Jaclyn's Reviews > Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
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's review
Jun 26, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: africa, books-i-own, health-medical-nutrition, historical-fiction, thick-books-approx-500-pages-and-up
Read from June 26 to July 09, 2011

I so often wish I could give half stars for ratings. I really want to give this book a 4.5. However, the few failings that make me want to take off half a star are not enough for me to take it all the way back to 4, so I rounded up instead. First for the few reasons I wanted to take off half a star. It took me nearly 100 pages to really get interested in the story and to care about any of the characters. At first I couldn't even really tell whose story was being told b/c it jumped around so much and had so many points of view in the beginning.
This happens again near the end of the novel when we finally get to hear Thomas Stone's story, and it was nearly as annoying and confusing then, but not quite as bad. I found myself having to turn back a few pages occassionally b/c I didn't realize we'd changed time frames, or couldn't figure out why a particular story was being told. There just weren't smooth transitions.
I also wasn't really crazy about Marion telling the story of his birth and baby years from a first person point of view, like he in any way remembers what happened. There's even a point where he says something to the fact that he remembers being in the womb and the sensation of having the cord cut, thus separating him from his brother. It's a nit-picky thing, but I don't like when a serious adult novel presents a portion of the story from a baby's point of view in the first person. It takes away some of the credibility for me. As the story progresses, I forgot about these flaws and the story smoothed out for me (until the near end as I mentioned above), so that's why I decided to round up instead of down on the rating. It's hard for me to give the book a wholehearted 5 star rating because of the rough start in the beginning, but the overall ending impression was definitely 5 star.

So now for why I LOVED this book so much. The characters are flawed but loveable. I totally understood Marion's love for Genet, and how Shiva's betrayal hurt him as much as it did. I understood his grudge against both his biological father, Thomas Stone, and his brother, but why he was willing to let Genet back in after all she did to hurt him. Although the ending was terribly sad, and brought me to tears, I thought it was a truly beautiful and fitting ending for such an epic story.
I loved Hema and her complete and unconditional love for the boys right from their very birth. I loved her determination that they be well educated, and her protectiveness of them. Most of all I loved Dr. Gosch. He was so wise and loving. He was flawed, but only in ways that made him more endearing to the reader. He was my favorite character, and I loved the bond that developed between him and Marion as he grew up.
All in all I thought this was a beautifully written story that was full of flawed but loving and loveable characters. In the end I truly cared about each and every one of them, and I was so sad when their story came to an end. I also really enjoyed the medical detail and terminology, and the historical details surrounding their setting in Ethopia at the time of this story. I found them to be just enough to make me feel like I was there (and also learning something), but not so much that it bogged down the story. This is one book I think would make an amazing movie, and I hope it comes out soon. That's why it got 5 stars instead of 4 for me.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Allan Interesting review Jaclyn. I picked this upin the bookshop the other day- but wasn't convinced! Will have another look at it!

Jaclyn I would recommend it pretty highly. It takes a while to get into, so start it when you have some time, like a plane ride or a day by the pool or something, but I think you'll like it. Good luck, I'll look for your review!

Allan Thanks Jaclyn.

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