I loved this book, with a caveat I mention below. It reminds me of books I read in late middle school, but a quite a bit heavier than what I got backI loved this book, with a caveat I mention below. It reminds me of books I read in late middle school, but a quite a bit heavier than what I got back then, and I appreciate the newer books (even one this old) for that reason. I wish that it had been published a dozen years earlier because I'd have loved it back when I was 10-12. If I was on a normal reading schedule, this is a book I could read in a day or two, and I think it would have been more satisfying to read it through in a sitting or two.
That said, the ending, the way it was done, made me long for this book to be a more in depth for adults book. Funny because I love kids’ books so much I don’t often feel that way. If I was 9-12 or 13, the target age, the entire book likely would have satisfied me. The subject matter was covered very well, but I wanted more. I’d like to read a for adults novel about these characters/situation.
The characters and the settings were done so well. Very evocative for me, of my childhood and books I read back then, even though the books I read and my personal experiences were wildly different than the characters and subject matter in this book.
The people were done well, especially the kids, but the adults too, and many were likeable, and those who weren’t were still understandable. I like the slight mystery element, and appreciated that it’s solved fairly early on.
Even though I am not buying books and should be spending zero dollars on books, I bought this and one other. I have to try to use some of my alternative libraries. More and more, my public library doesn’t have the books I want to read. That’s frustrating. Still, I cannot buy books any longer. I might make exceptions for some vegan books (to support the authors and the ethical stance) and possibly some other reference books as well, but not many and nothing else that I can think of offhand. I’m glad I read this though.
I can recommend it to both/all genders ages 9-13, particularly kids who are interested in history, and/or in children who’ve had trauma, in bullying and fitting in with peers in the middle school and upper elementary years, and friendship stories. ...more
I really admire Jane Addams. For a semester in college (in-between majoring in English literature and psychology) I took classes in sociology and studI really admire Jane Addams. For a semester in college (in-between majoring in English literature and psychology) I took classes in sociology and studied her in depth. I either learned more from this book, or more likely relearned some of what I learned back then. She was a remarkable woman.
This is an excellent picture book, the picture book portion book fine as a read aloud picture book for 4 to 8 year olds, and the last portion, with photos and much more text, appropriate for independent readers (and also reading aloud) for 8 to 12 year olds.
I enjoyed the illustrations. They really enhanced the text, and I love the style and use of color, and for me the photographs added even more to the account.
This book gives just right amount of information in each section, and left me wanting to read more.
I recommend this book particularly for 8 to 11 year olds, especially those interested in social justice, history, women’s rights, strong women, and anyone who enjoys reading about how one person/a small group of people can make a big difference....more
I really liked this book. The premise is wonderful and I quickly got hooked on the story, and given what a struggle I’ve had in recent months4 ½ stars
I really liked this book. The premise is wonderful and I quickly got hooked on the story, and given what a struggle I’ve had in recent months finding books I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in, that says quite a lot.
I got very invested in the characters, caring about so many. The writing is very good, the pacing is excellent, and there is a lot of suspense, and several twists, all enjoyable and well done.
I loved the chapter titles but I wish the chapters had also been numbered. I did appreciate that most of the chapters were short, making it easy to read entire chapters during the short breaks I had over the week, although I found it hard to put down the book when I had something else I needed to do.
This is the first book in a planned young adult trilogy and in general I’m tired of trilogies and yearn for standalone books. One thing I did very much appreciate about this book though is that it’s one of the best endings of the first book of a trilogy I’ve read. At the end I got more answers than questions, even though I knew a lot more to the story is coming. I was left wanting to read more but I didn’t feel tortured by the typically written cliffhanger. Book one felt sufficiently complete so that I was left satisfied by the story thus far. I wish more authors of trilogies would write their stories like this!
For a young adult book I was also pleased that at least so far the seemingly obligatory love triangle was avoided, though for a while I thought that was what was coming. I was pleasantly surprised by how the love interest part of the story was handled. By the way, so far the romantic components are PG rated. The violence is a bit less tame but still not overly upsetting.
I think this book would be great for discussion, especially as it pertains to some of the moral quandaries the characters face, and also the society as a whole.
I sometimes guessed what would happen next, but I found that enjoyable, just as I do when reading mysteries, and I was surprised just as often, and that was a lot of fun.
Some random notes: a vegan character is mentioned (I got a kick out of that given that I’m a vegan), as is a horse I found interesting, and I loved the cat character.
I know about author’s daughter so I can guess why some of the characters were named what they were. The characters’ names are original yet very believable.
Occasionally the author used all caps for words and short phrases and I sometimes got why that was done, but I found most were not needed. As a reader I was able to read for myself what was being emphasized, without the caps.
I enjoyed the author’s earlier two children’s books. They showed a tremendous amount of creativity, they were great fun to read, and I hope they get wider readership because of this book, but they were amateurish compared to this book, which is a cut above! I would have really enjoyed those first two books at 7-10 years old and, even more than as an adult, would have delighted in the adventures and fun details, so I’d still recommend them. However, this young adult book/series deserves a professional publisher, as it’s equal to or better than many similar books published traditionally. It’s excellent.
I can recommend this for age 11 or 12 and all the way up, possibly younger if the kids are really interested. This is a good book for readers who like speculative fiction, dystopian stories, older kids and teens who face special challenges, readers who like thoughtful adventure books, coming of age stories, books about friendship and (unusual) families, and futuristic earth stories, and stories that are both escapist fun and thought provoking. This book is fine for independent readers, but also for reading aloud, including group reads with families and school classes.
Full disclosure: The author is a Goodreads/online friend of mine and she gave me the book as a gift, hoping (but not requiring) that I would read it and honestly review it. I am grateful for the opportunity to read it and really loved reading it in advance of official publication....more
I finished 2 books in one day, VERY different types of books. This one first.
I read this as a buddy read with my GR friend Laura K. and we managed toI finished 2 books in one day, VERY different types of books. This one first.
I read this as a buddy read with my GR friend Laura K. and we managed to stay very much in sync and I enjoyed reading it together.
I think this is a great book, with all questions finally answered, some not until toward the end for me, some earlier, all of them with hints along the way.
I’m giving it 4 vs. 5 stars because the story within the story within the story and even the story within the story could have been limited to many fewer pages and still been effective, and the book would have been more pleasurable for me to read. While this speculative fiction story being told and the story in the book within the book gave many clues to what happened to these characters, and did hold my attention for that reason, they were much less interesting to read than Iris narrating her present and past life, and the lives of people in her life. I trudged through The Blind Assassin chapters, even though as the book went on I saw more and more of what information they were providing. I looked forward to reading the Iris parts, both present and past.
I’d had the book on my speculative fiction shelf but I took it off when I realized the only speculative fiction part was a story being told by real people in the real world as a story within a story within a story, the first two stories being historical fiction with a tinge of mystery. I consider this a historical fiction book. It’s also a mystery in that it kept me in an always-guessing frame of mind.
There were so many quotes that I loved – if I’d selected all of them to like, they’d have taken up much more space than any review – I’m not sure why I “liked” the ones I did and not others; time and convenience and whether or not I was near the computer vs. the phone or neither is the most likely common reason.
I had to look up the definition of probably a dozen words used, a rare occurrence for me when reading a book.
Atwood writes beautifully. I love Iris as an old woman. She’s wickedly funny, brilliantly witty. Atwood did a marvelous job creating her character. I can’t believe how her characters seemed so believable, particularly Iris.
The entire story is Dickensian tragedy AND amusing!
Overall, this is a very sad story, and the reader is warned about this from the very start. Death, death, death, trauma, loss. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Atwood does an amazingly good job describing the experiences of children who’ve lost a parent while young.
There were many twists in this story, many things to keep me guessing, and I got a kick out of guessing. I was actually right about a couple main things, but some I didn’t at all guess until the reveal. I think the entire book was skillfully crafted. The construction was full of detail but with no information wasted as far as I could tell.
There were some, I think, lovely pro animal rights parts, though they were overall done very subtly.
She evokes time and place and emotions so well. It’s a gift.
I’m still trying to figure out if Laura was high functioning autistic, just very sensitive, or simply a woman ahead of her time and situation. I’d think the latter but it’s unusual for adults to tell an older sibling to always take care of the younger, especially from such a young age. Whatever her state of mental health, to me she’s a main heroine here, along with Iris, eventually, and when compared to everyone around her, Laura struck me as the most sane.
All the way through what most interested me was how and why and when Iris would finally find her voice and know her own mind and also when she’d start sticking up for herself. I like the unreliable narrator aspect to the book, even though here it was done in a different way than in most stories.
I was always guessing who/what blind assassin in the main story is. I came to the conclusion that it was Iris. With Laura, maybe with Richard, though not in the way I was rooting for.
I felt a lot of gratification that Iris outlived Winifred. Winifred and particularly Richard are villains truly worth loathing. I was also very angry at Iris’s and Laura’s father, even knowing the times and cultural differences.
I felt so happy that Sabrina would read Iris’s account. What a legacy to leave! I still wish that earlier in the story, Iris had reached out directly to Sabrina. She had chances. Actually, there are so many regrets for the characters in this book. I think that’s what makes it particularly sad. There were other options for them.
I love the description of how to determine intelligent life on earth, the only part I loved of the story within the story, working on a story: “It’s about a race of extraterrestrials who send a spaceship to explore Earth. They’re composed of crystals in a high state of organization, and they attempt to establish communications with those Earth beings they’ve assumed are like themselves: eyeglasses, windowpanes, Venetian paperweights, wine goblets, diamond rings. In this they fail. They send back a report to their homeland: This planet contains many interesting relics of a once-flourishing but now-defunct civilization, which must have been of a superior order. We cannot tell what catastrophe has caused all intelligent life to become extinct. The planet currently harbours only a variety of viscous green filigree and a large number of eccentrically shaped globules of semi-liquid mud, which are tumbled hither and thither by the erratic currents of the light, transparent fluid that covers the planet’s surface. The shrill squeaks and resonant groans produced by these must be ascribed to frictional vibration, and should not be mistaken for speech.” Too funny! I need to give all of Atwood’s books a chance.
I don’t think my review is doing the book justice, and I’m afraid my review won’t even help potential readers decide whether or not this book is for them, something I generally aim to do, but I see that there are nearly 5,000 reviews already posted at Goodreads, and many others elsewhere, so I don’t feel any great responsibility to do so. I’m really glad I read the book. I’m also glad I read it with a friend because, especially at the beginning, The Blind Assassin chapters might have turned me off from continuing to read. I love speculative fiction stories but not bad ones, and this is not a great one. The main part of the book is excellent though.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Nifty little book that got me inspired to get out my colored pencils, but while some might find the instruction helpful I can’t say it had practical uNifty little book that got me inspired to get out my colored pencils, but while some might find the instruction helpful I can’t say it had practical use for me. I think I just can’t learn art this way, and perhaps it’s just that I didn’t put any concentrated effort in trying. What’s lovely about the book is the art; I loved a lot of it. For artists or people who want to dabble in many artistic media, I think there are some good ideas and helpful tips. I did make note of the art apps mentioned and I have started to check them out. Fun book! It’s a friendly size for carrying around, which I did. I was hoping for more pure colored pencils (only one example where that was the only technique used) and watercolors. For people who want to play with a bunch of kinds of art, especially in each art piece, this is a really good book for ideas and inspiration.
I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads friend Diane D. We didn’t expect to be able to at all stay in sync this time, but we did very we4 ½ stars
I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads friend Diane D. We didn’t expect to be able to at all stay in sync this time, but we did very well, at least as well as we usually do, starting and finishing on the same day, and never getting that far apart from each other, chatting as we read, using chapter and page numbers for any spoilers, and it’s always more fun to be able to do this when doing a buddy read.
I’m so glad that I read this book.
The writing is lovely.
I enjoyed guessing who the 1990s woman was, but at some point I just wanted to know. Overall, most of the time, I guessed correctly, except for one small detail the reader isn’t given until late in the book, and one other detail I somehow missed that wouldn’t have helped me figure it out anyway, but as I read I vacillated with my guessing.
It felt like a big, sweeping, epic of a story. There were so many instances of heartbreak, and of suspense. I was going to single out a character or two, but there were so many characters I grew to care about deeply, to like, some to hate. I appreciated that most of the main characters were very multi-dimensional, and well drawn, and changed over time, and were therefore completely believable. There were so many quotes that hit home.
War is bad, very, very bad, and WWII in places and situations under Nazi occupation were described with sharp intensity. I felt as though I was there throughout most of the situations.
The author thanked the author of Sarah’s Key for helping her with accuracy of depicting France during WWII, and she seemed to do her research.
I love what my friend Chrissie said in her review “Such events did happen, but all in one family? It was like a checklist had to be followed.” I still laugh every time I think of what she wrote. Chrissie didn’t like the book, and she compellingly expresses herself, saying many wise things. Yet, I still disagree. I got caught up in the characters and events, and I think the story is believable. (I’m thinking of one thing toward the very end that might have been a bit too convenient, but I do believe that truth is often stranger than fiction (to paraphrase the famous saying) and for me nothing described was too unbelievable.
I do have a problem with one choice a major character makes at the end, and I wish she (and the author?) had decided differently.
I think these people and their stories will stick with me for a long time. I grew to love the two sisters, the characters at the heart of the novel, but many other characters are just as memorable. I want to say so much about them, but I’d have to use too many spoiler tags.
Overall, this was a very satisfying book, one I found hard to put down, and I know I found it even more enjoyable because I was reading it with a friend.
ETA: I did get very emotionally invested. Did I not mention that?!...more
I finished 2 books in one day – VERY different types of books. This one I finished after the other, and it was a lovely way to end my reading day.
I hiI finished 2 books in one day – VERY different types of books. This one I finished after the other, and it was a lovely way to end my reading day.
I highly recommend this book to all vegans, to all families, and especially to people who have companion animals or relate to others’ animals, who live in areas with any kinds of wildlife, including urban dwellers, those who enjoy and appreciate nature, gardeners, and those who love crafts. In other words, I recommend this to many of my real world and online friends. I think this book would make a great gift for most people and most families.
I was thrilled to get an autographed copy (even though unfortunately I wasn’t able to get to any of her local events) even though I usually don’t care about autographs. I do like autographed books though, especially since in recent years I’ve relied mostly on the library and have purchased very few books.
I’ve been “in love” with Jon Stewart for years. Now I’m also “in love” with his wife & kids, the whole family. They’re a wonderful family and I believe other families will appreciate getting to know them and getting ideas from Tracey about activities in which they can participate.
This book is gorgeously illustrated. The pictures perfectly complement and enhance the text portions. They’re integral to the book.
The book is divided into 3 sections: Animals at Home, Backyard Wildlife, and Falling in Love in the Farm. The edges of the pages paper are color-coded: Animals at Home (pale pink), Backyard Wildlife (pale blue), and Falling in Love on the Farm (pale yellow), and also lavender for the Acknowledgements, Resources, and Index.
Teens and adults will be interested in Tracey’s autobiographical parts. I loved the humorous parts and was interested in her experiences and the various changes that she made in her life. All ages, including young children, will be interested in the heftier sections about animals, especially kids old enough to read and to help with the crafts ideas and the ways to help animals suggestions. So many great tips are given about how to properly relate to and help various types of animals, and if I could have a garden I’d be making thorough use of the suggestions provided. If I ever get to meet a horse I now know better how to approach and get to know one, and while I already knew a fair amount about relating with dogs and cats I still found the included information about them helpful.
Tracey is vegan and now Jon is mostly vegetarian. (I hope he goes vegan and is vocal about it.) The reader isn’t really told about the kids and what they consume. I appreciated how the author shares so much about her family, but while still careful about their privacy and not revealing more about them than I think they’d want or is appropriate. She talks mostly about herself and the animals.
This is not exactly a “vegan book” in the strict sense of the word. However, with all the descriptions of animal species and individuals within each species, including animals typically used for food and other things by humans, I hope the “message” gets across to those not yet vegan. The message, such as it is, is relatively subtle, in a way, but that makes this book appropriate for all audiences, and I think that is a huge positive. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and educational book.
My only two quibbles: 1. It’s farmed animal not farm animal, or should be, and 2. Gene Bauer co-founded Farm Sanctuary; he wasn’t the sole founder, but I know that these two details, particularly the latter, are of little interest to those who have not already very involved for a long time in the vegan movement....more
I tried, and failed, 6 times to win this book. I ended up borrowing it from the library and, as is true of previous books in their series and many othI tried, and failed, 6 times to win this book. I ended up borrowing it from the library and, as is true of previous books in their series and many other book, I had to wait quite a while after publication date for it to be ready for pick up.
I’m fervently hoping I make it and will be able to read Y and Z – not as crucial as making it and being able to read the entire Harry Potter series, but it’s still important to me. I’ve heard 6 more years until Z is expected.
X was a particularly good book in the series. I enjoyed its 3 or 4 concurrent plot lines.
There was just the right amount of feeling at home with the characters and pure enjoyment in the story and suspense, though for me it wasn’t the best book to read before bed. Thought I love this alphabet series they’re not exactly cozy mysteries.
I appreciate how the book in this series can sometimes be really different from one another, but the recurring characters never deviate from how they should be, taking into account their presence in many of the books.
I continue to really enjoy Kinsey, and as usual love Henry (the only landlord I’ve ever even liked) and luckily Henry does have a large role in this book. Still, it wasn’t enough Henry for me, and I’m hoping he’ll take center stage (along with Kinsey) in the last 2 books, especially the last one.
In some ways, this book was a tad darker than some of the others in the series, but it also had plenty of humor, and plenty of everyday type events.
I do really like Ed the cat, and thoroughly enjoyed the 1980s drought described in the book given the current drought California is in.
I was basically satisfied with how all the sub-plots were resolved.
I do get tired of people acting stupid in mystery novels; here, I think it was done not so much to further the story as to create suspense. I’m happy just being in the company of the characters and place and I don’t need the extra suspense.
One minor quibble: In an earlier book I didn’t like her previous take on homelessness and the homeless that much, and here she didn’t do thorough enough research on psychology (there is no PhD in Marriage & Family therapy; MFT’s are Masters level – psychologists PhD level, and the situation in question did go with that, but even the fact that she brought it up. Then again, Kinsey doesn’t have any kind of degree in psychology, so many it was Kinsey that didn’t know her stuff, not the author.
As with most series, I highly recommend reading X after reading A through W. The characters grow and change and reading in order and not skipping books allows the reader to fully savor the arc of the entire story, A-Z. (It’s one reason I struggled reading the short stories in the short story book Kinsey and Me: The old Kinsey is in them, and I like keeping up with the present and future Kinsey & Co.)
For me, this went from a possible 4 star book to a 3 and finally to a 2, and if it hadn’t had so much that was good, it could have ended with only 1 sFor me, this went from a possible 4 star book to a 3 and finally to a 2, and if it hadn’t had so much that was good, it could have ended with only 1 star.
I have to say as the account went on, I got very weary of humans, not for the first time.
I do love the 3 narrative voices. For the most part I could tell who was narrating by what they said, but they didn’t have voices significantly distinctive from each other. That was okay though.
I was shocked but satisfied with the violence/talk of the violence. Even though this is a novel I didn’t doubt the veracity of the type and level of violence among these people during this time. I do love that neither the whites nor Natives are idolized or vilified, at least not outright by the author.
When I was about 12 I was given a book as a gift, A Woman of the People by Benjamin Capps, and it was billed as not showing the Native Americans as either too good or too bad, and it did a fabulous job, especially for the 1960s. Here I wish everyone had been shown just a bit better than they were.
I love the idea of the Orenda, even though I don’t subscribe to any group’s spiritual beliefs. I love the one with nature idea though. But while it was mentioned early on, I was expecting to hear more of it, hoping it would be better used to tie in everything together.
I did like the chapter titles but would have appreciated chapter numbers as well, even though most of the chapters were very short.
I came to think of this as basically a war story, heavy on the actual violence, and that’s not typically my kind of book, even though I have liked many.
Everything was very brutal. For quite a while, at the beginning, I enjoyed how that was broken up by lots of humor Particularly amusing were the misunderstandings among the Natives and especially between Natives and Europeans, but for me it stopped being funny and became simply tragic.
I didn’t end up surprised by anything that happened, not really, and that was okay.
From start to finish, I was inspired to research these tribes and how they lived, including seeing pictures of what their homes objects, clothing and decorations looked like. I do find the subject fascinating.
The story ended up dragging for me, badly dragging though, and between that and the violence described in such intimate detail, I ended up not really enjoying my reading experience.
I’ve read that this author’s first two books are significantly better than this one, and the writing here is excellent, so I’m not giving up on this author.
I don’t feel like spending any more time with this book, including thinking about it, so I’m not spending a lot of time writing this review.
ETA: Reputable publisher and already published author, and my library copy had its pages upside down from the way they should have been placed into the cover. Very weird!...more
I saw the exhibit at the museum and I’ve been working my way through the book since then, first a friend’s copy and then a copy from the library.
My faI saw the exhibit at the museum and I’ve been working my way through the book since then, first a friend’s copy and then a copy from the library.
My favorite piece, early in the exhibit and in the book, is an abstract painting, in black and white and red (blood?) with the caption: “Everybody knows where meat comes from It comes from the store.”
That’s the brilliance of this art, the social commentary. A lot of it was done during the AIDS crisis in NYC, so a lot of the art is about that.
As far as the art: too many penis depictions for my taste, but otherwise great fun. It has a lot of whimsy and themes of social justice. The art shines in the context of what the artist was trying to communicate, particularly his street art. Lots also re religion, war, racism, technology, capitalism, and modern times.
True political art. I admire it.
For me? Art as beauty? Some of it, yes, some of it fun, some of it likeable in context. Important work? Yes!
The art exhibit also has a biographical film which was excellent.
This was a very engaging and entertaining book. The content is terrifying and depressing and enraging. The humor really helps. I had a hard time puttiThis was a very engaging and entertaining book. The content is terrifying and depressing and enraging. The humor really helps. I had a hard time putting it down and an easy time reading it. If I hadn’t been concurrently reading a novel, I’d have finished it in one or two days. It’s thought provoking and I hope it might be a contributing catalyst for some social and political, and personal, change.
I’m grateful that even though she is writing about poverty in general, she is clear that she is speaking for her situation and acknowledges than 1/3 the United States population is not a homogeneous group, that there are significant differences in circumstances among the poor.
I wish that 40% through the book I hadn’t looked up the author, and seen the buzz about her, and her blog, and this book. I was able to just keep reading. What the author says seems authentic to me, and it’s clear that her circumstances changed several times, most notably when at one point she got family help to upgrade her living circumstances and again when she got the deal for this book. She’s writing about her experiences over time and I have no reason to question her.
I’ve always thought I didn’t have the courage to live in dire poverty, and this book validated that for me. Even before her book deal, the author had a good education and was smart and wrote well, and she had a husband and children and family of origin and friends who sometimes gave financial help.
I wish somebody older and less healthy and without any family, and on an even much lower income would write a book and relate their experiences, perhaps a group of people with varying experiences. It might be even more depressing but even more helpful.
I do hope that this book is widely read and that as a result people living in poverty will be better treated by individuals, workplaces, organizations, and the government.
I started my buddy read novel when I was less than ½ way through this but I was also able to read and finish this book, reading concurrently, and get it back to the library well ahead of its due date. If I’d been reading just this book I’m sure I’d have read it in one or two days at the most....more