjoy my over-sized paper backs as much as the next person, but something about the premise smacked of cliche, to me. Two adult sisters with Mother issues, trying to lead their lives without thinking about it; I figured I knew the ending right off the bat. Most of these books are all the same, right? I was very wrong. Kristin Hannah managed to weave a tale within a tale, effortlessly bringing to light two separate lifestyles, and three separate women, and the lives they lead. It explained in haunting and beautiful description about love, loss, and determination. How hard it is to let go, and how hard it is to come back after losing everything. The story didn't drag, it had enough twists to be interesting, and the characters were well formed. By the end of the book, I realized that I could relate to the main characters, but I could also sympathize with the ones in the background, who weren't overshadowed by Kirstin's intense and descriptive style. At times lugubrious, the entire story dips and weaves and eventually comes to a resolute and satisfying ending; my only regret was that I was correct on how it finishes when I made my assumption of the book. Overall, save for the obvious ending, this was a fabulous read which I would recommend to anybody willing....more