No. It's just not a good story. I didn't like the violence in the early part of the story. it seemed overdone. Also, the author goes to great pains to make sure we understand how gross everything is, every smell, texture, etc. And then he just creates fanciful scenes that bypass the reality he forces on us. An example is when Ike is magically transformed from his street self into a wealthy banker in a matter of minutes. It would work in a movie (you know when they play a great song and all kinds of things happen fast), but not in a novel. I mean the guy never bathes ( really never), yet the stick him in a suit and he passes for a wealthy man in an office with a real banker. Now, if he suggested that the banker noticed it and ignored it, that is one thing, but he just passes it by because he needs the scene to work. Another one is that Mary keeps the abacus throughout the book. Nice symbolism and sentiment, but there are so many people who hate her who that could have (and in reality) would have destroyed it. Once again, either shoot straight or don't, but half-way is just weak.
I have no idea. I really enjoyed the book,
The narrator was very good.
No. 22 hours only to make you interested in hearing the backstory of the in the sequel of the kidnapping that takes place at the end. By then, I could care less about the characters.
I usually don't write negative reviews, but I bought it based on all the good reviews and was quite disappointed so I felt obligated to let people know that this is no epic.
I generally don't like fantasy stuff, especially series like Twilight, but I decided to take a chance on this book based on some reviews I read. I was suprised by how much I liked this book. The writing style was fun, the characters interesting and the story solid. This summer I listened to Freedom: A Novel and absolutely hated it. It's ironic that this one is similar in story, but just so much more. Too bad though, I'm sure it won't be an Oprah book club choice.
A very well written novel with a few shortcomings in character and story development. The protagonist just doesn't develop beyond a certain point, which is frustrating because she is the center of the story. The story is a family saga, which carries well but lacks originality. What carries the novel is the wonderful description of the landscape and culture.
If this was just listed as SEP Lite, then it would be a good book. Like other reviews, this book was perhaps a bit more lazier and thinner than some of the other books by Susan. When I say lazier, she used a cast of characters from older books not because they added anything to the new story, but because it let the reader fill things in, instead of the author coming up with interesting and valid characters to support a new story. And that's where thinner comes in... The story is a repeat of Natural Born Charmer, but not quite as good. Meg is no Blue Bailey...
Keeping that in mind, if you like SEP, and it's still winter out there--it's not a bad read. Got me throught the weekend, it was -10 F out there! Just lower your expectations!
I have read all of Fannie Flagg's books and enjoyed the characters and narration of this one, but the story falls short. However, if you like a happy ending like in the movies, you won't have a problem with this one. I'm just not someone who likes to invest themselves in a story/characters only to have it all magically work-out at the end. Just leaves me flat....
This is one of those gems you find, not on a bestseller list, but completely by accident! Solid story, great narration and historical accuracy wound up nice and tight, just like a good ballerina!
I really enjoyed both the story and the narration. It isn't deep, but very enjoyable and intelligent. Like many stories in this genre, happy endings abound, but this one doesn't overdo it.
In the same genre as "Shadow Divers," this is a fun, gripping and informative read. The writing is fresh, and the narration is perfect. Highly recommended.
I felt obligated to post a review since I purchased it based on its 5 star sweep. I love dogs and dog books (Merle's Door, Through a Dog's Eyes, etc.). This book fell short in so many ways. I found the stories predictable. The dog and people characters stereotypical. And the narration (although the narrator's voice is fine) cliche. For example, the dog character goes through detail to explain things like snow, humans, etc., but then mentions things like sidewalks, sleds without having to describe them in excrutiating detail. I know that it would make for a boring book, but the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn do it so much better that it makes this book seem like it was written by a sixth grader. Which by the way, this book might be very suitable for kids, but then there's the horrible neighbor kid (who is such a rip-off of the neighbor kid for Disney's Toy Story movie, right down to the little sister).
I won't go on and on because it's obvious that some people love this book, but I don't think it's for everyone who likes dogs and dog books.
The last book I listened to was "The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet.", so I'm not writing this because I like happy endings. Although this novel is written using contemporary characters and issues, it was just a story about some people and their problems. Nothing new here, wealthy people have issues, ambitious people get in over their heads, all kinds of people have affairs and disappointing relationships. Wendy Wasserstein's "Elements of Style" was a much better book about the curse of wealth, and Ruth Ozeki's "All Over Creation" hit current issues with better insight than Franzen.
Sorry, but this one tries too hard (24 hours worth!) to be the great American novel, and it shows.
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