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 ha...moreOne 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.) (less)
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 my...moreJodi 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. (less)
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 year...moreHow 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. (less)
*Phew!* I think the title is longer than the book!!!
I already talked about this in my challenge review, but not one of my favorites. It had its moment...more*Phew!* I think the title is longer than the book!!!
I already talked about this in my challenge review, but not one of my favorites. It had its moments, but it was just as well that I read it, finished it, and put it away. The book is Laurie's life with the names changed to protect the innocent.
If you love her stuff, you'll probably love this book. I think my sister did--she seemed kinda pissed after reading my review, so I dropped the subject. Try it for yourself, you might like it! The writing was fine, and I guess it was funny, but I don't like it when books and authors try too hard.
To me, this is like Laurie picking you up by the collar, getting right in your face, shaking you, and screaming, "It's funny damnit! Laugh!"
The Dogs of Babel is a NY Times Notable book and won a number of awards when it came out. It tells the tale of Paul, a professor whose wife plummets t...moreThe Dogs of Babel is a NY Times Notable book and won a number of awards when it came out. It tells the tale of Paul, a professor whose wife plummets to her death from a tree in the backyard. The sole witness to this event is their dog, Lorelei, and Paul in his grief becomes convinced that if he can only teach Lorelei to speak, he will learn the truth about Lexy's death (was it an accident? suicide? murder?).
The book was absolutely gripping and while the description may sound a bit silly, I started to think about what I would do if the person who gave me my life back and taught me to live again suddenly died and I was desperate to find out why and how. I really felt Paul's anguish and as I learned more and more about the eclectic and mercurial Lexi, I too wanted to know what happened and why. (less)
A shadowy arm of the US Government decides that the best way to ensure Middle East peace is to liberate the women of the kingdom of Matar, the most en...moreA shadowy arm of the US Government decides that the best way to ensure Middle East peace is to liberate the women of the kingdom of Matar, the most enlightened of the Middle East states, particularly in comparison with its neighbor, Wasabia. They enlist disgruntled State Department employee Florence Farfaletti and ask her to launch an Arab TV station catering directly to women. Allowed to pick her own crack team to launch the station, Florence enlists the help of a CIA assassin, a snappy PR man (one of the minions from Thank you for Smoking), and a bureaucratic friend who happens to be gay. The four embark on their mission with the aid of the Sheika Leila, who gets "permission" from her husband to launch the station, which he finds an attractive proposition as he can spend more time with his harem and less with his wife.
This was one great book. It started out quite hilarious and become a bit more serious towards the end as the fatwa against the staff of the station heated up and people's lives are in danger. However, it was a wildly enjoyable read and I highly recommend it. It kind of makes you wonder, "Would that really work?" (less)
A winner of the Pen Hemingway Award, Housekeeping is the story of Ruthie and Lillian, two girls left orphaned when their mother drives herself off a c...moreA winner of the Pen Hemingway Award, Housekeeping is the story of Ruthie and Lillian, two girls left orphaned when their mother drives herself off a cliff and into a river. They move in with their grandmother, who promptly dies and leaves the girls to the care of their two aunts, who are so anxious and nervous that they call upon the girls' mother's sister. Sylvie comes into town and immediately the girls lives are transformed. Not necessarily for the better. Eventually Lillian leaves and goes to live with a teacher and Ruthie becomes a younger picture of her eccentric aunt.
Housekeeping is one of the two best books I read this month. It was written like poetry, and the pages seemed to flow into one another like the river that plays so prominent a role in the entire book. Lillian and Ruthie's lives are disrupted by the deaths of the women close to them, and turned on their heads by this strange woman who has strange ideas about everything. For instance, when the town suffers through a flood, rather than go to a shelter or escape the waters rapidly rising through their home, Sylvie simply moves the girls to the second floor of the home and they live there until the floodwaters subside. Sylvie then begins to collect tin cans, and doesn't seem to mind that the girls are skipping school on a daily basis, even when the sheriff arrives. Eventually, Sylvie decides to leave town, and Ruth goes with her, leaving her sister, about whom she writes my favorite line in reading, "Having a sister is like a warm window in the dark."
I absolutely loved this book, go read it. Now. (less)
This is Parkhurst's second novel, and if she keeps it up, she's well on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved this book, I loved it...moreThis is Parkhurst's second novel, and if she keeps it up, she's well on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved this book, I loved it as much as if not a teensy bit more than The Dogs of Babel, and I loved dreaming of visiting all the places she mentioned in her book. I loved the characters, the writing, the locales. Everything about it was great. Even when it was dancing its way towards a happy ending and everything was sugary goodness, I didn't have any problem with that. Sometimes you just need things to resolve themselves positively. Hell, that's why I read! (less)