Despite a slow start and several sections of the book where the dialogue felt disingenuous, I truly enjoyed the novel. Pessl attempts several inventivDespite a slow start and several sections of the book where the dialogue felt disingenuous, I truly enjoyed the novel. Pessl attempts several inventive concepts, most of which play out to her benefit. In general, I'm not turned off by novels written by self-important twenty-somethings (example: I still love Dave Eggars, a bit). If you are, though, don't attempt this book. The concepts I found darling you might find tedious....more
One of the things I enjoy about Bill Bryson is that his books are always great to read right after something heavy or intense. He's funny and observanOne of the things I enjoy about Bill Bryson is that his books are always great to read right after something heavy or intense. He's funny and observant, and I've never once found him offensive. In this collection (originally articles for London's Night and Day magazine), he handles all of his topics lightly. It isn't fluff, though, it's thoughtful, and Bryson truly finds the humor in American lifestyle that most Americans wouldn't ever think of....more
This is my very favorite book and, in my opinion, far superior to "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."
I was not an adolescent when I read it--I was 23--buThis is my very favorite book and, in my opinion, far superior to "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."
I was not an adolescent when I read it--I was 23--but I was astonished by how often McCullers was able to perfectly describe what I had believed to be indescribable experiences. In some ways I think that my attachment to the book grew from my ability to relate to Frankie's anxiety. The pace of the book, which all takes place during one stereotypically oppressive southern summer, becomes more frantic as Frankie's anxiety mounts. Her efforts to belong, to be a member of something, push her to force attachments with others even while she knows they are superficial. I'm certain that, on this point alone, readers who remember the desperation to belong during their adolescence will relate to the novel. McCullers also conveys Frankie's longing for something to happen, to take her beyond the repetetive tedium of her young life and infuse it with adventure. When Frankie takes this task into her own hands, the results are harsh and startling.
What truly makes McCullers and this slim novel so amazing is her prose, which is both so sparse and crisp and yet so eloquent and expressive. Every word seems so deliberate that I couldn't believe there could be a more perfect way to depict the scene. At the novel's start, I will always remember the sentence, "At last the summer was like a green sick dream, or like a silent crazy jungle under glass."
I wish I could convey how much this book gripped me. It made me feel that my experiences were shared in a much deeper way than I ever could have imagined or hoped. "The Member of the Wedding" is funny, distressing, and deeply sad: as perfect a novel as I've ever read. ...more
The first half was exceptional. I was so often drawn in to the characters' lives. I eagerly awaited the point whereI wish I could rewrite this book.
The first half was exceptional. I was so often drawn in to the characters' lives. I eagerly awaited the point where it would become obvious that Clare and Henry were meant to be together. As I reconsider the novel and the expectations I held while reading this half, I can't help but realize how deeply I was disappointed by the second half. I often felt that Niffenegger lost touch with her characters as the novel progressed. Rather than feeling as though the love between Clare and Henry deepened as their lives became more complicated, their characters started to unravel. Story lines were picked up, only to be dropped abruptly without explanation. Side characters were pigeonholed to an almost insulting degree. And the time traveling, which provided such substance and meaning to my understanding of Clare and Henry early on, added very little value my experience of the second half of the book, except to infuse everything with dread. Ultimately I was waiting for the novel to amaze me, which, unfortunately, it did not.
There were many things I loved about the book, not the least of which is how heavily detailed it was. I only wish that the potential it held for me could have been reached. ...more
Let me say straight-away for all you naysayers harshly criticizing my taste: this book is not what you expect it to be. It's wonderful. It's funny, anLet me say straight-away for all you naysayers harshly criticizing my taste: this book is not what you expect it to be. It's wonderful. It's funny, and sad, and sweet, and ultimately so satisfying you wish it could go on and on. I love Jane Austen, but you need not have read all of her books to enjoy this one. Reading this book was such a pleasant surprise, I promptly forced two loved ones to take it on as well. They loved it, too. The "questions for discussion" bit at the end was also hysterical--don't skip it. In conclusion: don't be a hater....more