I was surprised at how much I liked this book. And here's why:
*Really well-written. Lee, the protagonist, is a middle-class girl from Indiana who atte...moreI was surprised at how much I liked this book. And here's why:
*Really well-written. Lee, the protagonist, is a middle-class girl from Indiana who attends a prep school in Massachusetts. That outsider perspective, which is both self-imposed and thrust upon her by her peers, is captured brilliantly. Lee is neither likable or horrible, and for that, I loved her. Her intuition and self-awareness are poignant and thought-provoking. I'm not one to dog-ear pages or highlight segments, but I wish I had with this book. Sittenfeld ended almost every segment with a sentence that just smacked me in the face. She didn't hide behind flowery language, and for that, I'm greatly appreciative.
*Great POV. Rather than taking place in the present-day, from a teenager's perspective, it's told by future Lee (in her late-twenties, I believe.) Which gives the author room to impart that face-smacking wisdom and wistfulness. There's melancholy in many passages, mostly related to Lee's best friend, and her high school crush; a melancholy given from a distance. Well done.
*Fast moving plot. A page turner without being a "mass market paperback." Again, because of the author's refusal to drown her book in language.
*Rich supporting characters--Martha, in particular, is fantastic. I also liked the complexity of Lee's relationships with her peers. The twist toward the end leans on this aspect, and it leaves the reader wondering if Lee could have had a very different life at Ault, had she made different choices.
Painful, awkward, frustrating, dramatic. What other words can describe the familial life? This is a great debut novel by Long, and captures both the b...morePainful, awkward, frustrating, dramatic. What other words can describe the familial life? This is a great debut novel by Long, and captures both the banality and complexity of a modern family. Leah is the eldest daughter, with infinite promise. Her father dreams of a full-ride to Harvard for his little girl, while Leah dreams of anything other than a pre-determined life. When she falls for the guy from "the wrong side of the tracks," everything else quickly unravels--including her relationship with her parents.
While this the family drama isn't a new conquest, Long captures the ranging emotions effortlessly. You, the reader, will want to wring everybody's neck at some point, except the little sister, Justine, the true "victim" of the book. I appreciate when an author makes the characters realistic, instead of idealistic, but you still manage to care about what happens to them.(less)
It's been awhile since I've written a review, so I'm going to be rusty. And brief.
I've read "And Then We Came to The End" a couple years ago. I was ba...moreIt's been awhile since I've written a review, so I'm going to be rusty. And brief.
I've read "And Then We Came to The End" a couple years ago. I was back and forth about the "we" point of view, but ultimately decided Ferris made it work. I was excited to read "The Unnamed," and see how Ferris did with a boring old third-person POV.
The book starts off so strong; great opening paragraph, beautiful descriptions. I get to know lawyer Tim, real-estate wife Jane, daughter Becka, and learn about Tim's strange affliction: he cannot stop walking.