I love talking about the books I've loved but I hate to give too much away in the telling. Reviews matter to me, not just the writing of them but readI love talking about the books I've loved but I hate to give too much away in the telling. Reviews matter to me, not just the writing of them but reading them and sharing them and I am always grateful when a reviewer manages to tell me why she or he loved (or didn't love) a book without spoiling anything for me. I can tell you that just as Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet yanked on my heartstrings, so did Songs of Willow Frost. I can tell you that the prose is wonderfully unpretentious and yet deep and luminous, and that there are great lines that you just have to read twice or three times they are so meaningful. I can tell you there are surprises along the way to keep you turning pages and needing to know what is to become of the Chinese-American boy whose mother relinquished him to an orphanage years before and who suddenly sees her on a movie screen in a Seattle theater with a different name.
I can't say I loved it more than Hotel, or even as much, though I did love it. Perhaps it was Hotel's premise that resonated within me to a deeper degree. I admit I have a hard time summoning empathy for women who allow and then stay with men who abuse them. My deepest apologies if I offend anyone by saying that. I am not saying I can't summon the empathy, I am saying it is difficult for me. But this story, which moves back and forth between William's story and his mother's, is moving and compelling, even in those moments when I, had I been Willow, would have done something very different.
Songs of Willow Frost will tug and tear and tenderize. It's the kind of story that reminds you why stories exist....more
I fell in love with Lisa See's writing with Snowflower and the Secret Fan back when my book club read it in 2008. I've read every book she's writtenI fell in love with Lisa See's writing with Snowflower and the Secret Fan back when my book club read it in 2008. I've read every book she's written since then and loved them all (even Peony in Love, which is a desperately sad story and yet still the prose delighted me). I compare all her books to Snowflower and have never come as close to saying I loved any new book of hers as much as that one until now. China Dolls, hot off the press, was a fascinating read, set in a time period I am currently researching for my own writing, and one that stayed with me long after I turned the last page. I wish I could give it 4 1/2 stars on the GoodReads system.
The book is written in first person point-of-view with alternating narrators, which I happen to love for story construction. The voices of Ruby, Grace, and Helen are distinctive and believable. I admit I was taken aback at first by the storytelling skills of these women, and the less-than-lyrical quality of their narration. I like to be whisked away by a character's literary voice and these women had what I can only describe as ordinary voices. They aren't the Bronte sisters, however. They are showgirls and I would guess the voices Lisa See gave them to tell us their story had to be these. ...more
Just re-read A Wrinkle in Time for a high school where I volunteer as a writing workshop facilitator. I think the last time I read it was 1970 and I wJust re-read A Wrinkle in Time for a high school where I volunteer as a writing workshop facilitator. I think the last time I read it was 1970 and I was in fifth grade. Such a great book, for any age to read. Loved the bit about our lives being like sonnets. There is a certain form a sonnet must adhere to be in order to be a sonnet, but the poet gets decide what words to use. You are writing your own sonnet. Make it beautiful! If it's been since grade school that you've read AWIT, give it another read. It's amazing how timeless the truths inside are....more
Parts of this book were so stunningly vivid and compelling I could barely breathe, other parts seemed superfluous, too detailed, and rambling, and yetParts of this book were so stunningly vivid and compelling I could barely breathe, other parts seemed superfluous, too detailed, and rambling, and yet perhaps it was these secondary parts that made the parts I loved so intense. This book is the slowest-paced novel I've ever read that I found impossible to put down. The last few chapters had me in tears and I re-read several paragraphs over and over, they were so amazingly constructed. In fair warning, I must say the language took away some of the literary brilliance of the prose. I cannot handle multiple uses of the f-word, even if it fits the character's persona -- it seems lazy to me. But it didn't ruin the book for me, it just got old. That probably says more about me than it does this amazingly talented writer. Best line is probably this one: “Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it? And isn’t the whole point of things—beautiful things—that they connect you to some larger beauty?” ...more
I love dual time period tales. There's a lot to like about this novel and the two story threads that end up merging together. A very nice and surprisiI love dual time period tales. There's a lot to like about this novel and the two story threads that end up merging together. A very nice and surprising twist was waiting at the end and which I didn't see coming. ...more