I am conflicted about reviewing this book, based on what the protagonist has been up to since the book was published. In light of that, its difficultI am conflicted about reviewing this book, based on what the protagonist has been up to since the book was published. In light of that, its difficult to know how much of this story is actually true and how much is a fabrication. However, I did find the book to be an interesting and coherent read.
The book tells one family's experiences in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Kathy Zeitoun packs up her children and leaves the city as the warnings start coming in, her husband Abdulrahman decides to ride it out like the many other storms the city has seen. He spends almost 2 weeks helping rescue people and feeding dogs, while having very little contact with his family. He was picked up by police and the National Guard under suspicion of looting and terrorism. He was held in various makeshift prisons without being allowed to let his family know where he was or access to lawyers or court proceedings. He and Kathy fought to be reunited and to have the charges against him dropped.
I have not read much about Hurricane Katrina beyond Five Days at Memorial so this was quite an eye-opening look at what things were like for the people in the city. It was heartbreaking to read about the elderly people who were not able to leave their homes, and the animals that were left behind. Though, towards the end of the book, there was looting and other dangerous things going on, it definitely didn't seem to be to the level as I remember the media painting it out to be (however, see my disclaimer at the top of this review). The imprisonment part at the very end of the book seemed fairly brutal though. I think it does show how much disasters like this can cause us to revert to some of our baser instincts and how difficult it can be to keep law and order in situations like this. It was quite scary to think that anyone could find themselves in a situation like this.
Its a pretty good read, and I do recommend reading it if you want to learn more about the hurricane. However, it is one family's story and there may be some issues with the veracity of it, so keep that in mind while reading. The audiobook was ok, but the narrator read very slowly and had a habit of dropping his "s" sounds at the end of words so it was very difficult to understand sentences sometimes. ...more
I read this for my book club in July. It was a very slow start for me and the jumping around in time was difficult to deal with (especially on audio),I read this for my book club in July. It was a very slow start for me and the jumping around in time was difficult to deal with (especially on audio), but the last half of the book was quite good. The story does remind me of a Scandinavian Forrest Gump with an R-Rating. Allan, the main character, ends up all over the place and meets all kinds of world leaders. However, I found Allan's modern-day exploits after escaping from the nursing home much more entertaining. I think the book could have done with less backstory. It was not my usual cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. I watched the movie as well, and I have to say that the movie was better; better pacing, more coherent storytelling, etc. ...more
I picked this book up because it was selected as the June book for my book club. I knew nothing about it. When I first heard the title and the author,I picked this book up because it was selected as the June book for my book club. I knew nothing about it. When I first heard the title and the author, I thought it was going to be some sort of romance written by a male author, but it was actually the story of a Georgia town in the 1930s and the people who live there, and it was also written by a 23-year-old woman.
The book is dark and bleak, but it is a powerful book about our relationships with other people and how we sometimes get trapped in our own way of seeing the world. The focus of the story is Mr. Singer, a man who is deaf and mute, but is befriended by four very different people throughout the course of the story: a teenage girl, a transient radical, an African-American doctor, and a diner owner. Each of them bares their soul to Mr. Singer and make him into what they need him to be, but no one really takes the time to know what goes on in Mr. Singer's head.
There is a lot that happens in the book and in some ways it felt like To Kill a Mockingbird, because of the small town feel of the story. Each of the characters has a unique perspective on life and in some cases you get to see how events affect different characters differently. The book also cover a lot (and I mean A LOT) of social issues: racism, poverty, workers' rights, women's rights, etc. Its frustrating at times to read because 80 years after the publication of this book we are still dealing with all of these issues.
Overall, I found this book interesting and connected with some of the characters a lot. However, at the end it just didn't feel like there was much of a point, and a lot of things that I thought would be revisited never were, which was a bit frustrating. It was a good book, but only a 3 star read for me....more
I picked this book up because it sounded interesting, I always like hearing various points of view on an issue. The book is made up of essays from sixI picked this book up because it sounded interesting, I always like hearing various points of view on an issue. The book is made up of essays from sixteen writers (3 men, 13 women) who made a decision not to have kids. I found some of the essays to be really good, but some were difficult to get through (mainly because I believe if you really don't want to have kids you shouldn't be so cavalier about birth control and abortion as some of the writers seemed to be). There were a couple who had not made a conscious decision not to have kids, but just ended up child-free because of timing, fertility issues, or other things. Which is why some people don't have children, but didn't really seem to fit what the book is supposed to be about. Overall though I found the book to be very interesting and liked to hear what other people had to say about not having children. Every writer had different reasons for their decision which was nice to hear. Whether you want to have kids or not (or already have kids or not), it is definitely worth at least a read of some of the stories to understand where different people are coming from when deciding whether to have kids....more