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His Favorites

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,402 ratings  ·  235 reviews
From the highly acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award finalist and author of A Short History of Women, a searing and timely novel about a teenaged girl, a charismatic teacher, and a dark, open secret.

They were on a lark, three teenaged girls speeding across the greens on a “borrowed” golf cart, at night, drunk. The cart crashes and one of the girls lands violently in
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Scribner
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3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,402 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
DEVASTATING BUT TIMELY. Three young girls, fifteen, drinking, decide on a lark, stealing a golf cart for a wild, nighly ride, that has a horrific end. Enough so a mother feels the urgent need to give her daughter a new start, sending her away to a boarding school. What she encounters there will haunt her for the rest of her life.

The me too movement, the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, people entrusted with power of one sort or another, instead use it for their own gain. Preying on the wea
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pugilistic pack of punch, pop, pummel--at 160 pages--for this era of reckoning for men who've abused positions of power and trust to sexually assault, rape and/or sexually harass females. His Favorites sketches--in shades of charcoal looking back from today-- the type of mental devastation suffered by a woman who was violated as a 15-year-old at a private boarding school in the early 1980s, and the detritis, still, of dreams wrecked by a charming pedophile who targeted her among many others most ...more
Jennifer Blankfein
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
With sparse, lyrical language, author of His Favorites, Kate Walbert, shines a light on women’s rights as she tells us about Jo’s tragic and unsettling experiences. After being in a deadly accident at 15 years old with her best friends, Jo, a wild and now emotionally broken high school student is sent off to boarding school. Her life at home crumbled, her friendships broken, and the new beginning her life away at school had the potential of being is not going in the right direction. Memories and ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
I thought this was going to a winner for me. I love the plot- a 15 year old girl accidentally kills her best friend, her parents marriage tanks, and she finds herself at a boarding school where an English teacher preys upon his favorites.

But I found the writing style stiff and jumpy. So much is left unsaid, unexplained. For such a short book, it gets bogged down by long sentences and constant detours.

It is a short read, so if you like Walberts writing style, then you may very well enjoy this.
Karen Foster
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There are times when you just feel you are in the safe hands of a truly skilled writer.
As an older Jo narrates her tragic tale, looking back to when she is 15, she wanders off course, as memories materialize vividly, relaying her heartbreaking account, often veering away from the chronology. It’s as though she cannot bear to tell us what happened to her. And this kept me so gripped, anxious to discover her story.
The writing is sparse and exact, yet I really connected with Jo..... It’s a style I
Martie Nees Record
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
Pub. Date: Aug. 14, 2018

"His Favorites” is a slice of life story about the wealthy with two different plotlines connected by the female protagonist, Jo. It is written by the acclaimed American author Kate Walbert. Similar to Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, “Prep,” this tale is a powerful coming of age story that spotlights (no matter how rich you are) the vulnerability and powerlessness of female girls. Unlike “Prep,” there is no laught
Chelsea Humphrey
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
I think it comes down to the fact that this one just wasn’t for me. I wanted more, and it wasn’t what I had expected from the blurb on the back. The writing is excellent though, and I would be interested in reading another plot from Walbert in the future.
Emma Eisenberg
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A stunner of a nugget, but ultimately unsatisfying for me sadly. On the sentence level Walbert slays, but the ambition of this book simply feels bigger than 149 pages allows, no matter how artfully arranged. I would have liked to see this book more fully imagined & realized. The Master and those at the boarding school read like cartoon villains, when perhaps what is most insidious about predators in these environments are the ways they are also human. Would have liked to see more bodies on t ...more
Alison Hardtmann
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
His Favorites by Kate Walbert is a novel best read with as little knowledge about it as possible. The book begins with fifteen-year-old Jo hanging out with her two best friends one night, when they decide to steal a golf cart and go joy-riding around the course.

His Favorites is a very short novel, that covers a lot of ground, but each paragraph and sentence is so well-crafted, and the book is so well put together that it has the impact of a much larger work. If you decide to read it, I highly r
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, 2018
Honestly if this weren't so short, I might have abandoned halfway through.

Jo kills her friend when recklessly driving a golf cart late at night, and so she gets sent away to boarding school, where she is preyed upon by a teacher.

This a plot that I would expect to like, but the characters are never properly developed and the issues not fully explored. The writing is lovely but meandering.

Would not recommend.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
This was really excellent. I remember how Walbert's A Short History of Women left me kind of cold, but this short novel struck me. The final image is incredibly sad and very powerful. After reading this I am all the more infuriated by Betsy DeVos's proposed new "protections" for the accused in school sexual harassment/assault cases.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m being generous with the three stars; this tale was a waste of time. Too many stories out there like it, but written much better, or simply true.
A short, stylish book. Minimalist, but very pointed. A young girl is sent to boarding school after a tragic accident; She's vulnerable--only 15 years old--and the perfect target. What happens next is all too believable.

It's a story of power dynamics, both between genders and also among the same sex. Perhaps the most convincing thing about this book is how familiar the story feels. You could be listening to a friend, who is telling you their past in a whisper, or reading a headline. Walbert writ
Chris Carithers
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I should have smashed those spectacles to glass so fine he would never not remember how I ruined his vision - decisive, quick, imperative - and wrecked that world of his own making, its heroes, its scholars, it founding members, generals, politicians, row after row after row after row of men and not real and not true for me, for me, not how I was, or what I saw and thought. Not anything. I could have; I should have; I did not.

But I was fifteen. I could no more have formed those words, those th
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is so much packed into this small book. The author conveyed such emotion and fully drawn out characters with few words. But, nothing was missing and the story resonated so much personally and with what’s going on in the world today.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Spotty and filled with run-on sentences that empty the story. There are better novels that tackle similar issues.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

Idk wth is going on here, but there was no point in trying to get to the end of this when it wasn't making any sense at all. Maybe there is a story in there somewhere, but I have no idea what it might be. It jumped around. The run-on sentences were ridiculous. No characters w/ any, well, character. Sadly, nothing of interest here. The description on goodreads is as good as it gets with this thing. Hate it, but there you have it

Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Contains some of the longest run-on sentences that I have ever read. So long that I had to read them again to remember what the subject of the sentence was meant to be. For example, pages 51 and 52. The book is difficult to follow as it jumps around in time without any indication.

While the topics are relevant, the execution and resolutions/conclusions of them are lacking. At least, for me. As they say, to each his own.

Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friendship
Sparse and eloquent... just a really perfectly constructed book that almost reads like a short story. Really lovely.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
Where is the follow through? What's with the time skipping? There's no indicators to time skips. There's not really any reasons for them either. The plot is so convoluted and backwards I just...
Carol Eshaghy
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little gem of a book, narrated by Jo. It’s about losing her best friend in a drunken golf cart accident and the aftermath. While it addresses the #MeToo movement it is more the story of a young, vulnerable 15 year old and the effect the tragedy has on her and her family’s life.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
I regret reading this book. There's a huge set-up - a deep dark, premise that is intriguing - yet the actual plot is a complete let down.

That being said, I felt like the actual story was true to real life. The author describes several instances of female characters being abused, violated, let down, etc. in many contexts. The result is sort of a "free association" or train-of-thought retelling of the author's experiences being abused by a teacher. This fits with how we often remember stories, co
Mark O'brien
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a dark, remarkably well-written novel about a teenage girl who accidentally kills her best friend. As her parents' marriage deteriorates and the community shuns the girl, she is shipped off to a boarding school where "the cool teacher" preys on her. The sentences are rich with detail and move left and right, all part of a sadly compelling story.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really really liked this book. Beautifully written and powerful bildungsroman and examination of abuse/trauma. It is, at times, graphic in its depiction of sexual abuse of a minor so go into it with a CW warning. The theme of the narrator taking control of her story and her truth is a very powerful one.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book really broke my heart, it was not an easy read, but I’m so glad I read it and literally hugged the book when I was done. The last few pages had me weeping. The material is timely, and a reminder of how awful and real and permanent trauma is. She’s a great writer with a strong point of view.
Cristina Lebron
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 maybe. Her writing was beautiful, the story was lacking.
Ray Sinclair
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the 1980s, a 15-year old girl joy rides a golf cart on a golf course with two girlfriends. She wrecks it and one of the other girls sustains mortal injuries. The driver heads off to boarding school to avoid the hate visited on her and her family by an unforgiving community. For different reasons, her parents are simultaneously breaking up.

Most of the story occurs at the boarding school where the girl experiences hurtful and vengeful cliques, loneliness, sexual and intellectual awakening, remo
Emily Cullen
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
In a drunken driving spree in a golf cart, Jo accidentally kills her best friend. Fleeing her hometown she enrolls at a prestigious boarding school where a professor who is aware of her vulnerability begins what I will just say is an inappropriate relationship with her. Told from Jo's perspective many years later, this is a short book that is a spot-on commentary for the "#metoo-ers" and those who are not.
Jan Thullen
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful audio performance

Jo gives her testimony, describing a boarding school literature teacher who preyed on her vulnerability. She had been the driver in a fatal accident (golf cart, night, drinking, a passenger thrown) and her family soon fell apart.

The audio performance felt dreamlike in the first few chapters. I switched to the book at this point, immersed in this difficult and timely story.

Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A "me too" story of a young woman burned at every turn and a teacher who thought he was bringing her enlightenment. Very short, an essay almost. I liked the writing, I could have had more. As is, I felt cheated and thought the character was too. Probably the point, but so understated I guess I missed it.
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Kate Walbert was born in New York City and raised in Georgia, Texas, Japan and Pennsylvania, among other places.

She is the author of A Short History of Women, chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2009 and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize; Our Kind, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2004; The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the 2002 Connecti
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“I should have smashed those spectacles to glass so fine he would never not remember how I ruined his vision - decisive, quick, imperative - and wrecked that world of his own making, its heroes, its scholars, it founding members, generals, politicians, row after row after row after row of men and not real and not true for me, for me, not how I was, or what I saw and thought. Not anything. I could have; I should have; I did not.

But I was fifteen. I could no more have formed those words, those thoughts, than flown to the moon.”
“So here is what actually happened, what happens still: the scene on its parallel track to now, to me: linear and constant, never passing into the past, never speeding into the future.” 0 likes
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