so, so and must have been written with a hoped for movie deal in mind. Initially slow, but begins to grow on you quickly as the buildings residents bond and figure things out. I would have given the first half at least a 4 despite the strong language peppered in fairly regularly. Writer has clever mind and when he learns how to "manipulate" the reader a little better, weave the plot and not have the "right people" conveniently get killed or get free or have a large supply of guns... we'll suspend our disbelief for the last half. It will be interesting to see if the movie blends the two parts a little better. Fun, quirky way to pass time, a Dr. Pepper book.
Slices of life as experienced by a young midwife in postwar London slums. Similar to James Herriot books, with feel of Potato Peel Pie Literary Society. However, "real life" is shared and it isn't always pretty. It includes several step by step delivery of babies, the story of how a young girl is drawn into prostitution, ups and downs of married life and child raising, a few babies born with "unexpected" color, some heartbreaking abuse, poverty, adoption and horrors of poor house relief. The only portion which is lewd is during the "entertainment" at the brothel, you know it is coming and a 3 minute fast forward would remove it easily without messing with the plot. Language is clean and although some of the experiences are heartbreaking the whole feeling of the book is the beauty of the cycle of life - aptly named birth, joy and hard times. You will smile a lot!
For me about half of the book was enjoyable... the parts here and there that actually dealt with rabies were wonderful. However, the extensive "Cultural History" portions where even the vaguest possibility of literature being associated to rabies was explored drove me nuts... and be warned the literature review will cover from medieval times to modern Zombie movies. Wish they weren't so intermingled, but one is forced to listen to all to hear the good parts.
If you have Irish in your family tree, this is certainly worth a listen to understand what is really meant by "potato famine." I never imagined the extent and ramifications of the famine, nor the lifestyle which precipitated it or the politics which worsened it. No wonder tracing my Irish side is such a nightmare.
Beautifully read, incredible word artistry. I snatched this up when found it available and fell in love again. Its a children's book in the same sense that "The Giver" is for children. It leaves you wanting more of the magic.
Can I just say this book is amazing. About a chapter into it, there is a "historical, background building" section that made me think the ratings were off and I had picked a loser. I listened much closer the second time through... realizing then how important this information would become. The characters are people I want to have in my life - Uncle Willie, oh my goodness his little one liners just cut right to the truth, his resilience and understanding of grief allows him to help others process. The story weaves four life stories, two parallel stories of abandoned children separated in time by a decade... cross woven with the story of Uncle Willie and his niece both emotionally injured by the same man. This cross weaving of stories does take a little concentration to follow... but it is beautifully done. Clean, positive, uplifting, but not preachy.
I had read the posts about narration so was pleasantly surprised as the narration started. The plot was action packed, sucking me right in and making my spring clean project enjoyable. I normally would be working to suspend my disbelief with this convoluted of a plot... but was enjoying it so much and the author had me wrapped right around his characters...I believed every word. I want to go for a weekend visit and see how they are doing now it is all over. Yes there is a audio snafu... I don't believe it is the reader... I think the sound engineers settings are off for about 30 minutes in the middle of the book (honestly, its physically impossible to read that bad) and yes that time period is more than irritating, but it is over before long. The book is worth enduring the irritation though. Profanity is very limited, found it a clean read despite difficult topic. Beautiful weaving of community members and families with complex issues stemming from disappearance of young girl a year ago and her twin brothers obsessive determination to find her.
I read "Dancing at the Rascal Fair" as a stand alone book, not realizing it was part of a trilogy. "Dancing" is a 5 star read and a gem of a book. It is also the true beginning of the trilogy. After reading "Dancing," I wanted more about the family and what happened to them. I read "Prairie Nocturne" which followed a side character and didn't satisfy the itch. This is what I should have read. Although, I have no clue why Doig chose to make it the first book of the trilogy, it is actually the second book chronologically and makes a lot more sense to read second. Having read "Dancing," I picked up on subtleties and relationships that I wouldn't have caught at all if I had read this first. "English Creek" starts slowly and the plot lazes along, just a 3.5 star read for me, but it was the salve for my itch of wanting more after "Dancing." Glad I found it.
I actually found Dixie Hemingway and her friends likable characters and the plot basis for this little "put the brain in neutral" book was decent if not perfectly done. Mystery was solved, but leaves room for characters to grow with an ongoing story. I got a little tired of her showers, eating and making dumb choices while knowing it was a dumb choice. Despite two murders, a beating, an attempted suicide and sexual extortion it's remarkably upbeat. There is very little swearing and I'd probably purchase the next in the series except for the frequent stupid similes with sexual innuendos... like... her pickle being the size of a man's penis.
In my quest to fill in the gaps of my unread classics, this is another book completed. I didn't love it; a little too much animal cruelty and violence between animals. The kill or be killed, kill to eat and survive... I have never liked books written from an animals point of view and this is mostly told from 3/4 Wolf 1/4 dog - White Fang. That said, it was an interesting process as he moved from wild to tame, though a variety of owners and living situations. It's a fairly quick read, doesn't cost much and was glad I read. Probably an older boy book, with some discussion on why people and animals turn out like they do and how White Fang evolves because of his treatment.
The book starts slowly with lots of telling and an irritating narrator and you will want to turn off - don't! Barbara Demick interviewed about 100 refuges from North Korea and shares what she has learned in a generalized way - that is the boring part. But then she shares the stories of 6 of these people and their life in and escape from North Korea - this is the amazing part. The people chosen reflect all walks of life in society: teacher, orphan, student, party member, physician, housewife... you also meet their families and friends. The stories weave as the years pass and you grow to love the resilience of the North Koreans and understand better what is going on culturally and politically. Honestly, I had no clue. It is a brutal life but told honestly, simply and without dramatics. I am grateful for the insights and courageous folks she introduces to us. Great read.
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