You will spend the first half of the book wondering why the main character just doesnt ask her mother the question that the second half is spent answering. If you can just chalk up her reluctance to British courtesy and primness and soldier through, you will be rewarded with a charming love story and a twist that wil explain everything.
This book was so painful to listen to, but not because it was poorly written or badly narrated, or boring. (It is actually quite lovely.) But, it is painful to listen to because you are privy to the thoughts of family members who want to make all the right choices, but through sheer lack of communication with each other, they all end up destroying themselves, and consequently one another.
Dad is trying to escape his past, mom is trying to relive hers and the results are so, so depressing. Add in the sexism and racism of the 60's and 70's and you just wish you could go into the Lee household and just tell the adults in the book to say how they feel, and that would be the most valuable gift they could give to their children. But you cannot, and you see how, depressingly, their complicated upbringings put them into a cycle of pushing their children to be what they could not, and even more heartbreaking, why the children act the way they do.
Jack's sidestory is just as heartbreaking, and nothing made me so sad as the end when we see that there actually are people who are willing to reach out to the family for a touch of kindness (Officer Fiske, the liquor store clerk, Jack), but, just like the Lees, we were so caught up in family matters, that we don't see all this until it is too late.
This is actually a very good book, it just was such a downer that I couldn't give it more stars.
Why hullo Eeyore, I see you have come back to literary life as a female undertaker with a bunch of baggage...
I cannot blame the narrator on this one, because I think she hits the nail on the head with her reading. However, the problem is, that the main character is so despondent, so lifeless, that it is not all that appealing to listen to. Even when Clara has a brief moment of -out-of-character strength, she is semi-conscious, literally.
I think the people who compared this book to one of Gillian Flynn's must have thought so because Clara is not all that likable, much like many of Flynn's characters. However, to pull that off, you need to have a better storyline and, preferably, some other females who are at least making poor decisions and sticking with them instead of the doormat style life planning that Clara does here.
This book really surprised me. I am not really sure what compelled me to buy it, because I haven't jumped onto the zombie craze. But this book was more than just post-apocalyptic silliness. It is one of the few books that has had me actually laugh out loud and the descriptions of characters and scenes are so clear, that I can still picture the characters and settings vividly in my mind. The narrator is a real character too.
Wait for Mr. Blunt's kitchen scene and you will find it hard to stay in your seat. Imagining a wooden James Bond bouncing around with a samurai sword is as awesome as it sounds.
And as a side note, the main character is a male, but there are some truly awesome female characters, and in fact, many of the characters in the book who play critical roles are kick-ass women. So, if you are looking for a fun read with some really cool women, and a completely enjoyable storyline, go pick this one up. You won't regret it.
I guess I was too caught up in trying to figure out the target audience for this book. Theme feels childish, and geared towards junior high, but there are a few adult concepts in there- sexual assault, murder- that threw me for a loop. its a cute story, but not what I was looking for overall.
Sorry, but this one wasn't for me. The main character is too bland, insecure and unquestioning. Eventually, she comes into her own, but is such an unlikely hero after all her years drinking the Kool Aid, that I wasn't buying her revolt.
I usually love Picoult books for all their sappy plotlines and tragic but fascinating characters, but this one reads like someone else was writing. Yes, religious history is part of the story, but parts of it got so long and overly detailed that I felt like I was in a dull college lecture. And the central character makes such a huge mistake that you almost lose any sense of pity for him. Why not just SAY something?!?! It seemed like a bit of an anti-death penalty cliche when they pulled that rabbit out of the hat and I know I was supposed to feel sorry for him, but instead I just wanted to roll my eyes.
Other than the child with heart disease, the fat, self-loathing lawyer who dresses like Beetlejuice and her hunky McDreamy, I could never quite envision what anyone looked like and that left me having a hard time connecting with anyone.
I got this one on sale and I recommend you do the same. It is no My Sisters Keeper, and definitely not worth full price.
SLIGHT SPOILERS, but nothing a blind man couldn't see coming....
If I sat down and listed the cliches and stereotypes that the author uses, I might be here all day, but if you like books with:
-bitter teens in foster care who have been failed by the system
-drunken Native Americans and Irishmen
-foster parents who care only about the money they get for fostering
-pervy, gross adoptive dads
-wicked step/adoptive mothers
-wealthy old white women with secrets
Then this is the story for you! Honestly, it was terrible. Was everyone else reading another book? I have read other fiction that had the orphan trains as a central detail and found them interesting and entertaining. This book was neither. It feels like a rambling, painful story written by a 9th grader who thinks that all their ideas are SO original and that no other teen on earth feels like they do. The narration doesn't help the unlikable "present day" character sound anything more than whiny and ungrateful and angry at the world.
I gagged my way through it, but do yourself a favor and skip this one.
I wouldn't expect a book about WWII Germany to be uplifting, and somehow, I managed to avoid all the other reviews and the recent movie, so I didn't really know what to expect. I think I liked this book because it wasn't about just one set of events, or revolve around a single plot. It basically just takes you through years in the life of regular people during terrible times. And that is more real than anything else. It is not just a gray march though, it is lively and touching, even when times for the characters are dark.
I was not sure how I would feel about a book narrated by a European man where the central character is a pre-teen girl, but he really nails it. And I completely forgot those reservations during the scene (you'll know it when you read it) at the end and I was walking my dogs with tears pouring down my face. The incredible narration made this book come to life for me, and I think that this may be one of those cases where the Audiobook version is much better than the written one.
I loved Gillian Flynn's other books. And this one did have a lot of the same components, but I just wasn't as surprised, disgusted or horrified (in a good way), the way that I have been with some of her others. The final detail that is revealed at the end re: teeth almost makes up for the rest, but overall, this one just didn't compell me in the same way. Unlikable characters can only stay afloat with a really good storyline and this one was just a little thin. Still a good read, but not great.
This is a lovely story - If you like feeling helpless, frustrated and terribly saddened by what was likely a relatively standard set of occurrences for slave women during the pre-Abolition era. Based very loosely on a couple of real historical figures, the real heroes are Hetty and Charlotte, the fictional characters who just want to be treated like human beings and experience a normal life, but skin color, geography and convention of the times make that tragically impossible. The deaths of a few characters (I don't want to give anything away, so pardon the lack of detail), will leave you teary eyed, if not outright crying. The writing is artistic and beautiful and the narration from the two separate perspectives make me so glad that I downloaded the audio version instead of the printed one.
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