I was very engaged by the story being told in this book. I'm not usually one for plot driven novels but I really wanted to know what happened. The emotional content was good enough to hold me but the story line was the winner. It's a clever story and was woven together with some skill.
The writing was over done and not so brilliant. There was a glaring over use of simile but it was tolerable and didn't really detract that much from the story. I thought the narrator was fine.
I really loved this book, though. The setting is very dark and dangerous but it is leveraged to paint a picture of a father who deeply loves his son and wants badly for him to have a future in a world where there can't be any. The book is emotionally rich, well written and gripping. I loved it.
Elizabeth Gilbert is a very good writer and she has good stories. That having been said, the woman needs a better editor. This book was fascinating in many ways. It is the story of Alma Whittaker, an uncommonly bright but none too attractive 17th century woman who can never quite get her footing in life. Joy eludes her way too many times although she does manage to find some happiness at some point in her life.
This book explores a lot of topics but not in a very cohesive way. We go from anger at the gentry to the natural history of mosses, to the pained relationship between sisters to natural selection with a little of everything else in between. By the time I finished the book, I couldn't really figure out what Gilbert was driving at. This could easily have been a trilogy and might have worked better that way.
I will keep loving Elizabeth Gilbert and keep hoping she finds an editor who can help her harness her writing so that she produces something really powerful. At this point all the power in her writing is diluted by the tedium of overly long descriptions and overly detailed background setting. Maybe next time.
This is not a plot driven book which is perhaps why others are so critical. It is a journey through the lives of others. It is about the profound changes the country experienced between the early 70s and now. In particular it touches on the catastrophic effects the economy had on mid-western farms in the 80s, about the catastrophic impact the Vietnam War had on those who served, about the impact of technology on us all. But above all else it is about family and rebellion and love and growing up and learning to manage regardless of the hand you've been dealt. It is about leaving home without home leaving you.
The characters are ordinary people living pretty pedestrian lives with the same kind of struggles we all have and Jean Thompson does a masterful job of letting you in to see the world through the character's eyes and hearts.
The first thing you should know is that this book is the most profane thing that has ever touched my ears and I have kind of a potty mouth myself.
Second of all - if you really want to understand gang life and all that shooting and pimping and violence this book will take you there in vivid detail.
Yes there is true love but in the world of gang warfare true love apparently takes you down a really rocky path. What is much more common is domination, submission and the misguided notion that if you are banging the biggest, baddest guy in the gang you win - no matter how else he spends his time.
I'm glad I listened to and it gave me some insight (but no compassion) and I was fully engaged but it hurt my heart to think that people live this way and die this way. I'm really hoping it was more fictitious than expository.
This book covers a lot of ground. Teen angst, love won and love lost, obsessive love, dead love, angry love, assuaging lost love with drugs, assuaging angst with drugs, searching for the truth, surviving adolescence, grief and mourning, the quest for power, homosexuality in the Catholic Church and probably more. It's very comprehensive - sort of like the movie American Beauty.
The writing is good and the plot and sub-plots are well spun.
It is read by a large cast which I usually don't like but for this book it works.
I listened to this book while running. I had thought this book might be more about running and less about cycling but I was not disappointed.
This is a very touching story, well told, of a man who has lost himself as a boy in making his mentally ill sister the focus of his life and then as an adult in junk food and alcohol.
One day he finds himself on his bike taking an inadvertant journey of self discovery. McLarty's use of dialog and of detailed descriptive prose is captivating, enlightening and most enjoyable.
The writing and character development in this book are good. The reader gets a strong sense of the characters although there are some glaring inconsistencies. The plot is not entirely depressing but the author puts the characters on a juggernaut heading straight for heartbreak. Not a lot of fun. I found the plot points to be entirely predictable and not particularly intriguing. Nice for a first try but the author needs some polish.
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