When I sit in front of the screen and don't know what to write, that is usually a three star book.
Look, I am glad I read it. I certainly did learn abWhen I sit in front of the screen and don't know what to write, that is usually a three star book.
Look, I am glad I read it. I certainly did learn about Winston Churchill. Not only him but also everyone in his family, that is to say grandparents, parents, kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and the spouses of all these. You have to also add on the grandparents and parents and kids of the spouses. We are talking a lot of people. Also friends, enemies, work associates. Well-known authors, journalists, presidents.... LOTS of people. It is kind of hard to keep track of everybody. We are talking about upper-class, high echelon figures, royalty and aristocrats. Maybe a few of all those named could have been pared down?
The book not only looks at these people’s personalities, their respective weaknesses and strengths, but also delivers a condensed history of all that Churchill did in his lifetime. He was of course prime minister during WW2, but also again in 1951. His aim was to make a mark on history, and he certainly did! There is a lot of history in the book, and this isn't really indicated in the title. But tell me, how do you write about Churchill and not talk history? It was kind of dry sometimes and a bit long-winded. I thought the language used could have been less convoluted, quite simply more clearly stated. In books like this I prefer clarity over elegance.
I think I understand who Churchill was on completing this book, not just what he did. It was fascinating to see the twisted relationships that developed within the family. Three of his four surviving children had difficult, troubled, unsuccessful lives. Alcohol, gambling, suicide, depression, illegitimate love affairs abound. His youngest daughter, the happy successful one, Mary Soames, I read about here: A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill's Youngest Child, but it is written by her so Pearson's book offers another point of view. It is not possible to know for sure the cause of the problems that arose, but you do get a pretty good idea.
The narration by John Lee, was clear, but too fast. Churchill was an aristocrat through and through, and Lee makes him sound even more uppity. I guess it fits the text, but I did not like it. There is a peculiar lilt to how he reads the lines; this got on my nerves. ...more
On and off my Mom and I had a difficult relationship. What daughter doesn’t?! For this reason I was curious to read about the author's relationship wiOn and off my Mom and I had a difficult relationship. What daughter doesn’t?! For this reason I was curious to read about the author's relationship with her mother. This is the central theme of the book. Then I read that there was a bit of a controversy when the author stated that parts were fictional. This surprised me. The author is a fellow at Radcliffe, so I figured the book ought to be well written....
Could I spot what could have been fiction rather than fact? To this I can only respond that I often found myself asking, "How in the world did the author remember that?!"
Then there is the question of whether I liked the writing. For me the language was half of the time clever rather than clear. Too academic, too intellectual, too philosophical. If you know what you want to say, I prefer it be said as simply and clearly as possible.
In my view the author all too often saw the source of a problem as being sexual. This just didn’t occur to me! I found other explanations.
In the book I felt there were many opinionated statements about others - the author's neighbors, friends, boyfriends and her mother. While Vivian Gornick may be a fellow at Radcliffe, I haven't read that she has a degree in psychology! I cannot say that her stated conclusions are wrong, but I often came up with other feasible explanations!
Rather than empathy or understanding I all too often felt I was listening to an argument where I could not judge the validity of the statements being made.
The audiobook narration by Jill Fox was clear, but nothing special. When dramatic statements occurred she did get it right.
I am glad the book was short and am happy that at Audible you can return those audiobooks you dislike. I will be returning mine. ...more