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2019 TOB Shortlist Books > The Parking Lot Attendant

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Let's talk about it...


message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline   | 150 comments I'm only about a third way through and not sure exactly what's happening but am enjoying it SO MUCH. What a great narrative voice.


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike | 16 comments Really wanted to like this novel but ended up quite underwhelmed


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1656 comments Oh! How fun! Two very different takes... it’s the shortest physical one on my stack so I just bumped it to the front of the line!


message 5: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 452 comments I read this way back in January and would be tempted to reread it before the Tournament, but I didn't love it. I really wanted to, but there were elements that I didn't think worked. I think that we need more books like this -- immigrant stories set outside of NYC or LA, but this particular novel fell short.


message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline   | 150 comments Having now finished the book, I didn't love it but I'm glad I read it.


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Donnelly | 1 comments My main complaint about this book is way too much happens “off the page” and the sense of mystery/intrigue/suspense came from wondering what the author was hinting at- with no way to actually participate in that narrative. That being said, i’m looking forward to what this author does next! Because there was also a lot to like.


message 8: by Caroline (new)

Caroline   | 150 comments as short as this book is, the middle section felt way too long? could have been a short story or novella.


message 9: by Ace (new)

Ace (aceonroam) Caroline wrote: "as short as this book is, the middle section felt way too long? could have been a short story or novella."

Yes, I would agree.

I also quite enjoyed this one, a bit unique, but I didn't love it either.


message 10: by Lacy (new)

Lacy (kempfme) | 1 comments I also say that the middle section was a little too long and a little start stoppy for me. I did like the writing though.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 607 comments Mike wrote: "Really wanted to like this novel but ended up quite underwhelmed"

I had an ARC back in April and I just couldn't connect to the characters, had no interest in them, and didn't finish. I'm surprised to see it in the ToB!


message 12: by Caroline (new)

Caroline   | 150 comments I loved the narrator (who I don't think ever gets a name, which I always find a pointless affectation) and thought the dad was a great character too. I think Ayale is supposed to be fascinating and while I could see a 15 year old girl being intrigued by him, I didn't share the fascination. Other characters who show up later I would have liked to see more of. . .


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "I had an ARC back in April and I just couldn't connect to the characters, had no interest in them, and didn't finish. I'm surprised to see it in the ToB!"

Same for me. I abandoned the ARC, and I'm disappointed that this book is taking up a spot in the tournament.


message 14: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 244 comments I found the parts about the narrator in Boston, with her father and Ayale, really interesting and readable, but the frame story and the overall trajectory of the story was a little less endearing. I could have read about her, her father, and Ayale for a lot longer, to be honest!


message 15: by Sherri (new)

Sherri (sherribark) | 358 comments Last night I went to dinner with a couple of friends who are following the TOB with me, and I told them I was really liking this book. I was at about the 80% mark. I stayed up late to finish it, and still can't believe how much I hated the last 20%! It almost felt like it was written by someone else, or the wrong draft was published or something.


message 16: by Karin (new)

Karin (8littlepaws) | 97 comments Liberty Hardy posted online that she's read this book 5 times in 2018! I am bummed to see the negative reflections here--it was going to be the next book I picked up.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 607 comments Karin wrote: "Liberty Hardy posted online that she's read this book 5 times in 2018! I am bummed to see the negative reflections here--it was going to be the next book I picked up."

I think the best discussion happens when we aren't all in agreement. Your job is to read and discuss from your perspective!


message 18: by Karin (new)

Karin (8littlepaws) | 97 comments Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "I think the best discussion happens when we aren't all in agreement. Your job is to read and discuss from your perspective! "

Agree with your first sentiment, but there are only so many reading hours in a day and if a lot of readers whose taste I respect pan a book I'm likely to pick up something else instead.


message 19: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 448 comments I just finished and I think I'm in the same camp as everyone here. It took me a long time to understand what the book was even about, which for a short book is weird. The whole island of B seemed like it was going to be its own plot line and not this tangential part of Ayale's story.

I did like the narrator, but her relationship with Ayale made me uncomfortable from the beginning, so mostly I just felt very protective of her and hoping for more of a rewarding ending.

What are people's thoughts on the ending? I sometimes like a vague ending and this one worked for me even though I didn't love the book overall. But it also made me sad that her life in Boston was just used for political purposes.

Anyone know more about Ethiopian and Somalian history to know if there's any historical truth to aspects of the story?


message 20: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 61 comments A lot of the comments here echo my own sentiments. There was a lot to like and I agree this was a unique story and I really liked the narrator and found her relationship with her father to be very interesting.

I was definitely disappointed with the rushed ending. It was set up well but basically fell apart. I wanted to know more about the mother and would have liked to see the dynamic of the family together after all these years. I am all for an ambiguous ending when you are left with something interesting to mull over but that wasn't the case here for me.


Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I found this book interesting, but either I am not approaching it from the right angle, or I just want it to be more than it is. Given the strangeness of the beginning (mysterious island, cult-like group, nameless narrator's plight ) I was expecting something more symbolic or philosophical, but then the Boston section seemed to land fully in coming-of-age realism, until suddenly we were back to the island. The island frame doesn't work very well for me in a novel about real people doing real things, but I'm not certain how else to read it... I can sort of noodle around an idea of the weirder elements of the narrator's situation as a sort of actualising of the deep strangeness of being an immigrant, but it just doesn't quite work for me. I am curious to see how this fares with its judge or judges, and to see what discussion it sparks.


message 22: by Lauren (last edited Feb 06, 2019 10:09AM) (new)

Lauren Oertel | 843 comments Rachelnyc wrote: "A lot of the comments here echo my own sentiments. There was a lot to like and I agree this was a unique story and I really liked the narrator and found her relationship with her father to be very ..."

I agree. I listened to the audio version and love Bahni Turpin's voice. I've heard her many times before, so I think she's the go-to for young African or African American characters in audio books.

I really enjoyed the middle part, which was pretty much all dialogue, but like other comments above, I really wanted more information about the island situation at the end. And I had hoped to learn more about the mother as well. I think this book had strong writing and character development for the narrator, but needed more for the non-Boston parts of the story, as well as more background on Ayale.


message 23: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments I'm in the 'liked the Boston parts' crowd, too - I guess something about everyone on B mythologizing Ayale is interesting with the contrast to an everyday sort of relationship with the narrator in Boston, even as it was clear she wasn't grasping all the under (and over) currents of his life.

I'd have been happy to just encounter everyone in Boston and not have the B parts there, though - that would have been enough to carry the story for me.


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