Really difficult book to rate. I thought it was very well written, capturing the reader's attention and using characters and sub-characters to weave t...moreReally difficult book to rate. I thought it was very well written, capturing the reader's attention and using characters and sub-characters to weave the plot. For that reason I've rated it 4 stars but the subject matter - the recollections of a prisoner, imprisoned because of his 'interest' in young girls - wasn't the easiest subject matter to rate and left me in quite a quandary. In the end I have opted to say I really liked the book because of the way it was written and because of the way the author weaved the different stories and because she was dealt with a difficult subject matter, well.(less)
Took me an age to read as I'm trying to manage my reading around a 4 month old :) Found it enjoyable enough although I think only being able to read i...moreTook me an age to read as I'm trying to manage my reading around a 4 month old :) Found it enjoyable enough although I think only being able to read it in parts kind of broke the momentum needed for the story to be more enjoyable for me.(less)
this short story took me about half an hour to read but I was completely riveted by it. it is the account of one woman's battle with PND and her battl...morethis short story took me about half an hour to read but I was completely riveted by it. it is the account of one woman's battle with PND and her battle with her well meaning but completely misunderstanding doctor husband. it was a very raw story and considering it was written in 1892 felt quite modern and up to date.(less)
This fictional account of a woman's experience of post-natal depression was an interesting read, although perhaps not as heart-wrenching as I expected...moreThis fictional account of a woman's experience of post-natal depression was an interesting read, although perhaps not as heart-wrenching as I expected it to be. Set in Liverpool (and covering areas I know well from my time at university there) this was the story of a single mother coming to terms with becoming a mother, over a period of 3 months or so. At times it was hard reading, especially as I'm due to have my first baby in a month, but the story was still worth reading. (less)
This dark tale of a child who murdered another child, and the effect it had on the family of the solicitor representing the case was interesting but I...moreThis dark tale of a child who murdered another child, and the effect it had on the family of the solicitor representing the case was interesting but I felt something was lacking, hence the lowish rating. Without doubt it made me question "Are people inherently evil" and the extent to which experiences and conditioning are instead very relevant (I believe they are) and perhaps I was interested in exploring that more than the novel did.
The author had read on the subject of child who kill other children, particularly the cases of two notorious crimes which happened in the UK, and I could see how some of the details, which were made public at the trials, were weaved into the story. In terms of narration the solicitor and his wife were given voices to show the effect the investigation was having on their family life. This I thought was a quite clever way of showing different perspectives.(less)
This is the first novel I had read by Alice Hoffman and judging by the blurbs for her other books it will probably be the only one. I'm not too keen o...moreThis is the first novel I had read by Alice Hoffman and judging by the blurbs for her other books it will probably be the only one. I'm not too keen on books based on fantasy and magical happenings.
This book was enjoyable enough. Plotting the story of a perfect husband who's past catches up with him and proves he isn't quite as perfect after all. Due to the crime he committed his young son goes off the rails and doesn't want to know and his wife is disgusted, especially after meeting the victim's family. The book was a bit too soap opera-ey for me, bit to far fetched. The characters were interesting enough but haven't stayed with me after reading the book. (less)
Have been reading a variety of books recently on the topic of motherhood, pregnancy, families with children etc. I was made aware of this book after r...moreHave been reading a variety of books recently on the topic of motherhood, pregnancy, families with children etc. I was made aware of this book after reading We Need to Talk About Kevin - it was listed on Amazon as a similar book and the subject matter seemed an interesting, if slightly disturbing, take on child rearing.
In one respect it is similar to "Kevin" in that it is a psychological thriller (perhaps thriller is too strong a description) about motherhood/parenthood and the raising of children, but it is quite different as the child is the innocent party and the parents the (definitely) guilty party. I won't be giving anything away when I say that this is a story (not true, although the author is a psychiatrist with experience in these matters) of child neglect and infanticide, and whilst not graphic and explicit, is an unpleasant reading matter for most individuals. What sold it to me (and intrigued me) is that it is also a "love-story" of the two parents who are so in love with each other that their child means so little.
Despite the gruesome subject matter I actually enjoyed this read, and what I enjoyed most about it was the way it was written. The author has chosen to write the story from the perspective of different adults who were in some way connected to the parents who neglected their child. So we have the next door neighbour, work colleagues, the policeman who discovered the child's body as the initial story tellers. The story then proceeds onto the court case (this isn't a dull "lawyer said this", "lawyer said that" legal drama though) so we hear the perspective of barristers, jurors and eventual prison guards. Altogether these stories build together the before, during and after of the child neglect and infanticide. There is a "twist" at the end but to be honest I saw it coming. I could envision what the result would be and how the book would end. (less)
I'd have given this book 3.5 stars if I could. I liked it but didn't really love it, but saying that the story was compelling and I read it in a relat...moreI'd have given this book 3.5 stars if I could. I liked it but didn't really love it, but saying that the story was compelling and I read it in a relatively short space of time and would read other books by the author.
The story flits between the present and the past. Laura is a 30 something living a middle-class life in suburban England. She takes her young kids to French classes, does yoga and lunch with her friends, and chats about shoes, home decor and other concerns of stay at home yummy-mummies.
But Laura has a past and this becomes increasingly apparent when an old 'friend' of the family makes contact with Laura to explain that her daughter has had a mental breakdown and she needs Laura's help to release her from hospital. Now Laura never liked this girl at school, in fact she was central to the bullying of this girl. But somehow - maybe because of guilt - she embroils herself in getting this girl released from mental health care. This causes Laura to question the importance she attached to various aspects of her middle-class life, with the consequence being that she becomes the one ostracised.
The ending is very much left in the air, which I wasn't sure whether I liked or not. I'd call this book "chick-lit" but it had substance and wasn't a fluffy read. It certainly got me thinking. (less)
I saw the Sam Mendes film of Revolutionary Road some time before I read this book. I really liked the film - ok the subject was a little dark but I th...moreI saw the Sam Mendes film of Revolutionary Road some time before I read this book. I really liked the film - ok the subject was a little dark but I thought the cinematography really worked.
Knowing the outcome of the story didn't stop me reading the book. It was how I remembered at the end but I didn't remember all the different relationships and occurrences in the overall story so in that respect it was new territory for me.
I liked the style of writing - different from contemporary novels but it suits the historical period of the 1950s. Understanding 1950s US suburbia was also enlightening. (less)
Thriller about motherhood gone awry. This was a really quick read. Like other reviewers I read it over the course of two evenings.
Story centres on th...moreThriller about motherhood gone awry. This was a really quick read. Like other reviewers I read it over the course of two evenings.
Story centres on the unnamed narrator who is experiencing difficulties with the upbringing of her two small children - the girl is under two, the boy a few months old.
She had a close relationship with her husband before the birth of her children but seemed to feel left out from his affections where him and the daughter were concerned. She also had a successful career pre-motherhood and this, and the challenges of raising children, means she takes a certain action which has certain consequences. She doesn't appear to regret her course of action (except the possibility she might get caught) and it appears to send her into more of a spiral of thinking she can change her circumstances. Not giving too much away I do wonder what happened to the other characters at the end of the novel. I like the ending and the references to herself being the never-ending loop, reliant only on herself.
I liked this book - it challenges the reader about the very difficult topic of infanticide. I did wonder if the woman had PND or whether it was a deeper psychological problem.(less)
If I were able to give this 5 stars plus I would. It was wow, wow, wow for me.
I don't suppose I really ever had any intention of reading this book whe...moreIf I were able to give this 5 stars plus I would. It was wow, wow, wow for me.
I don't suppose I really ever had any intention of reading this book when it was first published. Sort of passed me by and I forgot about it and didn't really know or care about the subject matter. Then last year the film was released and I thought wow. Fab film. Dark, powerful subject matter, psychological, and it appealed on a number of levels.
I decided to ask for the book for Christmas after reading reviews on GR and Amazon. Many were saying how good so I thought it worth a read. I decided I'd finally read it a week or so ago when I was searching for something to take my mind of work I need to do. I was gripped instantly. The other appeal was probably the blurb which described the novel as motherhood gone awry. Reading the first few chapters where Eva decides whether or not motherhood is something she wants to embark on really hit a chord. I'm 12 weeks and I too have been through all the anguish of whether I am cut out to be a mother.
I like the format of the novel - written in letters to her husband. I like how reflective it is - on both what Kevin has done, on their relationship, on Kevin now. The book is certainly more detailed that the film - according to an article in the back, to have filmed the entire book would have resulted in a 10 hour film. Yes the subject matter is very dark but I think the way Shriver deals with issues such as Eva's identity as a non-American in America is fascinating, as is how motherhood and families changes a couple's life.
I'd definitely recommend reading the book and watching the film. (less)