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Sleeping with Patty Hearst

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As America debates its most famous kidnapping case of the 1970s, a divided family in North Carolina copes with its own missing person. Lily Stokes searches for her half sister with help from her mothers boyfriend, a freewheeling man who likes Lily a little too much. While keeping secrets at home and then escaping into an odd marriage, Lily takes an imaginative look at her mothers notorious past and her sister s surprising future. Sleeping with Patty Hearst is a gripping coming-of-age story with edge and heart.

304 pages, Paperback

First published November 28, 2010

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About the author

Mary Lambeth Moore

2 books44 followers
Mary Lambeth Moore has lived in Washington, D.C., Boston and the southwestern mountains of Arizona, but she always comes back to her native North Carolina. Her work has been published under the names of executives, CEOs, civil rights leaders and national commentators. SLEEPING WITH PATTY HEARST is her first novel. Mary lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and 15-year-old son.

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5 stars
31 (35%)
4 stars
32 (36%)
3 stars
19 (21%)
2 stars
4 (4%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Robert Morrow.
Author 1 book14 followers
October 20, 2011
Sleeping with Patty Hearst is the finest work of literary fiction I have read in the last ten years---a great book by a writer who has the potential to be very influential on the American literary scene.

The characterization of this as a "debut novel" is technically true but somewhat misleading. Ms. Moore has extensive experience as a writer; it just so happens that she is now practicing this talent in the world of fiction. This book is written with confidence and courage; there are issues that Ms. Moore covers that the majority of Americans would prefer to wish out of existence (the positive and negative effects of family dysfunction, the soul-limiting impact of the practice of religion, and "inappropriate" expressions of sexuality that lie beneath the thin layers of our social facades). The character development and interplay are remarkable for their candor and authenticity and the Ms. Moore's descriptive powers are exceptional. The plot contains fascinating and unexpected turns that kept me on my toes; each time this happened, though, I had to admit that even though I didn't expect it, the twist was the most perfect choice Ms. Moore could have made at that point in the narrative.

The relationships developed through the narrative are realistic, particularly so because the characters drift in and out of each other's lives due to various circumstances and reasons. All are marked by varying degrees of self-and-other deception, as is the case in nearly all human relationships. This may seem like a minor point, but it illustrates how committed Ms. Moore is to truthful depiction of the human condition. We are not linear beings on linear paths; we grow, change, make mistakes, experience love and hatred for the same person at different times. Ms. Moore allows the characters to be true to themselves and exhibit both human virtues and deficiencies. You will find them both heroic and despicable at times, but there are very few novels in which the characters were so vivid, so genuine and so well-drawn as they are in Sleeping with Patty Hearst.

What is best about her writing style is I never felt she was laboring. I detected no "author noise" in the narrative, which is one of the hardest things for an author to do, especially when the narrative is revealed largely in the first-person by the lead character. The writing is so fluid that it seems effortless, even though we know the opposite is true. It takes great effort to appear effortless and I genuinely appreciated this exceptional effort by Mary Lambeth Moore.
Profile Image for Rick Bylina.
Author 9 books17 followers
February 22, 2012
About ten years ago, my book club read six books in a row, all women's fiction, in which all the male characters were scum of the Earth. As one of only two men in a group of fourteen, my testicles were constantly on the chopping block. "Sleeping With Patty Hearst" by Mary Lambeth Moore made me think of those days. In Lily's coming of age story, no man has a positive character litmus test, and I saw it coming early on. She does, however, rise up over my lowered expectations of male bashing and weave a story about two half-sisters with a Patty Hearst fixation. Moore draws us in with details, details, and more details into small southern town life, painting a strong picture of Lily's attempts to have some measure of normalcy in a dysfunctional family. Her mother, Lorraine, clings to a dubious past and hopes for rescue for a glorious future while Lily's sister, Connie, seeks to chart her own course in the world. At times funny and at times heartbreaking, the story pulled me on longer into the night than I usually read with some well-played twists and turns. For this reader, the ending felt abrupt, and I'm not entirely sure I understand the Patty Hearst relationship, which, at times, seems up front and center, and at other times, seems to fade into the background of the story. Nevertheless, these are minor criticisms of a strong debut novel with well-drawn characters and vibrant images. If your taste runs to women's fiction, this is a solid 5. For me, it's a really, really high 4.
Profile Image for Terri R.
21 reviews5 followers
March 19, 2012
I was delighted to receive this exceptional book through the author's gracious Kindle give-away and while it took me several weeks to get started once I began I found the story thoroughly engrossing and read it in a few short days.

The book may be classified as "women's fiction", but I felt it was more of a coming of age novel. Ms. Moore does an outstanding job in telling the story of two half-sisters with a self-absorbed, dysfunctional single mother and the cast of characters that help define their worlds and themselves.

While the basic plot is similar to that of a good soap opera, the writing skill and character development demonstrated by the author makes the story quite compelling--- filled with vivid imagery and many surprising "twists of fate". Ms. Moore established very realistic characters and relationships, which cause them to come to life to the extend that at times I had to remind myself that they were fictional. She also tackled some complex and difficult inter-personal topics with both courage and compassionate perspective.

I highly recommend Sleeping with Patty Hearst as a great curl up by the fire with a good book kinda read. It moves quickly and the writing is exceptionally fresh and well done.
69 reviews
October 24, 2011
It held my interest til the very end. It was eloquently written and kept me wanting more. The only thing this book left me wanting was another chapter. However, I can compeletly understand the sentiment between L and C at the very end. The sense of "and all is right with the world..... ahhhh". I can see this book being one of the VERY few I will read again and again. Thank you for giving us this wonderful escape into another life.
Profile Image for Andy Holloman.
Author 2 books1,121 followers
March 14, 2011

I was initially skeptical that this novel would hold my attention as it is not in a genre that I typically read, but boy was I wrong. Mary Lambeth Moore has woven a delightful tale with characters that tingle with personality, humor, and charm. Every time I finished a session reading the novel, my thoughts wandered back to the characters and what would happen next. Because I grew up in a small NC town in the 70's, I felt as if I was thrust back into that wonderful, innocent world again. I delighted in the trials and tribulations that the main character (Lilly) faced and she tried to navigate a world that, as a teenager, she was barely able to understand. When her sister (Connie) leaves her alone with their mother (Lorraine), Lilly's desperate search to find her sister kept me truly engaged at every turn of each page. Ms. Moore's use of the Patty Hearst saga that was unfolding at the same time was an incredibly intelligent device to allow the two sisters to "breakout" of their humdrum small town world and dream of a life on the run.

I wholeheartedly recommend Ms. Moore's novel to anyone that enjoys a well-crafted story, populated with people that are immensely entertaining, funny, and moving. Rush out today and buy this novel and be sure to tell a friend. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Moore's work. Hope it doesn't take too long for the next one to appear on the bookshelves.

....AH, Apex, NC
Profile Image for Ashley Memory.
Author 5 books11 followers
September 16, 2011
I was hooked the moment I read the first line of this exquisite book.

You were twelve and I was eleven when we sewed our fingers together. I clutched my hands behind my back while you threaded the needle, the thinnest you could find. You said I was being a baby. “We’ll be blood sisters,” you said.

As a child of the seventies, I could identify with the paradox presented by the themes of liberation and the ties of family. Yet Moore navigates the tricky emotional landscape with authority, compassion, and uncommon eloquence. Lily, the teenage protagonist, emerges as the strongest and most mature character in the story. I admired her loyalty to her sister and her desire to view her mother as sympathetically as she could. She overcomes the sting of heartbreak with courage and seems to ultimately recognize that she is responsible for her own happiness, which is a lesson for us all. I highly recommend this book and it will be one I will re-read many times.
35 reviews6 followers
October 11, 2011
I won this book through goodreads.com and boy was I wowed. I can't exactly pin point what it is I liked so much about this book but it has remained in my mind since I finished it.
Mary Lambeth Moore beautifully weaves together a story about half sisters, their dysfunctional, odd relationships with one another, with their mother and with the surrounding people in their lives.
It's a wonderful book about the evolution of one's self, of the relationships we have with others and the evolution of the general world around us.
Mary Lambeth Moore has created with great depth characters that are both endearing yet can make you shake your head with disgust due to their ignorance and with their lack of morals and values.
Sleeping with Patty Hearst was so full of heart and was a pleasure to read. I highly recommend this book.

Sleeping with Patty Hearst
Profile Image for Sheila.
Author 18 books43 followers
March 9, 2012
This book kept me reading from 6 o’clock to midnight, with only a few bathroom breaks, and even those were taken reluctantly! It was totally absorbing. The writing is brilliant, like watching the most accomplished, world-class ballerina. You don’t see the pain, the work, the frustrations, the effort, just the beautiful finished product, the art, not the artistry. I really loved this book. And I’m picky, easily offended by weak or not-quite-good-enough writing. This was a gem.
I received a copy of this book from the author, and I can’t thank her enough.
Profile Image for Bookmaniac70.
511 reviews91 followers
March 3, 2012
I downloaded this novel from Amazon.com for free, trusting the good reviews it has received, and I was not disappointed. Well, you are not going to find anything surprising in the plot. The story follows a well used pattern- single mother, early pregnancies, a rebel sister, running away from home. But the book makes a quite good absorbing read thanks to the vivid, clear language which gives you almost a visual and acoustic image of characters and scenes. I would be interested in exploring a second novel by the same author.
Profile Image for Lori Kikuchi.
8 reviews
September 6, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it twice - and that is very rare for me. I love the story of these three women, how they grow, and how they come to understand their relationships and themselves. The book is set in the 1970's in small-town North Carolina. Even though I am from New England, I had no trouble relating to this book. Really, how different is one small town from another? This book is honest; it touched my heart and made a lasting impression on me.
Profile Image for Susan.
3 reviews2 followers
October 19, 2011
I did not want the book to end. The characters were so vibrant i felt as if they were family. The anticipation of the sisters reuniting was at times unbearable. Family dysfunction is dealt with humor and grace. I will glady recommend this book to all my friends.
23 reviews
September 21, 2011
One of my favorite books ever. The characters captivated me and I couldn't put it down. The story is funny, tragic, happy, sad, and it leaves you at the end wanting more. It would make an amazing movie. I love this book. I've read it twice.
1 review4 followers
May 9, 2011
I absolutely loved the book! I couldn't put it down. I was so worried about the sisters getting back together, I had to keep going. Really hope she writes another one soon - I can't wait!!
7 reviews
September 25, 2011
Amazing and captivating work by a first-time novelist. The character development is superb.
Profile Image for Tammy.
561 reviews4 followers
December 11, 2013
This is a story of two teenage girls growing up in a home without much love with a single mom. The oldest girl was conceived by an encounter with the family gardener. Loretta was openly flirting with him and removing her clothes, he asked her to stop and to leave but she just laughed so he had his way with her even though she didn't want it to go that far. The next day the Gardner left without notice. Several weeks later she found out she was a pregnant teenager. Her mother made her take care of the child herself so she grew to resent the child because she couldn't be free. A couple of years later she had an affair with a married man and became pregnant with her second child. The girls clung to each other growing up. Getting love,affection and attention from each other because they weren't getting any from their mom. As the girls entered their teens they started planning on running away like Patty Hearst. After a night of heated arguments between the oldest daughter and the mother, the oldest daughter was kicked out of the house. Her sister spent months looking for her. The mothers boyfriend said he could help her find her sister for a price of course. So they entered into an affair behind her mothers back. She didn't mind much because she hated her mom.

I liked the easy flow of this story. I felt sorry for the girls growing up in that kind of environment. Once the oldest daughter ran away then the main focus was on the younger daughter looking for her or her relationship with her moms boyfriend.

The story wasn't about Patty Hearst. Patty was mentioned a couple of times. The girls were interested in her story so whenever there was a news story on about Patty they were glued to the tv.

This story was a good read. Enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Sharon.
602 reviews
October 10, 2011
I received this book from the First Reads giveaway.

This story is not about Patty Hearst. It is a story about two half-sisters in small town North Carolina. It takes place in the 70's, and a parallel is drawn between the running away and capture of Patty Hearst and that of Connie's (the older sister) running away. I found the book cover and title to be a bit confusing to the book's content.

This is the story of two half-sisters who grow up very close to each other. They live with their eccentric mother in an old mansion that the mom inherited with no money to keep it up. It is in disrepair and they live out of the second floor while running a resale shop from the first floor. The family is basically dysfunctional with mom drinking, smoking, an untrustworthy boyfriend, etc. The two sisters must learn to raise themselves. Mom favors the younger daughter Lily and the older daughter Connie runs away.

There are many twists and turns to the plot (some pretty disgusting) but it did generally keep me interested in wanting to know what would happen to the sisters. The writing and character development are good. This is the kind of book that would be good for book club discussions. I would rate it 3 1/2 stars.

Profile Image for Lisa.
133 reviews
August 29, 2012
I don't think this is a book I would normally pick off of a shelf, but I really liked it. The characters are all pretty likable, even though some of them are kind of crummy people. Most of them have had some pretty rough times so you can forgive them for some of their attitudes or behaviors. I wish that Patty Hearst was a bigger part of the story. It almost seems like that was edited in as an after thought, but never really became a part of the story. I also wish that we could have been inside connie's head a little more, but that might just be me. Other than that, the story was written very well. I had no problem placing myself in the time period and empathizing with Lily. I liked it.
Profile Image for Miller Sigmon.
10 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2016
I enjoyed this book......Interesting story line..well written...Character development was particularly well done.. Single Mother with two daughters by two different fathers who still believed she was the high school prom queen....There was a great deal of pain due to alcohol and sex......providing several surprises...at least for a small town in piedmont North Carolina......There was a "dark" side overall,but that was the story being told.....
5 reviews
March 28, 2011
I loved Sleeping With Patty Hearst, by Mary Lambeth Moore! It was a great character study of two sisters and the dysfunctional family in which they lived. The beauty of this book is that the writing is so seamless, I got lost in the story for hours at a time. Moore has a great talent for dialogue and for adding depth to all her characters. I really loved this book@
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,918 reviews35.4k followers
April 12, 2012
Mary Lambeth Moore is a great writer--AND a terrific storyteller!

I completely enjoyed this little 'gem'! (gotta thank our friends-*Sheila*- when they suggest a book to us). Thank you!
I never heard of "Sleeping with Patty Hearst" or Mary Lambeth Moore --until a couple of weeks ago.

I think most of my friends would be fully engaged with the characters, and the story.

Profile Image for Sara.
2 reviews
October 7, 2011
This story was engrossing. The charaters were interesting and complex. The ending left me hanging. I actually turned the last page thinking it was going to keep going. Would definitely read this author again.
Profile Image for Cindy White.
135 reviews
October 24, 2011
This book wasn't the best I ever read but it did keep my interest. I think the lesson is that no matter what these two sisters went through, in the end they were always there for each other.
2 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2012
Finished this book in 2 days...had a hard time putting it aside. I would highly recommend it!
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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