One of the girls in my book club said this was her favorite of Jodi Piccoult's books, and one day during my lunch break, I went to B&N and read haOne of the girls in my book club said this was her favorite of Jodi Piccoult's books, and one day during my lunch break, I went to B&N and read half of it. I was interested to see how it turned out, so last Friday, I went to Borders, grabbed a copy, finished it, and made use of their liberal return policy and brought it back. So yeah, it was not one of my favorites of hers (I think that title still belongs to Picture Perfect).
Until the phone calls came at three o'clock on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily is dead—shot with a gun her beloved and devoted Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.
****If you should buy this book from Amazon.com, please do not purchase it from the "P.S." edition page, which gives away the entire story in one fell swoop.****
The book was pretty good, although frankly I thought that the story was a wee bit far-fetched, but again, most of her endings are. Chris eventually stands accused of Emily's murder, and while Emily's mother withdraws, Emily's father takes Chris's side in the whole thing and begins an affair with Chris's mother. And that's not even the half of it. I have Keeping Faith on the shelf downstairs, but I suspect I might wind up taking a Piccoult break till after meeting her at the National Book Festival (anyone want to go?!). I get so aggravated every time the books end that I feel like a break is a good thing. Still, it was a page turner, I read the whole thing in 2 sittings, and while not my favorite, I do feel like it's a good piece of the body of her work. I don't regret reading it, but just won't read it again! Approach with caution, this turned into my least favorite of hers (a place which was previously held by Vanishing Acts.) ...more
Jodi Piccoult is one of my favorite writers and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book--so desperate in fact that I actually broke myJodi Piccoult is one of my favorite writers and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book--so desperate in fact that I actually broke my recent rule about only reading what I could get from Paperback Swap and had my sister pick me up a copy of it. Nineteen Minutes centers around the events in a small New Hampshire town when young Peter goes literally ballistic and shoots up his high school. Peter has endured years of abuse, beginning in kindergarten, at the hands of his peers and teachers, administrators, and his own parents have been unsympathetic about his torment. He goes to school, detonates a bomb, and in the ensuing panic, starts shooting.
The story follows two different families, that of Peter's and that of Josie's--Peter's sometimes friend and the daughter of a judge he may potentially face as part of his trial. Josie leaves Peter behind in grade school, becoming a queen bee, but she has her own personal demons behind being a popular kid and not feeling much like herself--or even knowing who she is if she's not Matt's girlfriend or the smart or pretty girl.
The story was un-put-down-able until the end, and then I thought the end was basically bullshit. (Pardon my Francais, gentle readers) There was a little twist at the end and I thought, "Huh, why the hell did she do that?!" which was also what I was thinking when I read another Piccoult classic, My Sister's Keeper. So I'm going to accept it as "what she does" and come away saying this was a darned good read. Fortunately not the tear jerker My Sister's Keeper was, but good nonetheless. ...more
How do you say no to Jodi Piccoult on a library book sale shelf for only $2? You don't. And I'm glad. For once, although this book was written 14 yearHow do you say no to Jodi Piccoult on a library book sale shelf for only $2? You don't. And I'm glad. For once, although this book was written 14 years ago, she gave up her trademark twist at the end of this engrossing tale. Cassie Barrett is a bookish anthropologist who catches the eye of Alex Rivers, hot shot Hollywood actor, on the set of a movie where she's been asked to act as technical advisor. All is not what it seems, however, and after Cassie and Alex are married in a quickie ceremony on set, Cassie discovers her new husband is an abusive drunk who cannot shake the skeletons of his past. The question becomes, does she leave or does she stay? And if she stays, will she survive his rages?
The book ended precisely as I would have liked it to end, perhaps even better, since Cassie didn't take it like a doormat at the end of the day. This has been my favorite Piccoult book thus far, which is funny since it's one I'd kind of looked over a couple of times while browsing the shelves. I've learned my lesson. ...more
The Year of Pleasures is the story of Betta, a writer of children's books, whose husband John suddenly dies of cancer and leaves Betta to live out theThe Year of Pleasures is the story of Betta, a writer of children's books, whose husband John suddenly dies of cancer and leaves Betta to live out their dreams to live in the middle of nowhere and start a new life. Betta is driving through a small town near Chicago when she finds a huge old house that speaks to her. She immediately sells her home in Boston's Beacon Hill and moves to the old house, where she is at loose ends to find some way to fill her life without the man she loves. She reconnects with old friends with whom she lost contact after her marriage, and eventually rebuilds her life without her husband.
Well, I'm real sorry my MIL didn't like this book, but by the end, I was bawling my eyes out. This is common for me and Elizabeth Berg, so I'm not surprised, since I find all her books really moving. I guess as I become "more and more married" I think more and more about my relationship with my husband and how empty my days would be, despite the frustrations we have with each other, if he was to disappear. I'll probably avoid any more widow books for a while, but this was one great book! ...more
In The Art of Mending, Laura Bartone is heading to her annual family reunion and looking forward to the fair and a fun and relaxed time with her childIn The Art of Mending, Laura Bartone is heading to her annual family reunion and looking forward to the fair and a fun and relaxed time with her children, parents, siblings, and husband. Upon her arrival, however, her black sheep sister Caroline makes some shocking allegations about their mother, and Laura must figure out how to deal with and come to terms with her sister's allegations. The matter is further complicated by a death in the family.
Berg is an amazing writer. She keeps you interested and entertained just long enough without dragging the stories out. One thing she did here that I found interesting was that she only told Caroline's stories about her mother's abuse in fits and starts, so until you read the entire book, you were never sure what the whole story truly was.
I could relate to Laura's reaction as the "big sister" to her younger sister's allegations, and when the truth of the matter emerges, to Laura's way of dealing with everything. Unlike Housekeeping, which I savored over the course of a week, I read this in one night. Couldn't put it down, and it jumpstarted my reading for the rest of the month. ...more
I absolutely love A. Manette Ansay, she is definitely one of my favorite writers. I adored Sister and Vinegar Hill and to a lesser extent I enjoyed MiI absolutely love A. Manette Ansay, she is definitely one of my favorite writers. I adored Sister and Vinegar Hill and to a lesser extent I enjoyed Midnight Champagne. I was unaware that she had written Blue Water, so I was excited when I ran across it unexpectedly on Amazon.com and even more thrilled when it was available on PaperbackSwap.com.
Blue Water is the tale of Meg and Rex Van Dorn, an ordinary couple living in an ordinary Wisconsin town. One day, Meg is driving their son Evan, age 6, to school and her car is rammed by Cindy Ann, her best friend from high school. Evan, Meg and Rex's miracle baby, is killed instantly. Cindy Ann and her three daughters walk away without a scratch. It is later shown that Cindy Ann was drunk at the time of the accident and has had a serious drinking problem due to abuse suffered as a child at the hands of her step father.
Unable to cope with the sight of Cindy Ann, and the fact that her own brother Toby is marrying Cindy Ann's sister, Meg decides to leave Wisconsin and she and her husband rent out their house and take up residence on a boat, sailing to escape the pain of their son's death. Rex and Meg can't agree upon what to do, whether they should launch a civil suit against Cindy Ann, who refuses to quit drinking and narrowly avoids jail time, or whether to let the whole thing drop, as Meg feels guilt over not helping her friend more during the years of torment in high school. Adding to the complicated feelings is Toby's impending wedding and his desire for his sister to be present and supportive of his new life.
This book was definitely very good, if perhaps a bit over-the-top with the complicated relationships. I found it a bit hard to swallow that Toby would completely ignore his sister's feelings and go ahead and marry a woman so close the source of his nephew's demise, and I didn't feel that Toby and Meg's brother-sister relationship, which was almost more of a father-daughter relationship, would have survived that. Meg wound up making the most sacrifices to ensure peace in the family and ultimately, I found it incomprehensible that she would wind up caring for the woman who killed her son. Still, I liked the book on the level of Midnight Champagne and was glad to have read it. ...more
Eleanor and Ted's marriage is pushed to a straining point when Eleanor finds out that Ted has been having an affair with his personal assistant Gina.Eleanor and Ted's marriage is pushed to a straining point when Eleanor finds out that Ted has been having an affair with his personal assistant Gina. The feelings between the characters are complicated. Eleanor and Ted have been struggling with infertility for years. Gina is a single mother whose son Toby has just come to live with her and who hates her guts. Although Ted breaks off his affair with Gina when Eleanor finally becomes pregnant, he can't turn his back on the boy, and when Eleanor miscarries and Ted is involved in a serious accident, things resolve themselves for the betterment of all involved.
I thought this was a really great chick lit type book. I felt for all the characters, even though they each had moments when they were wholly unlikeable. In spite of not usually being in favor of things ending the way they did in this book, I was happy with the way the story resolved itself, and I am now looking forward to reading my second Lolly Winston, Good Grief, which I have on my "to be read" pile. ...more
This is a young adult book about Meredith, a fifteen year old whose father is in prison for sexually abusing her and other children in the neighborhooThis is a young adult book about Meredith, a fifteen year old whose father is in prison for sexually abusing her and other children in the neighborhood. When her father is locked up, Meredith is promised that she has 9 years of safety coming to her, time to grow up and get out on her own. However, in their wisdom, the parole board decides to let her father out for good behavior after only three years and the book opens on the day he is to come home.
Meredith's mother is willfully oblivious to the damage this man has caused to her only daughter, as well as to Meredith's best friend Andy, who was also abused by him and who lives across their condo complex. Meredith's father returns home and makes her mother promises about starting fresh and having another baby while trying to pick up where he left off with Meredith.
The book takes place in a very short period of time, less than a week, as Meredith decides she has to do something about her father's lack of reform in prison. It is a quick read, I read it in a couple of hours.
Due to the subject matter, this was incredibly challenging to read, despite its brevity. I wanted to love Meredith, though it was difficult, which I thought was a beautiful part of Wiess's writing--most abused kids don't allow themselves to be loved. I was actually scared when her father returned to the condo, and I wanted to smack her mother silly. So the writing was definitely fantastic. A "cannot put down" book to be sure. Get a copy if you can and read it! ...more
Ann Patchett is probably best well known for having written Bel Canto which I am best known for not having read. But I was browsing in Borders one dayAnn Patchett is probably best well known for having written Bel Canto which I am best known for not having read. But I was browsing in Borders one day and happened upon Patron Saint and was finally moved to purchase a book after several months of not having bought any really. The story centers around St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers in Kentucky in the 1960's. One night, a woman named Rose enters the home, unwilling to share her secrets, stating that her husband has died and she will give her baby up for adoption. However, St. Elizabeth's is perched on the site of a dried up spring that produced miraculous healings, and when Rose's time to deliver approaches, she finds that she cannot go through with her plans to give away her baby and leave.
The book is peppered with a cast of interesting characters, including the nuns who run the home, Rose herself, Son the caretaker, and the other expectant mothers who come in and out of the home. It was a compelling read, not only to discover how Rose's past will rectify itself, but also how her years of story telling affect the life her daughter ultimately will lead. Rose is not, to me, a particularly sympathetic character, but I did find her compelling. The book ended a bit abruptly for my tastes, but definitely no neat happy ending on this one, which made up for the quilting book. I read this one at a more leisurely pace than some of the others, and I enjoyed it a lot. Solid chick lit, so if you're into that, give it a try. ...more