Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
This is a story of emotional, and at times, even physical survival. Two orphans, one who is now 91 and the other 17, cautiously reveal their life experiences to each other and find healing and transformation through the sharing. Each has been wounded by a series of cruel life events that have left them both feeling at times alone and vulnerable in life. Each has gone through childhood experiences that left them feeling at the mercy of others, not daring to trust that they could be loved just for being themselves.
91 year old Vivian was a young girl who was put on the train of orphans taken to be resettled in the Midwest just prior to the Great Depression. She must endure many harrowing events before finding any security in life. 17 year old Molly is in the foster care system and has frequently been victimized by her treatment in various homes. She goes to Vivian's house to help her as a condition of working off community service hours rather than go to "Juvie." In the beginning neither can imagine the transformation that will occur as they start going through Vivian's stored possessions, which both hold and evoke the memories of a life she has largely put behind her. Molly, who is at first a prickly, resentful teen, suspicious of anyone who seems to offer her a kindness is slow to warm to Vivian's genuine generosity. This is the story of two women, who on the surface could not be more different, finding the deepest sort of connection through their recognition of similar experiences.
This is a beautiful, touching book, filled with gripping emotional scenes that make it hard to put down. The writing is deeply evocative of the shifts of fortune each young girl is going through, and draws the reader right into the book. I almost felt I would know any of the characters if I were to meet them somewhere. Their courage is inspirational. More than this, though, this book forces the questions of how do we really care for and about those less fortunate? How often do we do things to salve own our conscience without deeply asking what is truly needed by others? This book raises all kinds of social questions about the role of the care and protection of children, and is, in one way, as unsettling at that level as it is heart-warming at another. The narrator is excellent, doing the voice of 91 year old Vivian or 17 year old Molly with equal ease. Such a wonderful listen. Highly recommend!
MacKenzie Bezos has written a very compelling story of four women, each of whom is struggling with something painful in her life--bad relationship with a father, loss of a daughter, loss of innocence, and letting go of defenses that keeps her from closeness with others. Dana, Jessica, Lynn and Vivian are beautifully portrayed with a sensitive hand by the author, as their lives intersect in sometimes surprising ways, while they are being transformed through facing their fears.
I found myself unable to turn this off and go to sleep--so engaging was it. I rarely listen to a book straight through, but I didn't turn this off till the wee hours of the morning. It felt to me that to have turned it off for a while would have been like a surgical cut in the middle of it--[I felt] it was meant to be heard as a whole--just as the lives of these women had to keep moving toward each other as they did in order to face their fears and be transformed in their encounters. There seemed an internal unity to the story--and I just could never find a place that I could stop listening--as though it might have broken that unity.
I feel that the author has good insight into the internal struggles of women, and can sensitively describe those feelings and needs--partly by leading the reader into their inner minds, and partly by designing situations that reveal what they have been dealing with. Her descriptions are given with a very creative view toward painting a picture of each woman's life that fleshes out what they are facing.
Dina Pearlman does a wonderful job with many different voices--making each one distinct so that it was easy to distinguish which character was speaking.
I will be recommending this book to all my friends. I think it would be good if read, but I believe it is great to have listened to it. Brought it all so much more alive for me--as the women (and people around them) all were clearly distinct, thanks to the narrator.
This is a novel which, by turns, reveals the agony of love, grief, and movement into madness. It begins with a dreamy, brief scene depicting Arthur Winthrop, a headmaster in a Vermont boarding school, with his wife and small son, enjoying a family moment in Central Park. This scene is told in a way that evokes sense of a lovely impressionist painting. This is quickly followed by an abrupt shift, Arthur having been arrested for nudity in the park, and now being pressured by the police for an explanation. Only his mind is a jumble of confused memories.
Told in three parts, with only the first is related by Arthur himself, as he reveals to the listener an escalating plunge into confusion and loss of self control, losing his grip on the steady reserved life he has previously led. He says he is seeking "eternal truth," but the listener is witness to a man losing his hold on reality.
This is a story told through flashbacks, first and third person viewpoint, and a great deal of poetic language providing the atmosphere and mood. We piece it together as the author gives us glimpses into the slow decompensation of a man's mind.Although Arthur is far from an admirable character, I felt compelled to want to learn what led to his dissolution, and what follows is a revelation of events that clarify emotions so powerful that they are, to him, almost incomprehensible. The narration is quite good. It is a challenge to write a review without saying things that would give too much away. However, I found this a very intense story, well-written and well read.