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His Favorites

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  743 Ratings  ·  123 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 th
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Published August 14th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Audio
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Diane S ☔
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Chelsea Humphrey
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.
Alison Hardtmann
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chris Carithers
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friendship
Sparse and eloquent... just a really perfectly constructed book that almost reads like a short story. Really lovely.
Carol Eshaghy
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Spotty and filled with run-on sentences that empty the story. There are better novels that tackle similar issues.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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...
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
A young woman's coming of age story, set in the late 70s (around my time, so the period references and attitudes resonated with me). There's cruelty here, both by and against the narrator, and only a hint of hope and justice at the end. I didn't care for the style: it seems overly descriptive of the school and setting, but gives short shrift to the characters. It's also told as a series of memories of the narrator's that aren't sequential, so there's a lot of going back and forth in time. Still, ...more
Cristina Lebron
3.5 maybe. Her writing was beautiful, the story was lacking.
Mark O'brien
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ben Vore
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Understand the beauty of a declarative sentence,” Master Aikens tells Jo, his pupil, in this slim, devastating novel of seduction and reclamation. By the end, the adult Jo — a 15-year-old when the charismatic, predatory Master enters as her English teacher at an elite boarding school — has turned his advice against him, shaping a narrative of her life which restores her place in it after being the victim of sexual abuse. What would be tawdry or sensationalist in lesser hands is wrought lyricall ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is when I hate choosing stars. "Liked it?" How can that apply to a terse, disturbing novel that in 148.5 pages takes on the consequences of a teenage tragedy, a broken family, being groomed for sexual abuse, cruel and ongoing negligence by adults and a challenging narrator? And written in a fairly minimalist, time-switching style? Reading this just days if not hours after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee I'm appalled by what is still happening ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought it was ok. I thought it was going to be different from what it was. Three friends are together at 15 and like to have fun and party more than they should. Once the tragedy happens the story is all about the one girl and how her life is changed and what happens to her afterwards though you find out more about what happened that night as you go along in the story. She is much older when she writes about this incident and her life in high school afterwards.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was torn between 3 or 4 stars. I wanted to give it more stars, because the writing is actually brilliant and the topic (a girl who is sexually abused by a professor at boarding school, but is shut down by the system when she tries to tell her story) is timely. It all feels very real. But it was also hard to read. Although not a long book, the narrative kept jumping all over and it was often hard to keep track of where in the timeline I'd events I was, or what was actually going on. This kept m ...more
My thoughts have yet to come together. Definitely, a well-told story with this reader’s knowledge of how unacceptable it all is, but how accepted it all was. Vivid to me, likely because I was a girl once. The school and teenage girl behavior so familiar. Well done. So tragic.
Jun 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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

This was a Parnassus First-Editions Club book. Short and sweet I decided to dig into it before I got started on my monthly book-club book. The sad, troubling message that I get out of it, is that women and girls are so often victims of sexual abuse and assault - even if it's less overtly violent - and that it's often so easy for men, society and other women to look the other way. I've always felt that way, and this book just strengthens that option. It's socially acceptable to abuse girls and wo ...more
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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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