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The Chalk Artist

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,759 ratings  ·  312 reviews
Tension arises in the love affair of a young artist for whom nothing is permanent and his girlfriend, a teacher who believes that things are meant to last, by the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist.

This is a compelling love story between two very different young people: Collin, a disarming chalk artist who thinks nothing of erasing his dazzl
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by The Dial Press (first published June 1st 2017)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  1,759 ratings  ·  312 reviews

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Larry H
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Whether she intended it or not, I feel like Allegra Goodman's newest novel, The Chalk Artist , is two books in one.

It's a love story of sorts between two dreamers who come from different backgrounds and share different perspectives on how to make their dreams come true. At the same time, it's also a look at the world of video gaming and virtual reality, and the way it pulls all different types of people into its wake. On the surface you wouldn't think that these two disparate halves could mak
Elyse  Walters
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
For the past 34 years .....every August is the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts. In past years it has attracted 150,000 people. Besides the art exhibitors-music - and - food - one of the biggest crowd-pleasers is the Street-Painting Expo--gorgeous murals by 'Chalk Artist'. They're extraordinary. Larger than life creations -all weekend long. This August 60 'chalk artist' will be sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly.
I attend every year - and every year I say the same thing, "how can the city just wash
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

I was a big fan of The Cookbook Collector, so I was anxious to read The Chalk Artist. Goodman’s writing has a bit of the poetic to it. Gorgeous descriptions.

The story involves the love of two disparate souls. Collin is a talented artist but he doesn't have much in the way of ambition. Happy to hold down jobs that barely pay the way he drifts along. Nina is a first year teacher. She comes from a well to do background; her father owns a company that creates popular online fantasy games. She wants
Ron Charles
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels-about-art
A surprisingly trite novel about the rocky romance between a graphic artist and a school teacher whose father owns one of the world's most lucrative online games. When the graphic artist gets a job drawing for her father's company, it seems like his big break has finally arrived. But the gamer company is unethical and abusive, and trouble ensues.

Nothing here feels fresh, unfortunately. The teacher storyline is the usual "well-meaning teacher struggling to reach disadvantaged kids." And the gamer
Robert Blumenthal
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am always impressed when someone can create an artistic work about something that I have little or no interest in and still captivate me. An excellent example of this is the Netflix show Stranger Things (the 80s are one of my least favorite decades, I'm not much of a kids' based horror fan, I have no knowledge or interest in Dungeons and Dragons), but I loved the first season immensely. Allegra Goodman has done this, IMHO, in The Chalk Artist, much of which is based on violent, fantasy video g ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The story of a romance and the obsessions of the video game community peripherally connect in Allegra Goodman’s latest novel. Privileged daughter, Nina, is a teacher in a tough Boston public school. Daughter of a video game CEO, she doesn’t ever need to work, but wants to make a difference in bringing literature to students. She falls in love with Collin, a struggling college dropout with a talent as a chalk artist. Much mention is made about the impermanence of his pictures—he erases his drawin ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dreamers. Do you have a dreamer in your family? I hope so; I'm lucky to have several, mostly artists and musicians. They can be frustrating, intelligent, sometimes dropping out of college, but succeeding finally, and oh so talented. Our chalk artist is like that, Collin can draw anything, but he's not sure what to do with it. He meets Nina who's trying to make her mark as a high school English teacher. Her father is the brilliant, wealthy owner of the most popular gaming software in the world. O ...more
Dayle (the literary llama)
RATING: ★★★☆☆/ 3.5 multifaceted stars.

REVIEW: If you follow my Instagram account then you might know that chalk art is kinda "my thing"...and if you don't follow my Instagram account, well, you're crazy! What are you doing with your life? I don't mean to toot my own horn here but, I'm kind of a big deal (or maybe that's just what my mom told me that one time right before she also told me I'm a crazy monkey). You know what? Nevermind, you do you, it's all good, no need to follow my Instagram.

Lolly K Dandeneau
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
via my blog
“He grew so intent on capturing her that sometimes he felt he had to get away from her.”

Some books remind you of things happening in your own life. With a daughter in college for Graphic Design and a son in college studying Game Design, the characters all felt familiar. Collin James is a chalk artist, he wipes away his art and it doesn’t last- nor does much else in his life. Naturally when Nina comes on the scene, love isn’t so easy to wash off.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Unlike the official blurb, I didn't consider this story a love story. Certainly there is a boy-meets-girl aspect to it, but there are many characters and layers of meeting that elevate it beyond a relationship drama.

The title: while our obvious "chalk artist" is Collin (the actual artist), my teacher-self immediately thought of idealistic teacher Nina as a "chalk artist" too. Certainly chalk gives us the idea of permanence and impermanence that weaves in and out of the different plot lines in t
Suanne Laqueur
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow, that was lovely.
Fred Klein
This novel focuses on four characters. Two are involved in a new romance, they being a talented young artist working as a waiter and an idealistic young teacher with a privileged background. Two are twins, a boy who is obsessed with virtual reality games and a girl who is insecure about her appearance.

I could not be happier that I am done with this novel so I don't have to read it anymore. Yes, I suppose I could have stopped earlier, when I lost interest, but I kept going, motivated by the fact
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it

Goodman is an author that I am generally into, though this one left me feeling a bit puzzled. It centers on an inter-related cast of characters in Cambridge, Massachusetts--a young teacher, her love interest (the titular artist), a couple of students at the school, and so on--and touches a bit on issues of class, though doesn't delve very deeply there. A lot of the action involves a new mmorpg that several characters are tied to, which is interesting. Basi
Jessica Woodbury
I have enjoyed several of Goodman's previous novels deeply but this is the second miss in a row for me. Goodman is insightful and wise, she portrays characters in a way that feels absolutely real and intimate. But the story here lacked momentum, the stakes never solidified.

There are several narratives here, and Goodman is talented as ever at allowing each character's personality and emotions to come through, to let you see them as very different people. Many of them are stereotypes: Collin the a
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs-netgalley
2.5 Stars

This was a tricky one. I really enjoyed some parts, but then they were immediately followed by overly descriptive chapters that dragged. It was a continuous cycle of hoping my interest would be piqued but not hitting the mark. Plus, some of the characters felt a little too "cookie-cutter."

There's Collin, the talented artist that lacks ambition. He creates extraordinary lifelike chalk drawings, but he's perfectly content with his job at a bar/restaurant. He becomes enamored with frequen
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it

The Chalk Artist
Allegra Goodman

What it's all about...

So...we have quite a few interesting characters in this unique book. The most noticeable to me were Nina...a brand new amazing artist...and Aidin...Nina's student and an amazing virtual game player. The virtual game just happens to be created by Nina's father and one that Collin is working on. He also has to work with Nina's uncle and that creates an area of turmoil for Collin. Oh...and Aidin has a twin sister with issu
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hate wish fulfillment books. They are lazy and unrelatable and just sad. Boy sees fabulously beautiful woman at the cafe where he works and falls in love. She turns out to be available and even more wonderful in person AND related to someone who can give the guy his dream job. This book made me want to vomit. Most uninteresting characters and plot ever. I think Allegra Goodman is one of the few authors I know who gets worse which each book.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 06, 2017 marked it as read-enough
Shelves: netgalley, kids
i have failed at this book. i love allegra goodman just about more than any reader in the world ever, but this book is not for me. it's about tender young love and it's twee and this, this tweeness, is exactly what i hate most in some of today's literature, YA or not. i don't have someone specific to blame but i'm going to pick jonathan safran foer, just for kicks. sorry, but i couldn't finish, not even close. i love allegra goodman because she is fiercely deep and intellectual, and this book is ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We're loving The Chalk Artist! Check out our full review here: ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The dramatic climax of this book is a poetry contest. I listened to that part while driving and the navigation interrupted the poems regularly, which kind of killed the magic for me. Still, the characters and their motivations felt real and were likeable, hateable, or at least relatable.

Although this is a good name for the book, I think the Chalk Artist was maybe the third most important character. For me it was about a teacher and a student, but this story wasn't introduced until halfway throug
Brett Beach
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love The Cookbook Collector, but I found this new novel disappointing; the book seems oddly focused, and as a result, the plotting feels disjointed. Perhaps this book was over-edited--it at times reads so thin, one wonders at all that could have remained in the novel. For example, Diana's transformation occurs in small bursts that don't quite track. Collin's mother and her group of friends are sketched in, at best. Nina's relationship with her father--one of the more potentially interesting re ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman
so I read a lot of Goodreads reviews on this book and it was crazy how different people have different opinions on this book not just on the story but what author's purpose was, the theme of the book, the characters, everything!
everyone got things differently from this book and it was not something that I realized while reading the book ofc and I think this is one of the best things about this book, so a plus point
So there were mainly two parallel stories goi
Howard Cincotta
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Want to create the next killer app? Read The Chalk Artist and take notes on the novel’s virtual UnderWorld and EverWhen games. If you can replicate just some of the special effects that author Allegra Goodman imagines, you might well have a winner on your hands.

Chalk Artist is either a parable about virtual reality, told as a romance, or the reverse. Either way, Goodman deploys an exceptional cast of attractive characters who must cope with multiple realities — virtual and physical — to find the
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
As Buddhist monks will toil for days creating a sand mandala, only to wipe it away, so in The Chalk Artist, a talented young artist creates beautiful, elaborate artwork in chalk and then erases it. He believes there is nothing permanent in his life and likes it that way - until he meets Nina. The novel also enters the addictive world of online gaming and its seductive lure. Goodman's description of one of the games, UnderWorld, was brilliantly done. I actually felt I was there in that other worl ...more
Heather Goodman
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story lines were mostly disconnected and loosely held together by coincidence. I would've given this 3 stars except for this: the affirmation of the practice of art for the joy of making itself, art's value, not in the public eye, but in the creator's joy, and the healing power of art. I needed that message. ...more
Andrea MacPherson
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved most of this book. But the sections on immersive video game playing were too lengthy for me, and took away from other, more urgent storylines. If that had been trimmed, would have been 5 stars.
Korie Brown
I like Allegra Goodman's novels, but this one felt a bit 'undone' to me. There's too much going on -- the gaming world, the corporate world, the school world, and the connections between each one sometimes felt forced. ...more
Lindsay Williams (Bibbidi Bobbidi Bookworm)
Readers who are drawn to The Chalk Artist based on the summary or a quick glance through the first few chapters are in for quite the surprise--this is not simply a tale of romance. The Chalk Artist follows the lives of several characters over the course of roughly a year, and although the relationship that two of those characters (Collin and Nina) enter into in the beginning of the book forms the basis for the story, it is far from the driving force. Collin is an extraordinarily talented artist ...more
Tammy T
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this, but found it to be a typical story of two people of different social & economic classes coming together and trying to make it work. It could have been very interesting, especially with the inclusion of the gaming aspect. But it just didn't work for me. ...more
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Hello, Good Readers! It's a pleasure to meet you!

I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Honolulu. When I was a seven year old living in Hawaii, I aspired to become a novelist--but I began by writing poetry and short stories.

In high school and college I focused on short stories and in June, 1986, I published my first in "Commentary." My first book was a collection of short stories, "Total Immersi

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