I expected the plot to unwind very differently from how it did...and that, to me, is particularly refreshing! French uses such descriptive language th...moreI expected the plot to unwind very differently from how it did...and that, to me, is particularly refreshing! French uses such descriptive language that rarely I'd skim to get to the next twist. Really enjoyed the characters as written and am glad that the screwed-upness of the characters was believable and remorseful enough to still enjoy reading. Am looking forward to "The Likeness" as it centers around my favorite character from "In The Woods". Also, a little sad that no resolution to Det. Ryan's childhood was uncovered, but it probably would have ruined the artful handling anyway.(less)
Sara Zarr hit the nail on the head with her novel, Story of a Girl. In fact, I finally grabbed a pen and wrote down citations of things that kept stri...moreSara Zarr hit the nail on the head with her novel, Story of a Girl. In fact, I finally grabbed a pen and wrote down citations of things that kept striking a chord with me, totalling 29 paragraphs, bits of insights and places where she conveyed most perfectly the character and what it's like to be in that situation.
Ms. Zarr deftly created the environment that would absolutely contribute to each of Deanna's struggles: small town gossips, depressed and absentee parents, teenage impulsiveness, recreational drug use, closed-mindedness, the emptiness or void in her heart and lack of tangible love that leads her to choose Tommy and to betray Lee.
To be fair, if you've never had your reputation trashed like that, been desperately lonely, or if you've never felt the stinging dismissal of a parent as she did, it may be hard to identify with the character and her perspectives. So for those of you that didn't quite get it, perhaps for you it's a blessing that you didn't. For the rest of us, however, it was like getting good therapy vicariously. I know I haven't confronted my Tommy or been able to issue any public rebuttals to the gossips in my high school and home town church, to have any closure or forgiveness from friends I betrayed or to verbally give forgiveness to those who wronged me. To read Ms. Zarr's ending was realistically optimistic.
The kind of life I lead now is the only public rebuttal I can give. My truest friends in adulthood have all been a version of Lee. I've really been quite blessed. _____ Recommendations: A few f-words and some s-words, but used well. I personally had no trouble with them. I would recommend it if not for that, however, to give some people a glimpse into what closed-mindedness does to other people. I'll be re-reading this book as soon as I'm lucky enough to buy a copy all my own.(less)
Took me a couple days to really dig into this book, and once I got past Chapter 2 it was smooth sailing from there. I enjoyed the author's pace, tone,...moreTook me a couple days to really dig into this book, and once I got past Chapter 2 it was smooth sailing from there. I enjoyed the author's pace, tone, characters, settings, everything! This has actually inspired me to look into the possibility vs probability of my own reading of the Aeneid. More details of my impressions of the characters and plots to follow.(less)
**spoiler alert** The entire plot revolved on Ellen's need to balance her priorities and to identify what defines her life. She's desperately unbalanc...more**spoiler alert** The entire plot revolved on Ellen's need to balance her priorities and to identify what defines her life. She's desperately unbalanced at the beginning and finally "gets it" at the end. Gratefully it's a short novel, or else I couldn't have had the patience to endure her imbalance much longer!
One thing that really impressed me about this author: she's obviously a reader, too. A lot of the asides were perfectly timed, especially the ones regarding reading as escapism. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was written in such a way that made it a pleasure to read, easily identifiable and detailed without being cumbersome. And her voice was very easy to get into. Awesome style!
A great book! I'd recommend it to my married girlfriends; my unmarried friends would have melt-downs from the sweltering "man and wife" scenes, and also because of the swearing...it painted the picture quite nicely showing Ellen as becoming loose.
Now, I have some opinions that may not be likable to you, and they're all based on the fact that I got SO into the book that I really felt the characters and enviornment come alive. Here's how I would've liked to have seen it go down in my own little world. (Acknowledging how idiotic that makes me sound!)
Following are some spoilers. Please don't read them if you've not read the book yet, because they will ruin your enjoyment of the book.
1. At one point I was hoping that Jo would trick Ellen into seeing a better therapist. I mean, what friend would simply support you when you've confessed to an attempted arson? It's supposed to be comforting that Jo researched another way to get Ellen's house back, but a better friend would've gotten her some serious mental health help or an intervention! (I don't care if you call me judgmental; it's true in my own little world.)
2. I also wondered how Ellen made the leap from, "Oh, you've bankrupted us" directly to "Go Away, I want a divorce." I suppose the point at which the reader is invited into the story was a bit late in the narrative for this reaction to ring true. If Sam were a grumpy guy, an abuser or a bad father, I could see this being a ready excuse to ask for a divorce. Or, perhaps if I'd have first read the pain of the constant financial insecurity, then perhaps I wouldn't have been so surprised at her divorce request. That being said, Sam wasn't a bad man; in fact he'd handled the miscarriage exceptionally well and in a way that brought the two of them closer together. So I didn't get her instant divorce request.
3. I'm glad at the ending; I'm glad that Jordan is the meathead that burns down the house, and I'm glad everyone is safe and the family reunites. I'm mostly glad that Ellen realized what she had and learned to appreciate it before it was truly too late. I'm glad her priorities were straightened out; not only for her sake, but also for that of her daughters' and Sam's sakes (all characters that were so well written that I actually felt for them).
4. Not once did I think Jeffry held a candle to Sam. He just didn't do it for me. Perhaps I don't respect pussy-whipped men or something. When Ellen was trying to consider how she "felt" about J I wanted to scream; it illustrated just how far she'd lost her mind.
5. Jordan, bless her little heart, could have used some advice from my mother. I remember her telling me once that we only accuse people of things that we consider doing ourselves. At least her husband can recognize a child's hand...Jordan couldn't see that the notes were from a child? She couldn't have possibly believed that Ellen plotted the entire husband-kissing, empathetic-dream-encourager scheme...or could she have?
See how much I got into it? Kudos to the writer on sucking me in for a great Sunday afternoon read. Great Book!
--- PostScript, added 9/23: to clarify that I did identify with Ellen's desire to burn down the home. Entirely understandable emotion (and possibly even a healthy emotion). I can imagine myself, perhaps, doing such a passive aggressive thing as having a huge goodbye party and leaving candles burning, though I could never actually see myself following through by leaving the home to burn. The complexity of Ellen's grief (for her multiple painful situations in addition to the loss of her home) might be enough to break anyone to cross that line.(less)
Ms. Meyer has her hands full, trying to keep everyone happy. It's impossible, but she sure...moreOnly Four Stars? Is that even possible?
Yes. And Here's Why:
Ms. Meyer has her hands full, trying to keep everyone happy. It's impossible, but she sure tried to do it and it showed. She explained so many facets thoroughly and in deep detail, as if in defense against an angry mob of soon-to-be-ex-fans. It is rather difficult to describe; the writing felt sort of like an apologist's style. That's ultimately what kept it from being a five-star review, in my opinion.
I will not put spoilers in this review, only my impressions and reactions to the book, which may not appeal to you. Sorry! For those of you that have read the book completely, the rest of this review will only make sense to you. Maybe.
Ms. Meyer thew a bone to the Jacob fans who are disappointed about Bella's wedding (that's not really a spoiler, okay?) by letting him take over the narration for a while. Some people complained about that, but can you imagine just how nauseatingly claustrophobic it would have made the reader to experience Bella's viewpoint during that section? I mean, really, she had such a focus on her very limited situation, and there was more to the plot going on than just Bella's deal. So, I understand the decision to use Jacob's narrative voice. Which was a refreshing change up! I liked his voice, by the way, and I've never actually been a Jacob fanatic.
Of course Ms. Meyer broke her own universe's ground rules, which didn't bother me as much as it should've. After I got over the shock of THAT broken ground rule, I realized how inevitable it would be to the moving-forward of the story. It was kind of like looking at the time played on the DVD player to determine if the movie was almost concluded, and if not, how much more plot we'd have to wade through.
One other reason I appreciated Jacob's narration was that it made the other minefield of a plot twist that much less stomach-turning. I had read the spoilers out there on the web, and couldn't believe that particular point. It just didn't make any sense. It was downright repulsive to me in black and white like that. However, after having read Jacob's section, I seemed slightly more open to the "thing" that happened.
At the ending, Ms. Meyer seemed compelled to relay, in excruciating detail, every minute emotion of too many characters all at once. It got quite tiring, to tell the truth.
All told, it was worth the wait for me. I read Twilight right after Eclipse came out, so it was just 1-2-3, bam-bam-bam. However, when (and not if, when) the next book in the saga is released, I'll pre-order it but keep my perspective and not be salivating quite so badly to read it.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was better quality than I expected. This work felt well-thought out, outlined. Every detail had a purpose. I enjoyed that...kep...more**spoiler alert** This was better quality than I expected. This work felt well-thought out, outlined. Every detail had a purpose. I enjoyed that...kept it kinda tight and balanced.
There were a lot of ideas about what it really means to be human versus what it means to be A human. It seems that the sense of Self is so intrinsically tied to the function and appearances of the body and also to the self-control over the body. It was fairly deep to see what may happen when there is a conflicting control over a body. Kinda made me think of multiple personality disorder in a way.
Prejudice is another topic to be discussed after reading The Host. Do we judge someone on who they are, and if so, on what levels can we judge them? An invader parasite might just be an innocent after all, and the characteristics they're allowed to express can redeem them of what they are.
The nature of love was explored here in a rather unique way. All sorts of love.
One question I still haven't figured out is this: how much of what we are is what happened to the person/body (i.e. the memories Melanie provides Wanda) and how much is just who we are? This is really tough to debate, especially after reading the final chapter.
I enjoyed the personalities that the author introduced here. Uncle Jeb was my personal favorite. Makes me feel better when the crazies aren't so crazy after all and in fact are the real hero.(less)
1. It makes me acutely aware that if I enjoyed this series of Phillipa Gregory books in my y...moreHmm...do I recommend The Boleyn Inheritance?
1. It makes me acutely aware that if I enjoyed this series of Phillipa Gregory books in my youth, that when I get crumbly (read: old), I'll probably end up enjoying Harlequin Romance novels.
2. In The Boleyn Inheritance, as with The Other Boleyn Girl, Ms. Gregory writes with such myopic vision that I wanted to scream from the claustrophobic feeling. She writes around in circles, covering the same topic repeatedly with only slight variation. Granted, that is perhaps the entire feel of living at court in King Henry VIII's time, and so she's reconstructing the aura through her writing style. The only redemption for it, though, was her use of three perspectives. In TOBG, we only got to see Mary's view with editorializing, so this new usage of three narrators was the only fresh air readers get.
3. If you are my mother-in-law or my grandmother, stop reading here.
Okay, now that it's just us frivolous girls, this novel is full of intrigue, backstabbing, political gaming, greed, beheading. All of which make the perfect plot. And then there's the s-e-x. Lots of s-e-x. Ugh. It churns my stomach, quite honestly, how incredibly detailed they get, how up close and personal they get with a topic that should, imo, be only personal/private. I'm not a prude...obviously, since I finished reading it when I should have set it aside. I know, I know, it's historical fiction, and King Henry VIII was really flatulent, had a huge, open, stinking, puss-oozing wound and was impotent to boot. I get it. Really, I get it. Ms. Gregory kept hitting me in the face with it all, though, and eventually I got fed up.
So, three reasons I won't recommend this to anyone. And yet, I can't help imagining that if a friend told me she read it, I'd probably grin and say, "Is it good for you?"
It did wrap up nicely the loose ends she left in TOBG, like Jane's (George's wife) betrayal being totally bogus. I enjoyed seeing her get her just desserts.
Now, on the other hand, if Ms. Gregory chooses to novelize Princess/Queen Mary's and Queen Elizabeth's reign, I might run headlong into those. If I remember correctly, there was NO sex there.(less)
**spoiler alert** July 29, 2009: I re-read The Time Traveler's Wife after seeing a trailer advertising the movie. I went into the reading with the sin...more**spoiler alert** July 29, 2009: I re-read The Time Traveler's Wife after seeing a trailer advertising the movie. I went into the reading with the sinking feeling that I knew what plots they'd cut out: ones involving Ingrid Carmichael. This review is, sadly, about her. Just about everyone else has analyzed the major plots to death, so I feel no qualms about publishing my drivel on the topic.
I adore Ingrid. The author's delicate touch may persuade others to disregard or ignore Ingrid. She's given just enough face time to have her ghost haunt you. If you're re-reading it to find her, the force of her placement in the novel and the coolness of her aura seem so overpowering as to understand why she had to be written so sparingly.
Why did I know instinctively that the movie will further minimalize Ingrid? It would be so Hollywood to gloss over/simplify the fact that Henry had had girlfriends before he met his wife in real time. It would be too two-dimensional to show only Henry and Clare having this beautifully tormented, fated existence without the contrast of what happens when it doesn't work out for the non-time-traveling significant other. Sure, the author keeps hitting you in the face with it in the book, yet I can't help anticipating the movie to completely eradicate all that with a wave of their magical editing wands.
I kept wondering what exactly made Ingrid so suicidal, knowing it had something to do with the scene where she meets Alba. I almost despaired when the book came nearly to its close and I still hadn't read that scene, thinking perhaps the version I was reading had been edited from the earlier version I'd read before.
Finally, it arrived. And it all made perfect sense to me: Ingrid was a dark, suicidal mess unable to cope because she was desperately, wholly in love with Henry, yet she'd seen Henry's future and it certainly did not involve her. For me, that's when her soul breaks and crazy Ingrid comes out to play.
Ingrid sees Alba at some unspecified earlier time in the book. Later on, Alba is again present in Ingrid's and Henry's drunken "Where'd I Leave The Car" conflict. Alba is polite to Ingrid and positively radiant to Henry. Ingrid even point-blank asks where Alba's mother is, to which Alba dismisses her as "at home" laughing that her mom doesn't know where she is. She avoids Ingrid in her excitement to be near Henry, to kiss him.
After seeing such a happy, self-possessed little girl, recognizing her to be Henry's time-traveling child and certainly not her own child, Ingrid can't avoid the truth that she doesn't end up with Henry in the end. This is where rationality on her part is thrown out the window. I fear she is so totally in love with him that she tries the suicides; she's so desperate to change the future, she uses every ploy to keep him to eventually become the mother that Alba dismisses.
What a sick, sad, forlorn love. Of course the relationship can only deteriorate over the next year, as does Ingrid. By the time Clare shows up, Ingrid's relationship with Henry is very nearly dead, allowing Clare to take over.
Sometimes, I wonder, what if Henry had fallen for Ingrid's ploys, married her, had a child with her...would Alba have been Ingrid's child? Would Clare have dared interfere with a marriage when she finally found Henry? No, it's not that sort of love story that the author has prepared to write. Ingrid is trapped into a supporting role, a foil to Clare and Henry's "perfect" love, to show how sad and lonely it is to be left behind not by involuntary time travel, but discarded by Henry's choice.(less)