Ugh - what a terrible book. I recently joined a book group that reads books devoted to parenting issues. The leader of the group thought that this booUgh - what a terrible book. I recently joined a book group that reads books devoted to parenting issues. The leader of the group thought that this book would be a great place to start because it is short and it is supposed to be funny. Well, she at least got the short part right. Other than that, this book is nothing but a self-indulgent, inconsistent, disastrous mess.
First, the author is so proud over how she buys her kids nothing, takes them nowhere and devotes no time to their education. Hey, she says, kids have too many things, which makes them unappreciative. Hey, she says, I am not a shuttle service and kids don't need to be kept busy with scheduled activities. Hey, she says, I don't care where my kids go to school, or if they can read by 12, they'll figure it out. Leave the kids alone and let them find their way. Am I exaggerating here? No. Does the author have some valid points? Sure. My issue is that she takes a common sense notion and then presents an extreme position of how she would handle it.
For example, the author says that if you see your kid standing on the seat of her tricycle, let her go. If she falls on her head, so be it. That'll teach her and she'll learn not to do it again. However, don't let your kid run into traffic, because that would be crazy and irresponsible of you as a parent. Maybe it's me but I have difficulty distinguishing between these scenarios. I would feel compelled to protect my child in both situations, whereas the author is able to sit back in the first instance and act in the second. To me, either scenario can end up a child landing head first into the pavement, so I am struggling to see the difference between the two.
Another example is letting your kid show up for her school picture with a haircut that the kid gave herself over the weekend. The author advises to make sure that your child doesn't see you laughing at her and to not doing anything to fix it. Let her go and take her school photo, looking like a poodle. Yes, she said "looking like a poodle". That'll teach your kid to cut her hair. I'll note that there is no mention of how a 5 year had scissors sharp enough for cutting hair in the first place, but then again, using adult scissors near the eye, ear and head area is different from running in traffic. A kid needs to learn that the world is dangerous.
There are two more points that I want to mention to further dissuade anyone from reading this book. One is that get this - the slacker mom, who is all chill and not worried about much as it relates to her children, freaks out and hits her kids from time to time to keep them under control. In one scene, she describes yelling and swinging wildly at her kids in the backseat while she is driving. She also states how she would advocate spanking, but you know, "some parents can take these things too far." The author then further states that after awhile she just needed to threaten to hit her children, because they understand that there are consequences to their actions.
There is this whole "I need to be me and have a career" discussion that I will skip over as nothing but further self-rationalization of the author not being present for her children, which I could go on and on about, but I've said enough already and I want to mention one more thing about the book.
The last chapter is a diatribe against parenting books and websites, which is the biggest hypocrisy of all in which the author engages. Muffy, just because you give a book a title that has "Confessions" in it, doesn't make it less of a parenting advice book than the others that you despise so much. At this point, I had to pour myself a scotch to numb the pain that I felt when trying to finish this book last night.
All in all, I live in a judgment free parenting zone unless there is a safety issue. What works for me may not work for you and that's ok. There's no one sure path when it comes to parenting, because kids are unique and react differently to various parenting styles. Much of parenting is rooted in our own familial values that influence how we want to handle things with our children. Education is incredibly important to me, and it is something that I focus on very much with my child. For other parents, it might be art or music, or sports, or farming or fishing. As long as our children are healthy, happy and SAFE, there is no one size fits all solution, and we should support each other as parents and give each other the benefit of the doubt that we are trying to do what we think is best for our kids. After reading this book, however, I am having trouble putting Muffy in this category.
I would not recommend this book to anyone to read - SKIP IT....more
Horrific anti-manifest destiny story about a group of cold-hearted killers. The violence is so over the top in this book that it even extends to animaHorrific anti-manifest destiny story about a group of cold-hearted killers. The violence is so over the top in this book that it even extends to animals and children. Throw in some rape, ladies and gentlemen, and you have yourself a depiction of the wild west circa 1850.
I have a rule of thumb that I will finish a book in order to be able to give my opinion about it. This was one of the few times in my life that I wish that I did not have such a rule, because after reading this book, I literally felt sick to my stomach. The images in the book are horrific, and I understand that they are there to make a point about how America's expansion into the West was not the romantic image that some people may have of it. I just felt that this book went way over board in making the depiction to the point where it became shock literature.
I read No Country for Old Men by McCarthy, which was also incredibly violent, but at least there was a point to it and some type of story to provide context to the violence. Moreover, McCarthy clearly believes that man is by his nature violent to the point where he enjoys it, and even lives for it. Again, I believe that McCarthy has a point here, but sometimes a little subtlety goes a longer way than writing page after page of the horrible things that men (and I do mean, men) do to each other.
Unfortunately, this horrible reading experience has turned me off of McCarthy for awhile. It will be a long time before I read another book by him....more
This book was awful. I'm so angry that I spent 8 hours or so listening to this crap. I really enjoyed , and even though, was not getting very goodThis book was awful. I'm so angry that I spent 8 hours or so listening to this crap. I really enjoyed , and even though, was not getting very good reviews, I figured that I would check it out on audio - BAD MOVE!!!
First, the reader, hoping to learn about the next phase of Gilbert's life instead is given the history of marriage, lessons in marriage from different cultures, and what various experts have to say about the state of marriage, such as which marraiges last the longest, etc. I didn't want to read a treatise on marriage, but there it was, and as a lover of non-fiction and all things data-driven, Gilbert failed to present the information in either an interesting or meaningful way. In my opinion, the information was all useless, drivel to the point where even Gilbert is unable to apply any of it to her situation. Instead, she critiques it at times, arguing about how the data doesn't apply to her and Felipe. So then what the point of all of this information about which no one, including the author, cares?
Then, after 3/4 of the book is spent on that mess, Gilbert gets back to her relationship with Felipe and her thoughts on marrying him. You're not going to believe this, but I was actually yearning for the marriage treatise part of the book to come back, because I couldn't take this part of the book. Gilbert must be the Jennifer Aniston of writers, because she overthinks everything to the point where it all became simply ridiculous. For example, after traveling for 6 months with Felipe, she makes the big sacrifice by settling down in one place so that he can relax. But Gilbert can't sit around drinking beer and reading a novel poolside - nooooooooooooo - she has to go to Cambodia. And so we hear on-and-on about how important it was for Gilbert to travel to Cambodia, for the sake of herself and her marriage. Then, when she goes to Cambodia, she doesn't even have a good time! But, as Gilbert will remind you, it wasn't whether she had fun or not, it's the fact that she took the big step of going, because she would likely have to travel somewhere else by herself in the future, because that's how she rolls.
Also, why does this woman have to insert quotes constantly into her personal story? Was this book a memoir or a grad school dissertation?
I like listening to memoirs on audio, because oftentimes, the author reads his or her own work. One great example is Anthony Bourdain who read , which made listening to that book fabulous. Listening to Gilbert tell this story was very interesting, because I thought perhaps she wouldn't come off as whiny and self-centered as many of my GR friends who have read this book have described her. Absolutely not - in fact, having Gilbert read this book proved the foregoing opinions of her more so because it took away the reader's ability to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Overall, a very lame follow-up to what was an interesting and thoughtful first memoir. I would not recommend this book to anyone. I'm sure that Julia Roberts would even declining reprising her role as Gilbert if they make Committed into a movie.
Warning - A Few Spoilers Here and Some Quotes from the Book that May Offend You as Much as They Had Offended Me
Oy, what a mess this one was. What starWarning - A Few Spoilers Here and Some Quotes from the Book that May Offend You as Much as They Had Offended Me
Oy, what a mess this one was. What started out as an interesting premise of the tale of Sleeping Beauty and one woman's experience with the Holocaust quickly went downhill until spiraled out of control.
First, I don't think that Yolen knew whether to slant the book toward younger adults or mid- to older teens. What begins with a younger "did not, did too" tone then becomes peppered with foul language and creepy sexual comments.
Second, instead of sticking with a theme of tolerance, which would have worked here, she then begins to run amuck with what sounded to me like a gay slur. Then, she added phrases like "uterus like a teacup", "I don't have sex with women", and one character's comment that he had sex with his lover for the first time that included thrusting that was so rough that he was left bruised, thereby making him think to tell his lover to "be more gentle next time". Uh - gross! Not because the sex involved two males, that didn't bother me a bit, but Yolen took what was to be first love type story and turned into something rough and creepy. How this novel turned from a tale of a Holocaust survivor into a gay man's love story is beyond me.
Then, the worst quote of them all was "I'm a fag. I'm not gay, because there is nothing to be gay about." And then she uses that phrase too many times so that even if there was a message to it, it becomes devoid of any meaning.
At the end, the big secret is revealed and then one of characters asked whether the person who told of what happened was telling the truth - really? Then, Yolen has the characters discuss whether they should believe this person. Was she trying to tell the reader that maybe the tale of survivor's fate during the Holocaust might be construed as fairy tale? Is that the big Sleeping Beauty tie-in? Who knows and who cares. With the lack of respect that Yolen's treats her characters, she doesn't deserve having the reader give any second thought to this book.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone unless she wants to test her sensitivities....more
**spoiler alert** PROBABLY NOT SPOILERS, BUT SOME MAY CONSIDER SOME OF THESE THOUGHTS AS SPOILERS SO I'M POINTING IT OUT HERE AND LABELING IT AS SUCH
O**spoiler alert** PROBABLY NOT SPOILERS, BUT SOME MAY CONSIDER SOME OF THESE THOUGHTS AS SPOILERS SO I'M POINTING IT OUT HERE AND LABELING IT AS SUCH
Oy - what a mess this one was. I went from enjoying it, to being on the fence about it, to despising it. Like many other people who've read Niffenger's The Time Traveler's Wife and loved it, this one really disappoints. It's all over the place, making it appear that AF had no clue what the whole point of the book was. Although she tries to tie it up in the end, none of it worked for me.
The whole soul, ghost, out of body experience theme of the book was ridiculous. I'm completely open-minded when it comes to this topic, and I have to say, that there is no way in heck that I could buy into the latter stages of it. It's like AF just kept going farther and farther out there, to the point, where I had to question where her head was at when she wrote this one. No doubt she's brilliant, but her genius seems to have been overtaken but her lack of common sense, logic and realism. I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of a story, but this one was just too much.
Also, the characters started out as pretty interesting, but by the end, I was so annoyed with all of them, that I could care less about what happened to them. The only things that kept me from tossing the audio CDs in the trash were: (a) I borrowed them from the library; and (2) I felt badly for the reader, because she did a fantastic job, with her wonderful accents and uncanny ability to emit the emotions of the characters through audio.
It's funny, because when this book first came out, I recall Entertainment Weekly giving it a C-. I think that the reviewer was too kind. This book deserves a big F.
You let me down, Audrey. You really let me down....more
What a disappointment! After absolutely loving the first book of this trilogy, about halfway through this one, I became so angry. I actually met the aWhat a disappointment! After absolutely loving the first book of this trilogy, about halfway through this one, I became so angry. I actually met the author while she was working on this book, and I really liked this semi-autobiograhical story of her life. But this book is so over the top, and I find the story to be self-indulgent, unbelievable and at points, completely ridiculous.
My book club is reading this next month, and I curious to see how the others liked this second Europa novel. The majority of the group really liked the first one, as well....more
I know that many readers love this book. I thought that it was awful. I didn't like Owen Meany, whom I found to be very annoying. My friend, a hugh JoI know that many readers love this book. I thought that it was awful. I didn't like Owen Meany, whom I found to be very annoying. My friend, a hugh John Irving fan, bought me the book convinced that I would become a fan. However, I had read Irving before, didn't like him, and this book didn't change my mind. ...more
I'm a big fan of historical fiction, but this book is over the top. There are so many better books out there about Henry VIII, his wives, and of coursI'm a big fan of historical fiction, but this book is over the top. There are so many better books out there about Henry VIII, his wives, and of course, wife number two, Ann Boleyn. Try Jean Plaidy, who remains much closer to historical accuracy than this author....more
This book sucks so bad. It's boring, and I could care less about the characters. It is rare that I don't finish a book, but I just couldn't get througThis book sucks so bad. It's boring, and I could care less about the characters. It is rare that I don't finish a book, but I just couldn't get through this one....more
This book is horrible. I didn't find it funny at all. The family that the author lives with is slovenly and twisted, which I'm sure did not help his wThis book is horrible. I didn't find it funny at all. The family that the author lives with is slovenly and twisted, which I'm sure did not help his well-being. I will never read another book by this author....more
I really enjoyed the part about the family and the emigration to America. However, the hemophrodite part just fell flat with me. I found that I plod tI really enjoyed the part about the family and the emigration to America. However, the hemophrodite part just fell flat with me. I found that I plod through the second half of the book, and although I find it difficult to really point out specific flaws in the story or the characters, it just didn't resonate with me....more
This book was so lame. No plot, no interesting information about the city, and a complete waste of time. The only good thing that it had going for itThis book was so lame. No plot, no interesting information about the city, and a complete waste of time. The only good thing that it had going for it was that it was short....more
A nasty piece of shlok. I'm have no problem with reading erotica, but this book was awful. It's as if Anne Rice wrote to shock and not actually make aA nasty piece of shlok. I'm have no problem with reading erotica, but this book was awful. It's as if Anne Rice wrote to shock and not actually make any sense out of the story....more
Wow, what a way for Picoult to take a great topic full of controversy and then end in such a weak way. I hate lazy writing! Picoult also took this appWow, what a way for Picoult to take a great topic full of controversy and then end in such a weak way. I hate lazy writing! Picoult also took this approach with The Pact, and except for Nineteen Minutes, where she semi-redeems herself as an author, I refuse to read anymore of her books. I feel so bad for the family's other kids in this book. The mother is a wretched character who basically uses her one kid to save another. Instead of cranking out one book a year, Picoult should focus on providing more satisfying outcomes for her readers. ...more