An interesting premise: a young Catholic priest becomes the guardian of his two-year-old niece when she is orphaned. How he copes and how his congrega...moreAn interesting premise: a young Catholic priest becomes the guardian of his two-year-old niece when she is orphaned. How he copes and how his congregation reacts form one strand of this story. But there is much more to this novel than that. In the present, his now thirty-old-niece is recovering from a near-fatal accident and throughout the book, as it moves back and forth in time and perspective, we learn about the intervening years filled with heartbreak and confusion. I won't spoil the story by saying more. Suffice to say that in a way this is a mystery (or several mysteries) but at its core it's an affecting tale of faith, love and redemption.(less)
I'm glad I didn't pay for this book, because there was nothing to it. Not only is it short (96 pages), the writing just wasn't up to Lamott's usual qu...moreI'm glad I didn't pay for this book, because there was nothing to it. Not only is it short (96 pages), the writing just wasn't up to Lamott's usual quality. A big disappointment.(less)
This is the fourth book in Giles Blunt's John Cardinal and Lise Delorme series. So far none of the subsequent books have topped the first one, Forty W...moreThis is the fourth book in Giles Blunt's John Cardinal and Lise Delorme series. So far none of the subsequent books have topped the first one, Forty Words for Sorrow, but that doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed them. I would recommend them for the fine writing alone!
It's unfortunate that the reader knows going in (thanks to the book description) that John's wife dies in this novel because I think it would have been better if it had been a surprise. Although his wife's death is not entirely unexpected, given her psychiatric history, it would have been nice to experience the shock of it along with John.
However, there are some twists to this novel, as well as an engrossing subplot, that keep it from being spoiled by the early revelation of the main event.
At first I was disappointed in the author's choice of "bad guy," but he did end up drawing a convincing portrait of him and his motivation. And I appreciated that I was left guessing about how culpable he really was.
This book was very much about psychiatric problems, especially depression, and I found the insights gained from it interesting if not ground-breaking. Also, the author captured John's grief very well.
This might sound strange, but I was kind of glad to see John's wife go, because her story dragged on and on. I suppose you could argue that the author could have done more with her character in earlier books, but it seems clear that he was at an impasse and had to "get rid of" her in order to advance the arc of the series.
I more than "liked" this book, but I "really like" the author and his writing. So this was a mostly enjoyable read for me. I always enjoy the descript...moreI more than "liked" this book, but I "really like" the author and his writing. So this was a mostly enjoyable read for me. I always enjoy the descriptions of life in northern Ontario because my family has a cabin there and I can relate to what it's like there. One thing I'd heard about but not experienced is "blackfly season," and now I know I never want to experience it! We always avoid it when we go to our cabin (or cottage, as Canadians would call it).
I wasn't crazy about how over-the-top the main antagonist was, but I have to admit that he was different from the usual serial killers (if there is such a thing!). Pretty sick stuff actually, which normally doesn't bother me, but this was particularly gruesome.
Not much changes in the characters of John Cardinal and Lise Delorme and John's wife, Catherine. Even John's relationship with his daughter is at a standstill. I see this as a "bridge" novel--it more or less sets the stage for the next novel in the series, which I read immediately after this one. (By the Time You Read This)
As much as I enjoy this series, I wish the author would try his hand at some stand-alone novels or even nonfiction. I have a feeling he has a lot to say and would say it eloquently.(less)
This is an important book, but not a great one, mainly because of its unevenness. Rapp spends a lot of time going through all the details of her child...moreThis is an important book, but not a great one, mainly because of its unevenness. Rapp spends a lot of time going through all the details of her childhood, her operations and prostheses, and her developing self-perception. But she skims through her teen years, which are absolutely critical for the development of positive self-esteem and body image, and it felt like she ended the book too soon. There wasn't much of a resolution, which on one hand is understandable since we are always in the process of coming to terms with our realities, but on the other hand left me feeling a bit up in the air. Did she come to terms with her disability or not? There's some confusion on this point. She's very honest about her struggle to balance wanting to rise above her disability with being able to accept it and I thought she did a good job of describing the psychological problems that come with having a disability, but there was something missing. Perhaps I was wondering where her anger at the world was/is. She seems to have turned on herself, focusing on her inability to accept herself, instead of being outraged at a world that can't accept difference. I was surprised that there wasn't more in the book about that.
Her writing is at times lyrical and at other times prosaic. I'm looking forward to reading The Still Point of the Turning World because I suspect that it will show a lot more maturity as a writer, not to mention as a person.(less)
I started out enchanted with this book, but had so much trouble keeping track of the two story lines (three if you count Razi's "life" as a ghost) and...moreI started out enchanted with this book, but had so much trouble keeping track of the two story lines (three if you count Razi's "life" as a ghost) and how they intersected that I lost the main thread. However, I may have just been in an impatient mood: I wanted the author to get to the point and it felt like when she did, it wasn't all that clear what it was!(less)