Read it because Chuck liked it when he was a kid and encouraged me to listen to the audio while I was doing yard work. I resisted at first, not sure I...moreRead it because Chuck liked it when he was a kid and encouraged me to listen to the audio while I was doing yard work. I resisted at first, not sure I'd get into a story about elves, dwarves, barbarians, halflings, wizards, and goblins. But I was wrong. Totally enjoyed Drizzt, Brunor, Wolfgar, Catie-Brie, and even good ol' Rumble Belly Regis. (I'm sure these are spelled horrendously. I only heard the names, so... those are my best phonetic versions). I really liked them and their fantastic world. I'd read and enjoyed the Eragon books as well as Artemis Fowl, but those were targeted more for children, and I don't know, that helped me with my willing suspension of disbelief somehow maybe. I didn't know if I'd be able to buy in to the same kind of fantasy aimed at adults. Would I be able to to take seriously a fantasy book that took itself more seriously. But I think I did, and I enjoyed it. Thanks Chuck!(less)
I loved this book. I had hoped I would and started it several times in the past few years and ended up putting it down before I finally got far enough...moreI loved this book. I had hoped I would and started it several times in the past few years and ended up putting it down before I finally got far enough into it to be hooked. But this time I stuck with it until about page 100 (thanks to my friend Joel's encouragement) and then I was committed.
I'm so glad I did. Once I got into it, it only took me about four days to finish (granted, some of them were at the beach and I had no other responsibilities. Ahhhhh. What a wonderful memory.) I just regret that I went with the abridgment (which still seemed pretty daunting to me at 500 pages). I'm tempted to go back right away and read it in its entirety, but maybe I should wait a few months.
I loved the end. So rare. I thought it was realistic, meaningful, redemptive and satisfying. (less)
I thought this was a really fun, really enjoyable book. The Heaney sisters send their boys off to war and the novel follows life on the homefront. The...moreI thought this was a really fun, really enjoyable book. The Heaney sisters send their boys off to war and the novel follows life on the homefront. The sisters are lovable, as are their brothers.
I did not like the ending, but I'm starting to realize that I never do.
I think this would be a possible good choice for summer reading, especially for girls. I think it might be a bit mooshy for the boys, definitely heavy on the romance. The raciest thing is a teen pregnancy, and the girl doesn't regret it.
Depending on the set of kids/parents, I might get some flack for it, but it might be worth taking a chance on, especially if it was an option, not a mandatory assignment(less)
Predictable, once you know Jodie Picoult. I knew exactly what was going to happen to Willow about halfway through the book. But that doesn't mean I di...morePredictable, once you know Jodie Picoult. I knew exactly what was going to happen to Willow about halfway through the book. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I liked the relationship between Charlotte and Sean. I thought they were a very likeable and believable couple.
I did not like Amelia. Nor was I supposed to, I guess.
Chuck asked me what the book was about, and as I explained, I realized just how cheeeeeesy and contrived it all sounded. It didn't really seem that way until I started to summarize it for him, though. I'm not sure if that means that the story was well-told in spite of the predictable story arc, or if I'm a sucker for drama.
Teachable? Eh.... probably not. There's some sex, but mostly I don't think it would be that interesting to my kids. (less)
**spoiler alert** I was interested, but not compelled the first half. The second half, I'd say, I was sucked in. In fact, I picked it up during my lun...more**spoiler alert** I was interested, but not compelled the first half. The second half, I'd say, I was sucked in. In fact, I picked it up during my lunch period today with about 100 pages left and ended up spending most of my planning period with it, too. (Including a somewhat awkward encounter when the librarian walked in and caught my misty-eyed after Henry's amputation. Ugh. Heart-breaking).
After 500 pages, I was totally enamored of Clare, Henry, Alba, and their strange little family. But again, I'm disappointed with the ending. Why, why, why could we not see their reunion? Since we learned that Henry was dying, I held out hope that we would get to see him show up in Clare's future somewhere. When he does, but we miss it, it feels so unfinished. I'm sure the author had a good reason for omitting it, and the Odyssey quote about Penelope and Odysseus' reunion is lovely. I really did love the Odyssey metaphor. I love Penelope, and it's interesting to think of Clare as the same type of woman: loyal, faithful, and stubborn in her love, even beyond what's logical, normal, or even socially acceptable. And I thought it was interesting to use Odysseus and Penelope's moment in place of Clare and Henry's. But I really wanted to see Henry and Clare's. That's the show I paid to see. I've read the Odyssey. (about 16 times actually). If I wanted their ending, I would have picked up one of the 96 copies from my bookshelf. But this ISN'T their story, as much as they mirrored one another. I want to know what Clare's remaining years were like, what Alba has become, but honestly, my most desperate question is this: After all her waiting, did Clare get to die in his arms as he did in hers? Or does she have to go on after he leaves for the last time, knowing that there's nothing left to wait for?
I was so moved by this quote (p. 516, beginning of the last section, which begins just as Henry's dying in Clare's arms and follows Clare's life after-- this section, in my opinion, was too short):
"She followed slowly, taking a long time, as though there were some obstacle in the way; and yet: as though, once it was overcome, she would be beyond all walking, and would fly"
-from GOING BLIND, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Oh how lovely and how sad and how lovely again. It makes me think of my grandmother, who lives on four years after her husband of 62 years went on ahead of her, but this passage puts my questions about her grief into words I could never make.
It's a beautiful book, and a beautiful love story. Aside from the fantastical premise, the story is real. Henry and Clare are real, their love is real, their suffering is real, their joy is real.
The story is powerful and the characters are dynamic and the plot is poignant and sweet and painful and lovely.
(Totally not appropriate for 9th graders, by the way)(less)