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Angela, Diane and Esil discuss

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Diane S ☔ Starting the 14th? Is this right ladies?


Angela M I think Lise wanted it in the weekend but that’s close ! I probably will start it on the 14th because I’ll be finishing with my current book by then .
Thanks as always , Diane , for setting the thread up .


message 3: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil The evening of the 14th works for me. Looking forward to it. I expect that I’ll be much slower than you two. I don’t seem to have much reading time these days.


Angela M I’m going to start this tonight. This will be my 7th novel by Kingsolver and I loved them all . Hoping this is one we will love too .

There are 18 chapters. How about 1-6 , 7-12 and 13-18? I don’t know how that works out %age wise .


Diane S ☔ Sounds good, Angela. Will start later tonight.


message 6: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil That works for me. As I mentioned, I expect to be slow reading this one but I’m really looking forward to it. I have loved her other books too.


message 7: by Diane S ☔ (last edited Sep 15, 2018 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane S ☔ Have read the first six chapters. Chapter one, I took to Willa right away. Funny thing is I am now reading three books that all feature an old house. Chapter two, kind of lost me a little, I was wondering where Kingsolver was going, found this Chapter rather dull. Though in Chapter four I found Kingsolver again, with the spiders and Darwin. Yes, something of nature is usually present or the focus in her books.
Although keeping spiders would not be my idea of a hobby. By the end of chapter six I realized what she was doing. The juxtaposition of these chapters, the past focusing on the debate between creation and Darwinism, in the present hatred for the immigrants, white pride. Modern days focuses versus the past, though the religious debate still goes on today and in the past their were other groups not in favor. Maybe that's the point, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anyway liking this but not yet loving it, though I am very curious to see where she takes this. Poor Willa, her FIL, is sure a bigoted hand full.


message 8: by Angela M (last edited Sep 16, 2018 01:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Angela M I finished through Ch 6. I definitely connected with Willa right away, too . Seems like she’s got her hands full with the whole family including her husband and kids and father in law . Seems to be shouldering the load for everything. Tough to be in that financial position at that stage of their lives .

Feels like there’s a lot here but I’m feeling like a lot of issues are being crammed in - the argument between Zeke and Tig about the economy and the environment- not surprised , but I was a little bored with it . And as you mentioned, Diane , Nick’s views of immigration, race etc. Then the medical insurance issues with Nick’s preexisting conditions. Not that these are not all current issues and maybe a reflection of what we hear about every day but not sure where she is going either . Feels like everything but the kitchen sink so far - lol !

Of course the Darwinism. I like Thatcher and his discussions with Mrs. Treat.

Enjoying it so far, but wondering where this is going as well .


message 9: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil I got to the end of chapter 4, but thought I would chime in given that I won’t have much more reading time tomorrow. I’m really enjoying it too. I forget how much I love Kingsolver — her writing and her characters. I’m loving Willa — and feel for everything she has to go through. I love so many of her thoughts — like a mother is only as happy as her least happy child — so true. I’m not relating as much to the older story but still find it interesting and so well written. She packs so many thoughts and feelings in her writing.


Diane S ☔ Forgot to mention how clever I think it is that the words she ends a chapter with, becomes the title of the next chapter.

I liked that sentence too, Esil.

Angela, she is including quite a bit within these pages, I agree.


Angela M I highlighted that sentence too ! Yes ending and beginning the chapters - love that .
It’s not that all these things are not relevant. Makes me think even more about how much Willa has on her plate .


Diane S ☔ Interesting article on Vineland http://westjersey.org/vland.htm


Angela M I finished through chapter 12. I’m liking the present day story more but liking Willa’s reaction to Mary Treat. Just have not connected with the chapters from the past , but I found the article fascinating! Thanks, Diane. The family dynamics are interesting and I’m still feeling how much Willa has to handle, especially when it comes to Nick and the baby. While Iano dutifully visits his father, he seems clueless on everything else - like the insurance issues and gladly leaves it up to Willa, along with trying to get the grant for the house .

Tig is growing on me and seems to be maturing in a short time and I felt sorry for her when she finally tells Wilma what happened when she was in Cuba. Zeke is annoying me in how he thinks of and treats his sister and I’m bothered like Tig that he seems to be “giving up “ his son. I think this is pretty realistic in terms of what some families go through- the financial issues and the health insurance problems and grandparents having to take on problems of grown children. They are good parents and good people but it’s certainly stressful on top of their other issues. I’m thinking more about the family dynamics here rather than all of the issues , but this clearly is a message book , not unlike Kingsolver’s other books.

So loving the present day parts but not so much the historical parts. Hoping for a better connection by the end of the book.


Diane S ☔ I agree, Angela. The past story seems to drag. Zach needs to be reminded he has a responsibility to his son. Think Willa does way to much for her family, everything seems to fall on her shoulders. I like Tig, I have from the beginning. I always like the underdogs.

This book does have a message, past and present. Maybe a bit too obvious? Past and present, people like things the way they were, what they were comfortable with. Don't want their lives shaken up with progressive ideas. Present, immigrants, gay marriages, women having too much power. Past, Darwin and evolution. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Angela M I’m still liking the relationship between Thatcher and Mary Treat as I have from the beginning. I looked her up on wiki and she was a fascinating woman as well.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_...


message 16: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil I'm lagging way behind. Just finished chapter 8. But I thought I would pipe up and let you know that I'm still paying attention to your comments and slowly making my way through the book.

I too really like the contemporary story far more than the older one. I really like Willa. I recently read Boomer1, which I didn't much like, which is also in part about the relationship between baby boomers and millennials. I think Kingsolver does a way better job depicting that relationship. She also does not romanticize the plight of baby boomers. Plenty of them are struggling, including partly because of the need to look after aging parents and adult children.

I agree, Diane, that it's all a bit messagey. But that's what I expect when I read Kingsolver, and at least what she has to say is very thoughtful.

I'm not sure I'll have much reading time in the next few days. Work is a bit crazy right now. But I will happily follow your comments.


message 17: by Diane S ☔ (last edited Sep 17, 2018 04:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Diane S ☔ I have finished but I need to think about how I felt about this as a whole. I enjoyed the present day story, but felt her message was a little heavy handed. Importsnt yes, but I felt the characters were just there for the message. The past story I enjoyed the history, reading about something i did not know, but except for the house and the loosely connected ties to people feeling comfortable with the way things were, I didn't feel that they actually went together. My problem is configuring this novel in my mind as a cohesive whole. Will be back tomorrow after I let this simmer for a bit. As you say, Lise there is alot going on here.

Take your time Lise, I understand busy at work.


Angela M I finished it and will probably end up at 4 stars . Even though I felt at first there were too many issues here , and I didn’t like the historical part as much as the present day, I thought the writing was terrific and there are some fantastic characters- Willa and Tig and Thatcher and Mary. I didn’t like Zeke very much but came to be fond of Iano. The way she portrays the effects of the health care issues, the financial situation they are in and the dilemma of the boomers - the kids and the elderly parent is so realistic. I also loved the digs to Trump. I actually liked the last few chapters of the past story better than the earlier ones . So interesting that she depicts the true story of the murder.

Have to think on my review.

Lise, sorry things have been so crazy busy at work!


Diane S ☔ Angela, think we were typing at the same time. Funny, but many of our thoughts are the same.


Angela M Too funny ! I think we were typing at the same time ! In spite of my reservations earlier on , I was satisfied at the end and I think my 4 stars reflects my thoughts on the present day story but I guess I need to consider the past story in my rating. So I definitely agree , Diane about it being hard about how to think of this as a whole.
So maybe 3.5 rounded up but I have to think about it more .


Angela M Just posted my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show....
I ended up 3.5 and rounded up . Overall I wasn’t happy with my review because I didn’t focus much on the past story.


Diane S ☔ I've decided on a 3.5 but rounded down. I just can't in my mind find this as a cohesive whole. I understand that they were connected by the house, living in it falling down around them and also by the message of troubled times in the past, people threatened by what they didn't understand but.....I feel like I read two separate books.
Will read your review tomorrow, Angela after I've written mine.


Angela M Diane , I definitely get what you are saying. I feel the same way, but rounded up because of the writing and characters, especially Willa. I was generous I think. Looking forward to your review and Lise’s thoughts .


message 24: by Esil (new) - added it

Esil The way work is going, I don’t expect to be done until the weekend. I’ll til then to read your reviews. It’s a bit disappointing when a favourite author doesn’t quite deliver. I’m curious to see if I end up feeling as you do.


Diane S ☔ Hope things slow down for you, Lise. My boss is on vacation this week, so I feel less pressured.


Angela M Diane , just read your review and you perfectly describe how I felt as well.


Diane S ☔ Thanks, Angela.


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