Silvia's Reviews > The Last of Her Kind

The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez
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's review
May 29, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction-other
Recommended for: Anyone interested in social justice
Read in May, 2008

This book really spoke deeply to me through the character of Ann. The first question it raised was: How can someone from an affluent background be a social justice activist? The book revealed all the contradictions inherent in this question. Ann was so offensive at times, especially at the beginning (e.g., wanting a room mate as different from her as possible and being disappointed that George wasn't Black). Also, she wished she had lived George's life, not realizing that if she actually had, she would really wish her life were different.

At the same time, Ann's authenticity unfolds during the book and she won me over, but in a very uneasy kind of way. She was so extreme, especially later in the story, that I almost thought she had a mental illness at times. But then I realized that many people who change the world are very extreme and obsessed -- often not healthy, balanced human beings. So there was a real tension in her extremism and it made me extremely uncomfortable, but I also couldn't quite dismiss the necessity of it for Ann.

George was a great character, too. Her closeness and then great distance from Ann helped me to understand Ann better. I saw how Ann was alienated from both her own class and the people she was wanting to support. But George made me realize that throughout everything, Ann was being utterly authentic.
Does that excuse all her behaviour? I don't know.

Maybe the bottom line is that I'm left "not knowing" whether to admire Ann or not, whether to think she's a hero or not... and that made it a great book for me. The uneasiness I'm left with is still bubbling inside me, seeking a resolution that may never be really possible.
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message 1: by Matt (new)

Matt Hames Thanks for your review. She is reading this book and speaking about it at an interactive reading on Nov 10th.

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