Alejandra's Reviews > A Partial History of Lost Causes

A Partial History of Lost Causes by Jennifer duBois
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Nov 11, 14

bookshelves: first-reads, historical-fiction
Read from October 03 to 26, 2011

I received this book for free as a Good Reads First Reads book.

I am still debating whether it's 3 or 4 stars in my mind.

I really liked this book for many reasons. I like the underlying chess prodigy story lines. I like that it's slightly historical and slightly political. It inspired me to look into some Russian non-fiction.

I like the two separate story lines of Irina and Aleksander. And I love when they collide. The characters are easy to love and get to know. And you truly care what happens to them in the end.
This book had me wanting to find time to read everywhere. I was reading pages while brushing my teeth and hair in the morning.
Both Irina and Aleksander live such different lives, with different histories and different personalities. Yet, both of them seem to be answering the same questions for each other's lives. It's well written and well thought out.

Then the ending came.
While, it fit well with the story, it seemed sort of washed out compared to the detail and the emotion from the rest of the book. It's not that I don't agree with it. I believe Irina and Aleksander's stories both ended in ways I might have wanted them to. But it just wasn't juicy like the rest of the book had been. It was a very dull happy ending. I feel relief for Irina, and indifferent toward Aleksander. It was so-so. I think that maybe the author let him have an uneventful ending since his life was to tumultuous. Who knows.
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Reading Progress

10/03/2011 "I just received this book for free as a Good Reads First Reads win :) I'm going to start it tonight so I can review it quickly, since they took care to get it to me quickly. I'll let you know how I like it!!"
10/07/2011 page 15
4.0% "Just started my First Reads book that I got for free :) I have no idea what this is about, but so far, I'm loving the Chess player story. Searching for Bobby Fisher used to be my favorite movie. The Russian names are messing me up though, can we just call the guy Alex instead of Aleksandr?!"
10/09/2011 page 70
18.0% "I'm hooked. Not only is the book good, but it makes me want to read some chess and cold war books as well. Many of the comments made by the characters and observations of life in Leningrad leave me wondering what's true and what's been concocted. I love Aleksander's thought processes- they make you think."
10/12/2011 page 75
20.0% "Love this ‎"There's an intimacy in listening to somebody's lies. You learn more about someone from the things they wish were true than from the things that actually are.""
10/15/2011 page 130
34.0% "Still love it. I wonder how long the chess player themes will intertwine with the plot. Irina reminds me of Thirteen in House a little."
10/15/2011 page 153
40.0% ""Anyone can stay alive. Any fucking amoeba can stay alive. That's just evolution. It's what you do once you've managed to stay alive that counts." Ove this :)"
10/16/2011 page 211
55.0% "I like the characters, the story, the insight. I can't stop turning the pages but I can't figure out why, exactly. I like all the chess. I like the 2 overlapping timelines and separate lives. I want to know what happens, but it's not nail biting or terribly exciting. The story lines are about to collide. I hope it's dramatic :-)"
10/16/2011 page 218
57.0% ""There as many ways for a marriage to work as there are ways for a marriage to fail." Interesting way of seeing it."
10/24/2011 page 270
70.0% "It's getting so juicy, I was reading it while brushing my hair and teeth! The plot lines have crossed and I can't put it down! The whole job thing got in the way, though."
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