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The Signature of All Things
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October 2016: Historical Fiction > The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert - ★★★★★

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Susie | 4488 comments I will admit it. I had pegged Elizabeth Gilbert as a chick lit writer. I hate chick lit. I had written Elizabeth Gilbert off. I would rather stick pins in my eyes that read Eat, Pray, Love. And then a friend whose opinions about books I hold in the highest regard told me that this book was wonderful, and that despite its girth she read it in two days. She has never failed me.

I was looking for an audio book at the library as I had not yet received my Audible credit for the month. There were slim pickings, and then I saw this. And boy am I glad I decided not to let the 26 hours put me off.

What a wonderful, ambitious, sprawling novel. The Signature of All Things is the story of Alma Whittaker, daughter of Henry Whittaker, a self made man of immense wealth who made his fortune selling a bark with pharmaceutical properties. Alma inherits his inquisitve mind and ultimately becomes a botanist herself. The novel follows her life, spanning across a century, and manages to touch on an extrodinary amount of topics while maintaining beautiful prose. Love, loss, grief, ambition, the quest for knowledge, being female in a male world, beauty, abolition, homosexuality, the list goes on and on. Boy can that woman write.

I was absolutely captivated by the audio, read by Juliet Stevenson, from start to finish. I totally disagree with those who have said that it could have used some heavy editing. I hung on every word. I would rate this up there with the best audiobooks I have had the pleasure of listening to. I laughed, I cried, I held my breath, and I felt totally invested in the story of Alma and the vast array of characters that I met along the way.

Reading and loving this book affirms for me what book clubs are all about. The dear friend that I mentioned above is from my face to face book club, and Amy here also encouraged me to give this a go. Had it not been for them I would have missed out on a wonderful reading/listening experience.


Booknblues | 5783 comments I loved this book as well.


Anita Pomerantz | 6433 comments Susie wrote: "I will admit it. I had pegged Elizabeth Gilbert as a chick lit writer. I hate chick lit. I had written Elizabeth Gilbert off. I would rather stick pins in my eyes that read Eat, Pray, Love. And the..."

I really need to get to this as it is, and NOW, I really, really need to get to it.

I actually liked Eat, Pray, Love despite some obvious flaws. However, I saw Gilbert speak in person and fell in love with her. She was nothing like the person described in EPL - - she was so disarming and self deprecating and FUNNY.

So I've been meaning to read this book, and it just keeps not percolating to the top of my list.


Jgrace | 2817 comments Juliet Stevenson is wonderful. This book lead to me look for her performances. She is great reading Jane Austen.

:) I feel the same way about Eat, Pray, Love. I wish Gilbert would stick to writing fiction and leave us all in ignorance about her personal life.


Jennifer P. Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments Very interesting. I wasn't interested based on the author too (Eat, Pray, Love seemed annoying to me). I'll have to try this though.


message 6: by Joi (new) - added it

Joi (missjoious) | 3809 comments I was on the did not like side of the fence of Eat, Pray, Love. Although I know it is very different than this one, that is exactly why I haven't read this. I feel like I'm already judging this based on who the author is and what we know.

I've seen this on overdrive a bunch though-and given the accolades of the audio- I'll probably give it at try eventually!


Ladyslott | 1880 comments I have had no desire to read this after not being able to read EPL. Still not sure if I will give it a go -


Jgrace | 2817 comments Ladyslott wrote: "I have had no desire to read this after not being able to read EPL. Still not sure if I will give it a go -"

It's very good, Linda.


message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 8531 comments I loved it. It was quite a different writing style from Eat Pray Love. It's historical fiction and beautifully written.


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5808 comments LIke you, Susie, a member of my F2F book club, whose opinion I trust, recommended this. I was reluctant because of EPL, but I got the audio and WOW ...


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