There were many things about this book that initially appealed to me. But the narrative - told from the viewpoint of a woman who doubts her sanity, as we do - was so loose that the plot threads just got lost. It takes a brilliant writer to hold one's attention while the characters ramble, and while this author's style, knowledge of various subjects and vivid sex scenes may have enough appeal to overcome this for some readers, it left me waiting for the end.
A troubled narrator makes some things inherently difficult, but I didn't think that she ever found her voice. The obsessions, water and animal imagery, gender issues, etc., were heavy handed and obscured the relationships that could have been a major strength of the book. In the end, I never really cared about any of the characters enough to want to untangle the story.
Overblown story. Nazis. Old grudges. Hidden identities. Lots of murders taken fairly casually. You know the kind of book I mean. I didn't care about anyone by the end.
Jim Gaffigan is funny and likeable, but this book is everything but. He just discusses food then makes cliched remarks about it. I found it impossible to finish - it was just too annoying. Like the know-it-all colleague who has been everywhere, tried everything, and wants to yak about the way he feels about it.
I found nothing to like in this.
Narrator: The main narrator was so slow that she was still OK at 2x speed. I'm from Mississippi - I know slow - but the unnatural gravitas was excruciating.
Story: One mystery, tortured to death in cliches and poor dialog. These characters spoke in voices that no one uses and were minimally developed. The ending. Wow. I won't spoil it but I think it was spoiled for us all with an incredible plot device that left me feeling even worse about the time I spent listening to this book.
Theme: Elephant grief is described with horrible stories of death and suffering. While I do applaud the attempt to raise awareness of the cruelty they often endure, I just hope a good portion of the profits go to them so I didn't suffer through this book in vain.
I forced myself to listen to the end by speeding it up, but quite relieved that it's over.
Wow...bad on so many levels. Hours and hours of 8 teenage girls. Dumb dialog - does anyone really say totes adorbs? And if that wasn't bad enough, the girls' characters just are not well enough developed to differentiate and 3 names start with the J sound. Twee narration. I love long books but this couldn't end soon enough. A bad surprise from an author I've enjoyed in the past. Pick any other of her books.
This was a very weirdly paced book - with the thriller aspect taking a back seat to the personal life of the main character. And this life loops around in weird ways with just too many gimmicky characters. I won't give away anything, but the characters Aqua and Sugar seemed shoe horned in while tracking down the bad guys just kind of happened. The secondary mysteries - what happened to the fiance, who killed the dad and why - took away energy from the "will the victims be saved" pulse and space from developing those characters. It made me wonder if some of the plot elements were an effort to include current themes and seem relevant.
I just can't recommend it. It did have interesting moments but it wasn't satisfying.
The 13 intertwining characters grow old as we reflect on their lives. Depressing and uplifting as some people get what they deserve and others don't, but interesting and thought provoking. I like the music themes as well.
If I had paid more than $1.99 or had to listen much longer, I would be upset. It did keep my ears occupied during a 3 hour run, but I should have listened to my self breathe. The characters are just stupid - there were so many obvious plot holes and character inconsistencies that I couldn't engage with the story.
Wow....I absolutely loved this book. Everything about it was wonderful - the flawed but redeemable Theo and the cast of people in his life - from the honorable to the horrible. The pacing of the story, however, kept me hanging on every chapter. The lulls then the quiet bombshells were so well done that I just sat stunned several times.
I generally hate when people review by comparison, but this reminded me of Pat Conroy and John LeCarre combined - the lovely writing and characters of Conroy, the intrigue and twists of LeCarre. If you like either author, buy this book.
I highly recommend this book. I plan on buying and giving several copies as gifts.
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. It is quirky, with a great mix of over the top and realism. It is so well written that characters' actions seem explicable while not always anticipatable.
It is, at its heart, the story of a woman who struggles with her place in the world as a mother, a wife, a "genius", and a member of a community. Her story is set in a charming narrative that is almost comical but always feels real and fresh.
I usually love dark and complex books so I don't know why I picked this - maybe it reminded me of Nick Hornby a little - but I'm very glad I did.
If I say this was a sweet post apocalyptic novel it will sound crazy, but this is a story of a man coming to terms with harsh realities where he has a choice - join civil society or remain in both an idealized past and brutal future. I loved the author's gentle, unpolished voice and simple style. This is a little bit adventure, mystery and love story - hard to classify but moving and compelling. I highly recommend it.
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