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 really liked this book. Mostly, I loved Caitlin’s voice, a child’s voice, an adult who remembers childhood looking back. She’s great. She’s what makI really liked this book. Mostly, I loved Caitlin’s voice, a child’s voice, an adult who remembers childhood looking back. She’s great. She’s what makes the book special. I think the writing is beautiful, and that’s also Caitlin’s voice. I found many quotable quotes. I think the story is told with a lot of creativity. The sense of immediacy was brilliant; I did feel as though I was right there with these people. Even though I was rooting for Caitlin, I was able to feel empathy for all the characters, even as I got very angry at some of them. Powerfully told story!
I identified so, so much, even though virtually all Caitlin’s biographical details differ from my own. I was almost completely sucked in and greatly emotionally affected. It wasn’t an easy read for me, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.
The included pictures are wonderful. I couldn’t tell if they were paintings or photos but I thought they perfectly complemented the story, and added more to the atmosphere than words alone could do.
Gritty, grim, funny, mostly sad, mostly realistic, though the way the story unfolded did irk me and did keep me from giving it a possible 5 stars or at least 4 ½ stars.
Re the ending and events leading up to the ending:
(view spoiler)[ I’m tired of stories where there are fairy tale elements re ease of people getting out of extremely difficult situations, and having a bit too happy endings, even if not entirely happy endings. The resolution here didn’t seem impossible or unheard of, but it definitely wasn’t typical for these characters. I’ve had this complaint about other books too: I appreciate when characters who have grave challenges don’t necessarily have things get better, at least not so easily. What happens here didn’t take away that much from my enjoyment of the book though.
The continuum of the storyline did make sense. I’ve read others say there was a huge switch but I don’t think there was. The house and money changes were all that bothered me, not most of the other behaviors of the characters; those I could and somewhat did anticipate.
Also, I guessed the identity of the old man almost immediately, and that was okay with me. The trauma breeding trauma and repeating seemed spot on to me. Much of how the characters respond I thought was done very well. Even in the spoiler I don’t want to give too many details. The expression of sexuality didn’t seem that far out to me either, as I think it did to some. (hide spoiler)]
I notice many people have this shelved as young adult, but my library has this shelved in the adult books section, and I agree with my library. Despite the age of the main character, I think that this is a novel written for adults, though I do think it would be fine for many readers 12+.
I do recommend this to adults and children who like child characters, people who long for more family, people who’ve had trauma, young people who are GLBT, and people who like dark and quirky coming of age stories. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to young people who are living in poverty or below middle class, or foster kids or those kids with no or little family. I thought I might when I was reading but I changed my mind.
I wanted to know more of what would happen and what had already happened that the reader was not told, but I’m also fine with some vagueness and using my own imagination about Caitlin’s adult life. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...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 read this for my real world book club January meeting. I’m really glad that a fellow member suggested it. It had been on my to read shelf but so areI read this for my real world book club January meeting. I’m really glad that a fellow member suggested it. It had been on my to read shelf but so are thousands of other books that can languish there forever.
This is my kind of book: speculative fiction but with our real world and real people and a plausible story. Pandemic disease is also of interest to me, as are post-apocalyptic books, especially ones that spend a lot of time focusing on day-to-day life, as this one does.
Overall, I think this is a brilliantly told story. It’s very clever. I loved the various storylines and timelines and how they connected with one another, and they did so nearly perfectly. It’s one of those books I’d like to reread and know from the start everyone’s story and what happens to them. I was very grateful for all the flashbacks. My favorite portions tended to be the events that happened right after and right before the collapse, and then I also loved the ending.
I was fascinated by almost all the characters and appreciated that there were always many I could root for, and even the ones I couldn’t, I could feel some empathy for them.
I guessed fairly early on who the prophet was but really had no idea what would happen until it was revealed.
I understand why Shakespeare’s are the plays appealing to (some of) the survivors, and the music too, as they were overall pre-technology so therefore also post technology. I also got a kick out of how a sort of religion/cult could arise from basically nothing, but it made sense. I’m glad that those parts were a relatively small part of the story. At first I thought the wonderful premise for the story didn’t need the extra dramatic plot points, but then it became clear that every character and sub-story were there for a reason.
I think that this is a really thought provoking book and will be good for our book club discussion. It made me think about what matters most, what I could and could tolerate, how I’d fare should these events come to pass and I was one of the survivors. There are many sad parts, some tragic, but I found the book to be so absorbing and not really depressing. There is definitely hope in this story.
One of my pet peeves: What’s with books that have many pages missing page numbers, especially with no pattern as to which pages have numbers and which don’t?!...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.)