Jennifer Wood
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Agnes I found the characters stiff, without life, and the style of the writing very forced. You could feel the sweat of the author trying to craft sentences, but they were not flowing. I wanted to like this book just because of its connection to Minnesota, but the unnaturalness of the characters was alienating.
Peg Manning I'm not sure why the ending is seen as unhappy. Marina has made several important transitions. What would have made it "happy"? Bringing Easter to Minnesota? That's questionable. Certainly not a romance with Anders. Minnesota seems like a lovely fresh canvas at the end of the book.
Claire Fuller I didn't mind that the ending wasn't perfect for the characters - it couldn't have been given that in a way Easter had been kidnapped. Even if he didn't really remember his parents, he needed to be returned (esp. given that Marina was returning the US and it wouldn't have been right for her to take him, and the doctor was old). My issue was that it felt like Patchett needed to find a solution and this was the best one given the circumstances, and so it felt a little over-plotted.
Judy Lindow It did seem like the ending was either a dead end or left a lot open, so I'm glad I saw this question to think more about it. On the positive side, M's future is wide open. I don't think that's 'sad' - it's more like making room for a followup book. On the positive side - she has been released from her escape from the tragedy she 'd agonized over for a lifetime. Her relationship with her mentor was actualized. She is needed and invited back to be 'heir to the thrown' as her mentor's replacement. M has given the greatest gift to K and A. She has abided by the rules of jungle and returned E to his community and she is beloved by all. She also has a clear picture of Mr. F real feelings and lack of intention, imo. The malaria research is still on track. Yes, it was sad that Easter was abandoned - however the child really more 'returned' that abandoned, as is the law of the land. It was sad when the Dr. "says, but you gave him my boy" ... but she is such old hen that always seems to be 2 steps ahead of everyone, survival wise, she seems OK with the idea that he'll make his way back. I was disappointed that Barbara was not explained (I thought for sure she was a daughter out of wedlock).
Jun X ...It...did not have a happy ending though.
SPOILER ALERT

Marina betrayed Easter. Abandoned him. It's been made explicitly clear that Marina herself has been abandoned again and again by almost everyone. Her father, her mother symbolically by not telling her about the Lariam. Dr. Swenson when she accidentally blinded the kid. Mr. Fox for...being a quietly awful human being

The ending was happy for Anders. Not for Marina. Anders can move on from this, but it would be impossible for Marina, since she's pregnant with a married man's child. She inflicted what was inflicted on her her entire life. Marins is changed forever. It seemed to make perfect sense, because Anders's happiness just underlined Marina's own trauma. She has no one to go back to, and she abandoned everything she loved.

I agree with you that the ending made me super bummed. It seems like we became depressed for opposite reasons though somehow.
Judi Agree with Andrea, if you are choosing this read from my page or recommendation, I apologize. " I was super bummed by the ending " might have been sufficient.
Andrea Wow, I'm in the middle of reading this & this review just showed up on the page. Would be nice to use a spoiler alert!
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