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Here on Earth

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  45,330 ratings  ·  1,679 reviews
After nearly twenty years of living in California, March Murray, along with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Gwen, returns to the sleepy Massachusetts town where she grew up to attend the funeral of Judith Dale, the beloved housekeeper who raised her. Yet returning to her hometown also brings her back to Hollis, March’s former soul mate and lover. March’s father had taken th ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Berkley (first published 1997)
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Olivia Gordon I would say yes, but the answer depends on what else you have read. By the time I read 'Here On Earth', I had read 'Lolita' as well as my other favori…moreI would say yes, but the answer depends on what else you have read. By the time I read 'Here On Earth', I had read 'Lolita' as well as my other favorite of Alice's - 'Practical Magic'. If you are comfortable with the sexual content of her other novels, then you should be fine. What most folks seem to find difficult to read in this novel is the theme of infidelity; again, if you are comfortable with reading a fictional story that involves that theme -- then yes, you can read this. It is in my top 5 favorite books, so I may be biased :)(less)

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fulfilling book riot's 2018 read harder challenge task #13: an oprah book club selection

extry points given to me, by me, for choosing a book that i have owned for more than a year.

it has been a long time since i have given a book a two-star rating, but this book earned it.

i’m not someone who takes delight in negativity, and even if i’m not in love with a book, i’m usually able to find something neutral and deflecting to say about it, or at the very least, i'm able to suggest the correct audienc
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american
False Empathy

Nostalgia is not my thing. But it’s something Alice Hoffman does very well. Narratives about Dickensesque orphans, lost loves, family dislocation, the past in general appeal to many but I find them saccharine, precious and vaguely morbid.

Nostalgic sentiment abounds in Here on Earth. But it is artificial sentiment. No one could possibly remember the details of conversations thirty years earlier, or the subtle emotions involved. Yet here they are verbatim as if they were being played
Jul 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
I'm technically not even done reading this book yet and I'm seething with hate for it. Seething!!

The entire plot of this book is that love gives you license to be selfish, irresponsible and act like a jerk. I hate the two main characters SO MUCH. They deserve everything that happens to them. I can see the conclusion coming a mile away as well. It's taking everything I have to finish it.

Oprah - you got this one SO wrong!

Awful. Don't bother.
First off, I loved this atmospheric, picturesque tale, meant for a women's audience.

The Entertainment Weekly summarized the story as:
"Her books unfold artfully without feeling fussed over or writing-workshopped to death ... [In] Here on Earth, she plumbs the interior lives of, among others, a drunken recluse, a heartsick teenage boy, an angry daughter, a near madman, a cuckolded husband, and three wounded women, with such modesty and skill that she seems to witness rather than invent their liv
Zoe B
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved, LOVED it!!!! Ok so if this book was food, it would be a hot fudge brownie with caramel sauce - really, really good, at first comforting, but then it makes you kind of sick. Now this isn't a book for everyone, not everyone can stomach so much passion and long lost love. I, on the other hand, could ingest this stuff until the cows come home - and no sweet has ever been too much for me (cotton candy - bring it on! Candy apples - bring em on!).

I was immediately whisked away and
Joe Mossa
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was ok

i may have become a snob after reading so many important books in the past three years,but this writing is terrible. if i were to count the cliches hoffman uses ,i wouldn t be able to follow the narrative. after i read that she was imitating WURTHERING HEIGHTS, i decided i had a duty to finish the book which i had thrown down in disgust after reading page 213. read my other posts to see what happened there. charles dickens got away with melodrama so i guess we can excuse a contemporary writer f
Bodosika Bodosika
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Alice Hoffman weaves an interesting tale,though my first book by the author and though I rated it 3stars,I will like to read another of her novel.
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: female-author
This is a dark romance. A woman goes back to her home town for a funeral, taking her teenage daughter with her. The woman comes back into contact with an old lover who had a strange hold over her when she was younger. It's an oddly compelling story.
Karen Powell
Horrible novel- how'd it make it on Oprah's list? Hoffman spent so much time trying to align the plot to "Wuthering Heights" that she forgot to be original and make the story her own. The result is a perversion of Emily Bronte's tale that completely misses the point. [return][return]March travels back to her hometown with her teen daughter Gwen for the funeral of her Nelly Dean-esque housekeeper. There, she meets up with Hollis, her childhood love that got away. The renew their love, but Hollis ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Congrats Here on Earth, you win the title of my leave favorite book of all time. Never in my life have I loathed a book so much. We are reading this book for my book club this month, and from the start I was skeptical. You know I love Oprah, but one thing I know for sure is that we do not have the same taste in books. Oprah picked this book as her book club pick back in 1998 and I honestly don't know what she was thinking. The book itself is written beautifully - I mean thank goodness - because ...more
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Literary Lovers/ Hoffman fans
What I've learned from this book: that if you read enough Alice Hoffman, you eventually get so used to her writing that you can't put her books down. Now that might just be a generality, but after a few hits and misses, I've really enjoyed her last three books and this one, much like "The Ice Queen," was really fantastic.

March returns to her hometown to mourn the death of a woman she and many others held dear. But she also returns to a world in which, as a young girl, she was immersed into a lo
Oct 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Parts of this book were very good - it sort of wraps you into this small town, nostalgic way of life, that I really appreciated. It was good to read now, at the end of October/November as things get cold, since the FALL and WINTER weather actually really comes alive for her.

I just am not convinced, can I say that...I didn't really like the turns the characters took, and I didn't really feel the characterization very much. They were more stereotyped and superficial than I could fully get behind.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
This quite possibly rates the worst book I have ever read. The characters range from stupid to hedonistic The only reason I finished was that I hated the main character so much, I was hoping to read of his undoing. I did briefly believe that either the friend Susie or the daughter Gwen would make this a much more enjoyable book by putting Hollis in his place, but alas that happens quite anti-climatically with him destroying himself, and they end the book not as near as strong characters as could ...more
Dec 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to June by: Elissa
Shelves: romance
This was a quick read for me. A scary portrayal of infatuation, fear and love. A sad portrayal of what happens when someone loves 2 people. I really like the character, Gwen - I thought she was a great representative for teenagers.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Okay... can I just say... "Wow. Wow. Wow."

Alice Hoffman really makes me happy. She's full of fanciful quirk -- not the harsh, dry quirk of carefully selected oddness, but a more delightful whimsy that seems to spring straight from the emotional side of nature.

This book really won my heart, even though the ending was contrived and lacking in climax, which honestly, I'd half-expected since this book falls somewhere under the mainstream/literary spectrum. Okay, okay -- I saw her setting the climax
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Recognize this story? Wealthy father brings home street urchin, sister likes him, brother not so much. Already damaged by life on the streets and experience in juvie, he is pushed over the edge by the brother's rough treatment. Obsessed with acquisitiveness, he takes off for parts unknown, makes his fortune, and returns to buy up everything that belongs to those who've annoyed him.

If you guessed Wuthering Heights, you'd be correct - one reviewer drew that comparison, and rather gushingly. This b
Aug 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book but try as I might, I couldn't find very many redeeming qualities in it. Both the setting and the characters were stereotyped and cliched and I had a difficult time taking the novel very seriously. It was set in a stereotypical small town with very predicable characters such as the outcast, the gossip,and the recluse. As far as fiction goes, this novel brought nothing new to the genre and only succeeded in boring me with shallow characters who had no qualities t ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Hoffman has written a new version of Wuthering Heights, this time set in a remote, modern day New England village. Hollis is the dark-eyed orphan heartthrob brought into the Murray household. March is the spitfire who falls insanely in love with Hollis (and he returns the favor). Alan is March's slimy brother who persecutes Hollis. By and large, Hoffman follows the original plot faithfully, but it is her own lyrical prose which puts a pleasant spin on Brontë's dark tale of obsessive love. ...more
Dec 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Although this is a good read, it is a somewhat odd book. It deals the underside of "love" - in this case, obsession, control and abuse. This is the mother's story. The daughter's story deals with redemptive of qualities of love. And other supporting characters demonstrate other sides of love: selfless love, forbidden love and disappointed love. As I write this, I realize I should have liked this book much more than I did, given the themes. The problem may be that the primary character - the moth ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance
I wasn't expecting much from this book to begin with, but my god, this was so bad! It had no creativity or originality; it was so generic it wasn't even funny. And the dialogue all sounded choppy, forced and artificial. The characters were totally unmemorable, there was very little imagery and it dragged on at many parts.
”'If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave.’”- Wuthering Heights


It’s Like Kryptonite: Every reader has their kryptonite- a genre or trope that they just can’t seem to stay away from and that
Nikita T. Mitchell
May 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: forever-faves
I must say that I am in love with this book. It has made it to the top of my must read list (for others of course). I have read a lot of reviews online of the book - there are tons since it was an Oprah Book Club selection. I realized that many comparisons are made between this book and Wuthering Heights by Emile Brontë. Let me just say that I read it in highschool and strongly disliked it - its not nice to say hated, you know. I must admit it seems like Hoffman stole some of her basic plot from ...more
Apr 27, 2018 marked it as given-up
DNF at page 38.

This is a modern version of Wuthering Heights. I liked Wuthering Heights but I didn't love it. I'm glad I read it because it is a different classic, and a different romance. The fact that I buddy read it helped a lot. Now, I don't think I can't go through this again. I disliked every minute I spent with this book. This is the second book I tried by Alice Hoffman and the second I DNF. Maybe she is not my type of author. I still have some by her in my TBR. Let's see.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Wells
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Alice Hoffman, especially when her books veer into the magical or the mythic, in books like Practical Magic or the Ice Queen. But even when her characters aren't blatantly magical, her stories have a mythic, and even allegorical quality, that I love. This is true of Here On Earth, which is the Bluebeardian story of a woman who comes back home and revisits the desperate love affair of her childhood.

This book gives the first impression of being a romance, but it doesn't take long
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful treatment of some familiar themes: "coming home" and "abusive relationships".

March Murray returns to her childhood home when the woman who was her caretaker - nanny, housekeeper, cook - dies. Judith Dale took over when March's mother died when March was very young, and stayed in the family house after the Murray family had all left it, by permission. March is here in Jenkintown, on the east coast, with her teenage daughter Gwen, to attend the funeral and to attend to Judith's remainin
Oct 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
Hoffman did a wonderful job in writing this book. The characters have a lot of depth and are brought to life with her vivid words. Her writing style in this book is very descriptive and sometimes poetic. The way she describes love is so profound, it’s not the sort of description that is lengthy and you want to just skim over, no, it’s lyrical and holds your interest.

Now, the characters, hmmmm, where to begin? They are so real and my distaste for March and my strong dislike for Hollis are also r
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This story is not a feel good story. It isn't romantic or sappy. The characters have serious flaws and many of them are unlikeable. However, the book was a compelling read about love. The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of love. Its about the depths a person will go to, or the things a person will forsake, ignore, or settle for in the name of love or what they believe is love. This novel portrays a rather dark side of love that borders on an obsession or a sickness in the case of Hollis and Ma ...more
Oct 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
The main idea of this story is about a girl who goes back to her home town with her daughter and falls back in love with her childhood sweetheart who's not very sweet. She left her husband and ended everything good in her life for this man. She learns her lesson and leaves before it's too late. That's all. This book took almost halfway to actually get into. Once you do get into it, you read and you read and then the climax comes and there's some sort of closing. It's the way 99% of books are wri ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Page Count Update 4 13 Apr 09, 2020 07:59AM  
Endicott Mythic F...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Here on Earth - Discussion 11 68 Apr 09, 2014 03:01PM  
Judith Dale and love 2 41 Nov 04, 2007 04:56PM  

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Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is The World That We Knew. She lives near Boston.

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