Erin's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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Jul 16, 10

bookshelves: book-club
Read from July 15 to 16, 2010

I recently read a debate about the "star" ratings on goodreads, the gist of which was that there are so few books that actually rate the praise "it was amazing", and yet people give out five star ratings left and right (according to the author of the discussion). While I don't really care what standard other people use to rate their books, I can feel supremely confident that this, for me, was "amazing".

First, thank goodness for my book club, specifically Melinda's mother, who directs us to a number of our reads. When this book was first published and began garnering tremendous praise, I took a look at the flyleaf, saw "epic" "twins" and "Africa" and dismissed it as not for me (and probably went bobbling off to buy the celebrity tell-all of the moment, but I digress.....) Even once our book club agreed this would be our selection (I've been lobbying for an Africa book, but wanted Say You're One of Them, which I'll get to eventually), I still wasn't sure I would get around to reading it (although I bought it. I'm a great one for buying all the book club books, even if I don't read them. Bookstores won't fail on my account!). I downloaded it, and a bunch of other books onto my Sony Reader and headed for two weeks at the beach - and I STILL didn't start it. I read everything else I had bought (save one). I was never in the mood for, what I had convinced myself would be, a dreary Africa story. Finally a bout of strep and the accompanying fever weakened my resolve and I started the book day before yesterday (the dates are misleading).

Once I started, I could barely tear myself away. It IS epic, is set partially in Ethiopia and involves a set of twins, but the story, wow. It's really about medicine and family and home and love and all those things you also see on book jackets, but immediately dismiss. I cringed, I cried (several times) and I fell in love with Verghese, whose either has impeccable plotting skills, or writes so well that I failed to see the turns coming (except for one, which I didn't like, but won't spoil, and one character, who was, perhaps, a bit too one-dimensional). Either way, I can't say enough good things about this book, which managed to be touching, but not sappy and "epic" but never dull.

Highly recommended.
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