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The Infinite Plan

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  9,031 ratings  ·  414 reviews
Selling more than 65,000 copies and topping bestseller lists around the world--including Spain, Germany, Italy, and Latin America--this novel tells the engrossing story of one man's quest for love and for his soul."Allende is one of the most important novelists to emerge from Latin America in the past decade." "--Boston Globe"
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 1994 by Harper Perennial (first published 1991)
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Madeleine It provides plenty of material for discussion, that's for sure, but I think many readers will be turned off by the disasterous choices and depressing…moreIt provides plenty of material for discussion, that's for sure, but I think many readers will be turned off by the disasterous choices and depressing lives of the main characters.

The female characters are almost all "losers", many with mental problems. I'm 3/4 of the way through the book and it is gloomy. Its tone and plot have so far been unrelentingly depressing.(less)

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3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,031 ratings  ·  414 reviews

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Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gregory Reeves a son of a traveling preacher who settles in the Hispanic section of Los Angeles ,grows up experiencing life as a member of a minority group within the community. Local gang members make his life a nightmare,always attacking him being the only (white) boy in the district. Eventually he finds his way out defending himself,
Gregory's life is shaped by a series of events and a lot of tragedies and misery......
his serves in the army,and witnessing all the horrors of the war,and the dea
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Really 3.5.

I feel really bad giving one of Allende's books less than 4 stars. Her writing is spellbinding. And largely, this book is no exception. She can transport the reader wherever she wants to take them and in this book that is many places and times. From the L.A. post-WWII barrio, to 60s San Francisco, and Vietnam battlefields and villages. These were so well-drawn it was hard to believe that she had not served in Vietnam or lived in California until the late 80s. But when she moves to the
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After talking about books we have read, or wanted to read, my co-worker and I decided to swap books. This was the first book he shared with me.

The books started off well enough. The characters were interesting and developed at a good pace. After the first fifty pages or so, I began to feel disappointed; I continued to feel this way until about the last fifty pages.

The authors portrayal of the Morales family, beginning from Pedro and Immaculada's journey to the United States to the dynamics of t
Ed Holden
Aug 31, 2010 rated it did not like it
I think this is my first one-star review. I really disliked this book, largely because it failed in one of the most basic foundations of storytelling: the "show, don't tell" rule. Much of this book's narrative is devoted to summarizing who went where and what happened. Rarely are we in the moment, living through the events with the protagonist, hearing his real-time point of view. For me, this made it a bore to read.
Rowland Pasaribu
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Infinite Plan is different than Allende's other works: the protagonist, Gregory Reeves, is male and the setting is not in South America but in the United States. In addition, Allende attempts to cover broad historical time periods in the United States: the aftermath of World War II; the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s in Berkeley, California; the Vietnam War; and the materialistic, yuppie age of the 1980s. Furthermore, the novel is told in retrospect, so the reader does not understand ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Isabel Allende has been high on my list of writers to check out. The film adaptation of her novel House of Spirits knocked me out, so I thought it was reasonable to expect great writing from her in general. Silly me. The Infinite Plan has neither great writing nor a great story concept; in fact, I'd be hard-pressed to summarize a storyline at all. Character development is limited to characters getting older and having fairly predictable things happen to them, with little conversation or introspe ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this very much on a section by section level, but the book as a whole left me a little cold. It was quite sprawling, which I'm not overly fond of when I don't see a reason for it, and I often wondered what the overall arc was really doing. It felt lost and wandering sometimes. Then the ending just felt tacked on, like we just had the story of a life and someone trying to fix everything in the last small number of pages. I liked the characters and the story and the development along the w ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, culture
It is not often that I finish a book, then turn to the first page and start over. But I did that with this book. When I read that this was based on Allende's husband's life, I got deeply interested in what he had experienced growing up. Unreal compared to the settled world I grew up in. Imagine challenging a bully to a duel to see if you could both jump across the tracks in front of a speeding train. He makes it, the bully is smashed to smithereens. Allende tells that she actually had to leave o ...more
Jessica Loomis
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I feel that this book started off so strong, with Allende's magic and passion for story telling, but sometimes I think that her proliferation of ideas gets her into trouble. She has so much that she wants to say, so many characters and threads that all seems to need tied up at the end. Pages and pages of sweeping narrative at the end that went by quickly, but, for my taste, seemed rushed through.

If you like Allende, this is worth a read, though. It reminds me of Forrest Gump in a way, this sweep
Gigi Romano
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
The last 10 pages made the entire book. I actually cried a little bit, not going to lie. It just hit a little to close to home.

Besides the ending, the book was extremely tough to get through. Large sections left me super bored, and if I didn't have to read this for my class, I probably wouldn't have gotten through it. (Although I'm really glad I did.) The writing was great at some points, and extremely lackluster at others. The thing that got me the most about the novel was the idea of the "Inf
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Story about Gregory Reeves, a young man whose life extends from its peripatetic beginnings, on to the L.A. barrio, Berkeley, Vietnam, and life as a high-flying attorney. Numerous lesser characters, such as Olga, a family friend who serves as a local curandera, and Carmen/Tamar, an early girlfriend and almost-sister, provide opportunities for numerous plot developments and expansions. This novel lacks Allende's characteristic gushing verbal virtuosity. It is full and rich, but the writing is more ...more
Richard James
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me via a friend back in September 2008 by a wonderful and beautiful Dominican women in New York who stated Isabel Allende's books were fascinating and well written.

Since then I have read at least 5 of Allende's books and have also found them in Spanish to give to people as presents.

The crux of the story is about a boy who travels with his sister and mother, and the adventures and explorations he gets up, right into his adult lifetime.

I actually own three copies of
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have always heard that Isabel Allende is a wonderful author and this book certainly proves her ability to create characters that come to life and are believable. The Infinite Plan follows the story of a boy named Gregory Reeves who grows up in the Southwest of the US in the 50s. His father is a somewhat crazy but faithful man who preaches about the Infinite Plan that everyone is a part of. His sermons are different than evangelical mega church ones only in the sense that he doesn't follow Chri ...more
Gabriela larsen
Apr 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I have read every single book from Isabel Allende and always love them. This book is depressing and worst than a cheap low budget movie. Long and dark with not point or direction . Very disappointed.
Jill Manske
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I had read Allende's book, Zorro, which I liked very much. So I thought I'd give this one a try. It was very disappointing - excruciating detail and way too many characters. It was difficult to feel engaged with any but the main 2 characters because of the quantity of people and their stories. And there were some characters who made a 2-page appearance and were never heard from again. That's real life - we sometimes have very brief interactions with people. But it makes for a frustrating read. I ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
As I was finishing up this book on my train ride into work, a particular passage resonated with me. Allende does a masterful job of weaving together characters as they begin to know themselves and heal from old psychic wounds.

Later in the day, I was discussing new plans with my co-worker who said, "Thinking of yourself as a failure for moving back home is such a white people thing."

I immediately pulled out this book, because she reiterated the same passage that I found so significant earlier:
Loredana (Bookinista08)
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Incredible book!! I can't believe it's the same author as the Daughter of Fortune's. Though I'm not such a big fan of entire life stories (Forsythe Saga style), I completely enjoyed this novel, especially because of Allende's masterful story-telling technique. I can now understand her obsession with marginalized people's lives: they're simply fascinating! Moreover, she creates characters that stay with you long after the read is finished. I loved Carmen's character and detested Gregory's, but I ...more
Michelle Bacon
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't give her the same number of stars I give bad YA novels. BUT, I'm not sure it is really a 4. There is great beauty in this novel, some majestic writing, some keeper-characters, but there is also a loping repetition that can grate somewhat. I had the sense that the editor assigned to the book said, "Look, it's Isabel Allende: I can't make her cut the same number of pages I would the author of a bad YA novel." (Did you see what I did there? With the grating repeti ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books
The Infinite Plan was a book club selection which prompted an interesting discussion. The main character lacked self-awareness and reading his life story and watching him make the same mistakes over and over again was tedious. Some of us were bothered by that, others felt the ending was worth the read. The main character is based on the author's second husband, who apparently lived the full life explored in this novel. This is the author's first novel set mostly in the US and it was not as well ...more
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books i have read so far. The characters of this story are amazing. Each one of them goes through so much in life and yet they get back up stronger. I loved the story of Gregory , i loved that he was fragile , that he was a fighter in life and that he got back up again. I was reading this book through a flight to Amsterdam and from the moment i got up on the plane and to the moment it finished i could not put it down.
Karenbike Patterson
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Allende should stick to her mystical romanticism which she writes "without thinking." This new style of writing her first wholly American novel in a masculine voice feels remote and reads like a newspaper article. While it is semi biographical about her husband, it still reads dry and impersonal with two page paragraphs and stylized characters.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love Isabel Allende. This book, which was different than any of her other books that I have read (first one in the modern United States with a white, male lead) was stunning. I loved it, and it makes me want to reread all of her books that I have read in the past. She is an amazing writer.
Andrew Barnes
This book took me quite awhile to get through (with a major three month break to do my dissertation)! But the last part is just magical.
Rosco Betunada
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing


Wow. Señorita Allende knocks the ball out of the park. (¿Or is the park missing from the ball?)

This is the first (hopefully more before I expire) of her books I’ve read. I can say with all sincerity that this was a solid, engrossing, enjoyable read. I veritably “blew through” the almost-400-pages in a quick time for me (yeah, I DO the reading thing more slowly than most). About a month! (Especially when you consider it has taken me about TWO YEARS to read a couple of Pynchon’s e
Marie Belcredi
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in Allende's generous style, this book traces the story of Gregory Reeves and Carmen Morales who grew up beside him. From a nomadic life with a father who preached the Infinite Plan and a mother who grew distant and remote from her family, Gregory was in the thick of current history always struggling. Gregory seems at time an intelligent Forrest Gump and especially in his Vietnam days.
Gregory is driven by demons which have set upon him from the time his parents settle down and Gregory ha
Daniela Dobre
I always enjoy reading Isabel Allende. Almost all the time, no matter how engaged I feel in the actual reading of the book, after a few pages of adjustment and getting used to the style, I get immediately transported in the alternate reality of her books. Alternate reality which most of the time contains more or less magic/magic realism which I realised I actually like it in the books I read (see also Gabriel Garcia Marquez).

This book was no less than the other I've read of Isabel Allende (so fa
Patricia Johnson
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have never been disappointed with Ms. Allende's books. Her stories vary and are always well written. Her books are not like those authors who stick to one story plot (i.e. Nora Roberts, David Beldacchi, Tom Clancy, C.J. Box etc...) This is not to say that I do not like these authors, they are all good writers and I enjoy their writtings; but they always seem to stick to the same plots.

However, I always look forward to reading Ms. Allende's books as she gives us exciting and lovely written sto
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book and one that I highly recommend. It's a story that takes the reader through the much of the life of Gregory Reeves. It's a sad, depressing tale, but there was always that glimmer of hope that will keep you hanging on and rooting for poor Greg. I became his number one fan. The detail was vivid and full. The most disturbing section of the book takes place in Vietnam when Greg was a soldier. I literally felt his fear and his pain.

The story begins with Greg's parents - Ch
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reeve's initial enchantment with the university diminished at the same rate as his Chicano accent. By the time he graduated, he had concluded, like many others, that he had learned more in the street than in the classroom. A university education attempted to prepare students for a productive and docile existence, a project at odds with their increasing rebelliousness. Professors considered themselves more or less exempt from that earthquake; blinded by their petty rivalries and their bureaucracy ...more
Reading Badger
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book starts in the middle of the World War II, presenting a nomad family with two small children. The novel is focused on two distinct characters, Gregory (one of the kids of the traveling family) and Carmen (his childhood friend), and it’s written part from the author’s third person point of view and part as Gregory’s confession.
During the book, you will be a member of the hard life in the Hispanic Barrio of LA, of the Vietnam war and of a blooming San Francisco. You will know failure and s
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more
“Be careful what you ask of Heaven; it might be granted.” 36 likes
“When a man’s earning his living doing things he doesn’t like, he feels like a slave; when he’s doing what he loves, he feels like a prince.” 1 likes
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