Gosh, this book deserves a major publisher, and I really hope that it gets much wider distribution, and many more readers. This would be an excellent...moreGosh, this book deserves a major publisher, and I really hope that it gets much wider distribution, and many more readers. This would be an excellent book club book. I could see my book club having an interesting discussion about it. We’ve had a tendency to select books that take place in different cultures and different time periods so this novel would fit right in.
I’m the exact age of the two girls/women main characters and much of the 60s-70s material was familiar to me, including almost all of the pop culture and also the lie about the severity of the illness of a parent. I do think I especially enjoyed it partially because I was the exact same age as the 2 girlfriends, but I think readers of all ages will be able to identify with the relationship and the story. The friendship resonated and felt real when they were in high school and college. I was surprised by one omission of confiding in one by the other later on in their lives though. I thought I’d be disappointed that the coming of age material flew by so quickly but I was just as riveted by their lives as adults.
From reading the author’s bio I’d figured much (but not one important fact made clear early on) that this novel was at least somewhat autobiographical, and actually at end in her notes the author explains that this novel started out as a non-fiction book. I think it retains its authentic feel.
One incredibly creative and fascinating thing is that this book is structured like a piece of music. Instead of Prologue and Part 1, Part 2, etc, with chapters, it’s Preludes, and First Measure, Second Measure, through Fifth Measure, with each measure having 3 parts, or chapters/sections. An explanation in the end notes (which I read well before finishing the book) is that it’s very loosely based on a type of Arabic song/nouba. Anyway, I was charmed by the arrangement.
At one point about halfway through the story the main character Lorraine states that she dislikes books that have up in the air endings so I was afraid this book would leave way too much up in the air, but it did not. Obviously, people’s lives were going to go on past when the novel stopped but I thought just the right amount about people’s lives was resolved and revealed. The reader is warned at the very beginning of one very important thing that will happen but that did not at all distract me from the story as it evolved. I was completely engaged as I was reading.
I did go nuts at the decision one character made toward the end, completely bonkers actually, but all the characters and their lives felt so real and my reaction is a testament to the power of the story and the connection I felt to the characters, so I guess I’ll get over it. Someday. Maybe. I guess I hope she’ll eventually change her mind but I kind of doubt it. Oh well.
This book is about a marriage between an interfaith/intercultural couple, and other such couples, and relationships in general between people of different backgrounds (religions, cultures, countries, languages) so might be of particular interest to readers in these situations, but given our world today that includes so many people, and this story and its characters have universal appeal in my opinion.
The author may (or may not) have made one small error. It’s obvious she knows much about the Moslem religion and about Christianity/Catholicism, but she mentions one thing that pertains to Judaism at one point, talking about special foods for Yom Kippur, which is actually a day of fasting. Now, she could be talking about the break fast at the end of Yom Kippur, as she also did with the many days of fasting and breaking the fast for Ramadan, but she talked about special foods. Anyway, I talked to two of my friends who grew up in very observant Jewish homes and neither could come up with traditional foods for the break fast of Yom Kippur. Maybe that was just their families. For me it would be first water then just about everything I’d normally enjoy. But that’s a very small quibble, especially since sampling 3 people (including myself) is not a scientific inquiry and perhaps in some Jewish families/traditions there are special Yom Kippur break fast foods.
Anyway, this was a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if Goodreads ever allows member to assign half stars I’m likely to bump it up to 4 ½. (less)
I am so glad that this book is available for children, particularly for children who have had a parent die within the year. My mother died when I was...moreI am so glad that this book is available for children, particularly for children who have had a parent die within the year. My mother died when I was older than these girls but books such as this would have been very helpful.
This is the story of 2 sisters (whose mother has died since Chanukah the previous year) and their father at Chanukah time when one of the traditions is to make latkes (potato pancakes.) The account is both honest and hopeful, and shows great warmth and humor within the family, even as they’re grieving. It’s also a worthy Chanukah themed story. I really enjoyed the illustrations too. It’s a truly lovely book. (less)
While not quite as brilliantly wonderful as the first book, it’s still quite enjoyable to spend time with these people, and it grew on me more & m...moreWhile not quite as brilliantly wonderful as the first book, it’s still quite enjoyable to spend time with these people, and it grew on me more & more; by the end it felt like a solid 4 star book. For awhile I vacillated between 3, 3 ½ or 4 stars, but it ended up a full 4 stars for me.
Terry Gordon and her activism (against the bomb) (and smoking and social drinking) reminded me a bit of my mother. (In the early 60s at a family cabin camp we were told to collect and turn in material that I guess could be used to make nuclear weapons: my mother collected as much as she saw and didn’t turn in any of it.)
The events that unfold happen several years before my time/nearly a decade before I have many memories, but certain things brought back my own memories of my youth, particularly some of the pop culture and some of the foods.
Smoking not just in the house with kids, but smoking and (light) drinking while pregnant, and no problem. Ah, the overrated 40s, and 50s too. (My mother also smoked during her pregnancy, and while I was young we had ashtrays all over the house, by then for company as my mother gave up smoking in about 1955.)
Oh, the man who discovered Pluto (as a planet!) is mentioned. That brought up feelings as I still mourn the loss of Pluto’s status.
I wish the section and chapter titles had been listed in the front of the book, for second, third, etc. perusals.
I love how things feel so real, including how not everything is wrapped up in a neat little package at the end. Some things are resolved but much is left hanging, and that made it feel like real life, and for me made the story more enjoyable.
This book is a very worthy sequel, as it turns out. The story also could also work fine as a standalone book but I highly, highly recommend reading the first book, The Green Glass Sea, before reading this one.(less)
Well, there’s not much poetic about this book. It starts off as though it will be a storybook but quickly changes into a non-fiction text type book; t...moreWell, there’s not much poetic about this book. It starts off as though it will be a storybook but quickly changes into a non-fiction text type book; the way it all fit together seemed a bit incongruous to me. It’s based on true stories and contains valuable information for children about respecting diversity and the evils of intolerance. The book is about the long history of immigration into the United States by many different peoples and how they sometimes have had difficulty being fully accepted. I was gratified to see brief mention (too short) about the Native Americans who lived and continue to live in the U.S. and farther along the story mentions made of the Iroquois Confederation. The text does not flow smoothly throughout the book. I’m not sure if the book tried to do too much or communicated too little. I do recommend it though for its message and the information given about U.S. being a land of immigrants and for the story that starts off the book. I enjoyed the illustrations and appreciated how their tone changed to fit each page of text.(less)