Short, powerful, and told through the eyes of a little girl. When their campsite is under attack by a bear, the children have to make their way to saf...moreShort, powerful, and told through the eyes of a little girl. When their campsite is under attack by a bear, the children have to make their way to safety, and the reader is taken on this harrowing experience. (less)
A warmest welcome to all of our readers today as we discuss our MomAdvice Book Club pick for the month of March. I am particularly honored to have Ja...more
A warmest welcome to all of our readers today as we discuss our MomAdvice Book Club pick for the month of March. I am particularly honored to have James Markert sharing his own thoughts on his book with us and I hope you will find his answers as fascinating as I have!
Tuberculosis and how this illness affects its patients, and those that love them, are often the central focus of this book. After I finished reading this and then reading the historical notes about Waverly Place, I immediately went in search of more information about the illness and the backdrop for this book. Although the book goes into great detail of symptoms of TB and what the patients experience, it does not delve into why people have it because, in this time period of the book, people do not know how to cure it or why it lies dormant in some, while killing others.
Tuberculosis, is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. Most infections are asymptomatic and latent, but about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected.
As we are able to read in this book, treatment for progressive cases often included removing ribs to help the lungs and all patients were encouraged to get as much fresh air as possible, even in wintery weather conditions, because fresh air was believed to help cure this illness.
Delving into the book, we have an unlikely band of friends that have gathered together to create an orchestra who are working together to perform a concert. I love how the author pulls together these unlikely people and then, oftentimes, paints a very different portrait of what we expect them to be like and then tells us the true story of who they are when we dive further into the book.
Rose’s death, for example, takes me completely by surprise as I believed it was one way and it was not. McVain, who begins the novel as an unlikeable bully, later delves into his story of his true wartime injury and the unlikely love he discovered. Herman, when given a little love and attention from Susannah, steals the show with his beautiful voice. And, one of the most pivotal moments for Wolfgang, is when he finds out the death of his father is very different than his childhood interpretation of what really happened.
I loved this book from start to finish. Although the book is filled with death and disease, it offered a surprising amount of hopefulness in it. There is so much love and beauty as the patients join forces to complete and perform the requiem and the beauty of these unlikely friendships and loved is solidified because they are all battling this same fight.
In this novel, two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child named Havaa. Havaa is just eight years old when her neighbor Akhmed find...moreIn this novel, two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child named Havaa. Havaa is just eight years old when her neighbor Akhmed finds her hiding in the woods, watching her house burning down. Akhmed knows getting involved means risking his life, but her father is an old friend, and he risks it all deciding to take her to an abandoned hospital where a woman named Sonja Rabina runs a hospital almost single handedly.
Sonja does not love kids…at all. Akhmed convinces her to keep Havaa for a trial, and over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will change in ways she never imagined. The reader is taken on a journey through each of these character’s past on an extraordinary journey of love, loss, and ultimately what it means to be human.
Again, because we are dealing with a wartime topic, there is a lot of graphic violence, gory medical scenes, and violence in this book. One torture scene in particular is difficult to read (but can be skimmed over). It is a necessary part of the book though to truly capture what is happening to the Chechens.
For me, it took a little bit to really get into the meat of the story, mainly because of my own lack of education of what had happened in this country. If you struggle in the beginning, I encourage you to keep pushing on. This book is one of the most accomplished books I have ever read. It reads like poetry, the narrative is so unique, you will connect with every character in some way, there are moments of unexpected humor, and there is beauty in the pulling & weaving of these characters together.
This was a strong literary debut in one of my favorite genres- a coming of age story! When two best friends write letters to Soviet premier Yuri Andro...moreThis was a strong literary debut in one of my favorite genres- a coming of age story! When two best friends write letters to Soviet premier Yuri Andropv asking for peace, Jennifer's letter is publicized and she is asked to visit the USSSR, becoming an immediate sensation, leaving her best friend behind and straining their friendship.
When Jennifer tragically dies in a plane crash, perishing along with her parents, Sarah receives a letter ten years later letting her know that this plane crash might be a hoax.
Sarah heads to Russia to get the answers, but they might not be the answers she wanted to hear.
Well written, but the ending was clipped short of the beauty of the rest of the book! I truly enjoyed it and even learning a bit about Russian politics surrounding the Cold War! (less)
This book had some of the most unique characters I have ever read and it was such an interesting premise for a storyline that I couldn't wait to see h...moreThis book had some of the most unique characters I have ever read and it was such an interesting premise for a storyline that I couldn't wait to see how this story worked out. I'm sad that I didn't connect with this one the way that I had hoped after reading the rave reviews. The writing held a lot of promise though and I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next. (less)
A beautifully written book that had me on the edge of my seat through the first half, written about a boy named Max who is intersex. The story was tol...moreA beautifully written book that had me on the edge of my seat through the first half, written about a boy named Max who is intersex. The story was told in alternating perspectives from Max himself, to his brother, to his parents, to the doctor that treated him, and from the perspective of his girlfriend.
Max is the victim of a sexual assault that made reading difficult in the beginning and the rest of the book is watching the train wreck of family dynamics and how Max works through this as he questions his own sexual identity. If you can't handle books like that, this might not be a pick for you.
I wouldn't say this is anything like Middlesex or Annabel, two other books I have read on intersex, although I loved both of those books just as much as this. This is definitely a very contemporary take on what it would be like as an intersex teenager now, with all the scary things that teenagers do in it.
This was definitely a strong debut from this author. The ending did lag a bit for me and there were definitely voices that I liked in it more than others, but I enjoyed the book overall!
Loved the interactive nature, descriptive language, and characters so richly developed that you really believe they exist. The beginning was so promis...moreLoved the interactive nature, descriptive language, and characters so richly developed that you really believe they exist. The beginning was so promising! It could have been two hundred pages shorter and the ending felt lacking after all the build up. In the end, I am still glad I read it though! (less)
Debut novelist at the age of 67? I am so inspired! I really loved this one. Told in alternating perspectives from two people in a doomed marriage, it...moreDebut novelist at the age of 67? I am so inspired! I really loved this one. Told in alternating perspectives from two people in a doomed marriage, it would make a fantastic book club discussion. I found empathy for both sides of the story, a rarity in most books. The ending left me lingering, wishing for more of a conclusion between the two, but maybe that is what made it so good...It leaves the reader with the ability to draw your own conclusion! (less)