I didn't realize until halfway through the book that Ephron also wrote one of my all time favorite movies When Harry Met Sally... and relizing that maI didn't realize until halfway through the book that Ephron also wrote one of my all time favorite movies When Harry Met Sally... and relizing that made so much sense! The book has the same witty, self depreciating, and yet self accepting tone as that movie. I really loved getting to know Nora Ephron through her random little collection of essays about life, New York, and just generally herself. It actually reads altogether as a truly enchanting autobiography as well as a humorous commentary on life. It was a very fast read and brought me many laugh out loud moments. My favorite essays were: I Hate My Purse, Parenting in Three Stages, On Rapture (which is about reading), and Considering the Alternative (which is a really frank and touching look at the subject of death. A surprisingly sniffly end to a really great book).
The story of Rose, a habitual abandoner, who finds herself in a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. The story is about the place almost as much as thThe story of Rose, a habitual abandoner, who finds herself in a home for unwed mothers in the 1960s. The story is about the place almost as much as the people--a place where people come for a brief, but life-altering, time and then move on. It is also the story of the people who stay there--Rose, with all her secrets, her daughter, the nuns and the groundskeeper. I loved the story of the place and I thought the writing was quite good. It held my interest and there were a few really lovely moments where a theme would repeat itself through time and generations, recalling other beautiful moments. I think, however, that I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if it was not for the main character whom I just didn't like. I didn't understand her at all. She seems to act with no motivation or thought. I didn't understand why she did things, and I don't think she did either, but the author seems entirely sympathetic to her, which frustrated me. I loved all the other characters, but Rose, on whom everything hinges, annoyed me.
I enjoyed it more than I have enjoyed any book in quite a long time. It was just exactly what I wanted it to be. Set in a traveling circus during the I enjoyed it more than I have enjoyed any book in quite a long time. It was just exactly what I wanted it to be. Set in a traveling circus during the depression, and narrated by the main character as an old man, it is a wonderful adventure, a lovely romance and a deeply human, lovable novel. It was a fast read, but beautifully written and the ending had me crying great big happy tears. Almost as wonderful as the novel itself, are the vintage circus photos that head each chapter. They add such a wonderful depth to the book. Very good call by the editor/publisher/author...whoevers idea it was... ...more
Trans-Sister Radio is the story of four individuals (who take turns narrating the story). College professor Dana is a transexual--"a woman born in a mTrans-Sister Radio is the story of four individuals (who take turns narrating the story). College professor Dana is a transexual--"a woman born in a man's body"--who is preparing for a gender reassignment surgery. While still living as a man, he meets and falls in love with Allison, a sixth grade teacher who is about to send her only child, Carly, off to college. The fourth character (and my personal favorite) is Allison's ex-husband Will, the General manager of the local Public Radio station. The novel is interspersed with "transcripts" from a fictional NPR story about the whole issue, a device that does guide the plot somewhat, but honestly kind of felt like a gimmick thrown in there so he could use his clever title. The novel had a great deal of potential. It was a really interesting and complicated situation and the characters had a lot of potential for complexity. As with his earlier (and very popular) novel, Midwives, however, I felt like it didn't quite live up to its potential. I think Bohjalian has to much of a tendency to wax activist. His characters are too "outcast" which, to me, doesn't play realistically and distracts from the story. His books would be much more powerful if he didn't feel the need to pull out the lynch mob. Overall, however it was an interesting and thought provoking read. It was obviously very well researched--the detailed description of the sex change opperation itself was fascinating, although it definitely made me squirm and cross my legs. Certainly a very unique love story. ...more
I read this one for my church book club. As soon as I heard the title, I recognized it as one of my mother's favorite ever books. I read it in high scI read this one for my church book club. As soon as I heard the title, I recognized it as one of my mother's favorite ever books. I read it in high school, upon her insistance, and remembered only that it was "really cheesey." On a second read, it was less cheesey than I remembered (though still a little bit) and in fact, I found it an incredibly sad novel. It's the story of a young girl around the turn of the 20th century, who has all these big girlish dreams of becoming a beautiful singer, a painter, a writer--she just has this "feeling" that she is going to grow up to be something special. And she really does have a lovely voice and is encouraged to go to New York and study. She even gets a marriage proposal that would make it all possible, but she turns it down to marry her true love and follow him out west to settle Nebraska. As the book goes on, they have children, eek out a living establishing a farm and a state out west and each of her dreams gets put off and put off until eventually she is an old woman and realizes it is too late for any of her dreams. But, each of her dreams is carried out by one of her children--one becomes a painter, one a singer, one an explorer etc etc. I know this is supposed to be inspiring and heart warming, but I just find it so depressing. There are a couple of really beautiful and heart breaking scenes near the end where she watches her children go and and achieve their (her) dreams, and she has a little cry, born of pride, but also of sadness. Those are very bittersweet moments. Overall, not the best writing in the world, but not as write-offable as I initially categorized it. ...more
It was one of the more incredible books I've ever read. The book is the true story of the author's life in Sierra-Leone, and the story of many other cIt was one of the more incredible books I've ever read. The book is the true story of the author's life in Sierra-Leone, and the story of many other children swept up in the war there. When the author is 12-years-old his village is destroyed and his family lost. He wanders for years, sometimes with groups of other boys, sometimes alone, trying to avoid the rebels and to find a safe place to exist. Eventually swept into the war, hopped up on drugs and handed guns, the boys find themselves soldiers. (I think that's all of the plot I can give you without giving more spoilers than are implied by the title) The book is brilliantly written. Beah is an amazing writer, his writing is heart wrenching in its beauty and his astounding ability to clearly analyze his own emotions and responses to the events of his life as well as writing with astounding clarity and amazing imagery about his country and the events happening around him. The book, of course, has many incredibly sad, disturbing, and depressing elements. But I think what makes it so powerful is the shimmer of hope that laces through it. You know, from reading the back of the book, that Beah makes it out--he survives, and not only survives, but becomes an incredibly productive member of society working worldwide with human rights organizations focused on the plight of children living in war zones. But in addition to the light at the end of the tunnel, Beah gives us wonderful glimpses into the beauty of his country and culture. Through memories of his early childhood, his family, his life before the war found him, we see a powerful and moral society. Too often books about Africa seem to assume it has always been this way, that war is all they know. Beah shows us another side of Africa, which makes the tragedy of war all the more tragic. ...more