I know this is an oldie, and we cannot judge it by Kellerman's recent work, but really, it was a little too preposterous. ALERT: There are scenes that describe graphic child sexual abuse here. There are words/phrases that would be unspeakable in today's sensitive times. But we cannot slight JK for that -- that was then and this is now.
No, my complaints are about the way the story unfolds. First there is some detective work that combines Milo & Alex, then Milo disappears and Alex is a psychologist, detective, and near-mercenary. There are some nice homey scenes between Milo and Alex and their respective amours, but not enough of them.
At any rate, the bad guys are rounded up and the most hated of them have stories to tell; long, stories, told in retrospect, as if it justified their adult behavior.
Alex treks to other states, gets in fights, shoots, captures and threatens people until the truth comes out. When it does, all the truths link up into a somewhat surprising outcome.
I am glad that JK decided to take the weapons away from Alex in his later, more mature books.
I know it was the launch of the series, so for me, having read all the subsequent books, this one lacks the cohesiveness and logic of the best and most modern of the Alex/Milo canon.
I would not recommend this book, however, because of the graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse. I would feel responsible to someone who read it on my recommendation and encountered this content. I would not recommend it to anyone who loves the Milo/Alex pairings because this one does not illustrate their relationship as we have come to expect.
For a first time reader of JK, it is always best to begin a series at the beginning, and this one, because of some of the content, might turn someone away.
I had to check to be sure, but there is a movie (1994) of the same title, which seems to include some aspects of this plot, though it doesn't seem an exact rendering.
Not one complaint except an unanswered question... Who was Burt and what was the secret that Sylvester had promised to never reveal? Or did I miss it?
Beyond that, it was a very, satisfying, educational and rich in character and setting. Very well worth reading.
I read this for a class in Brit Lit. Simply because it's Henry James, it's not the worst of the bunch. It is rather long winded for the outcome. The psychological portraits seem apt. The legal stuff a tad unbelievable, but probably true. To me it all rests in one idea. Mrs. Gareth's son does not have the kind of adoration a son should have for his mother, so she is being ousted by the despicable woman he wants to marry. The woman Mrs.Gareth wants him to marry is too morally sound to do what must be done to displace the fiance, so much chaos ensues.
The ending is troubling for an absence of explanation. I like a cliffhanger, but I feel there was not enough information in the characters to give me even a guess at the perpetrator of the final act. It's almost as if James threw up his hands in disgust at his characters and took action with his pen to free them from a final decision.
Anyway, it's worth the credit; though it lacks humor, sustained tension and, except for a final action by Owen and a last page event, it also lacks surprise.
So this kid from the hinterlands decides to become a doctor. He goes through the trials and tribs of youth, early love, rejection. He hitches his academic wagon to the wrong stars on occasion. He finds the right woman who supports him and his quest for a medical degree and a position to work in science. He fails miserably more than once. He capitulates to corporate greed, the woman's parents, the expectations of society all before he wakes up --too late-- and has to start all over again.
If this was a jab at the education of a medical professional, it seems weak today. The writing was strong, the characters well defined, their foibles and power well explored and delineated. Poor Martin Arrowsmith, however, was drawn without much spine, and less imagination than his costars.
Not sure why this is a "classic" except for its year, and the fact that Sinclair Lewis also wrote Elmer Gantry, but it is an adequate portrait of early 20th century, pre-WWII America. There are some attacks at militarism, at corporate medical practices, at academia, etc., but it's not a diatribe and it is also not a deep read.
I am taking on Elmer Gantry later, but I feel I've already seen into that book through Lewis' sweep of American immorality in this book. Elmer Gantry SHOULD be preachy; Arrowsmith was as well.
I think it is about average for the series. There is much repetition, seemingly filler. There is no real "suspense" to speak of, no twists or turns. These books are getting too soft, too nicey-nicey and not enough bad behavior. Mikey Haller is despicable, he lies, cheats and pretty much bends the law to his needs, which is not only not appealing, but a little ridiculous. Connelley gives the judges much better standards of behavior, *always* belittles the prosecutors and generally makes the women characters very likeable. I think he is being a little too PC, it feels contrived. His client is claiming innocence of the murder, which is Mickey's case in this book, but the client is not someone I would root for--not because he is into bad stuff but because he's a wuss and I couldn't have cared less if he died in jail. Of all the characters, I think I liked Sly Sr. the most. He was the most authentic, but even he caved to Mickey's brilliant wheeling and dealing.
The plot to this one took some brain mapping. I don't know why, but I had a difficult time believing the tie-in between the (at least) three separate crimes.
Like I said, no surprises, no tears of sadness or joy, no real threats to anyone -- twice Mickey ignores the judge's admonition to quit running her courtroom and doesn't get in trouble. Mickey spends a good deal of time pinpointing his main juror, but it didn't matter anyway... why plant that seed? Bad use of red herring.
Anyway, I'm a fan of the series and of Connelley's past performances, so I am an eternal optimist. Maybe in the next installment he should kill off Mickey, so we don't expect more of a good thing that apparently is not forthcoming?
I have run into this syndrome in the past, favored authors' series and characters growing stale. It could be a matter of boredom by the author who may have publishing contracts to fulfill. Lee Child may be approaching this milestone, Jonathan Kellerman has gotten close too. Even Preston & Child's Pendergast series is getting a little predictable -- except that they have strong stories and AXP Pendergast is generally very much alive on the page and remains as likeable as a rock star.
It's kind of like knowing when to leave the party. I think it's time for Mickey Haller to pack up his boring self, his bad fathering, his womanizing, his self-pity and his tricky courtroom hijinks and drink himself to death.
The worst narrator in the world. Voice was bad, and there was an audible "click" like to a tape machine every several minutes... I am downloading another version, because I know the book is great... This should be removed from the list.
Wonderful book, good story, some predictable elements, but the "twist" was unexpected. I expected a whole different reason for the "big decision." This was better. Warm, authentic and suitable for all ages, cultures and interests. Narrator very good. Recommended -- in fact, should be required reading for students of the human community. Tolerance, humor, survival, family, fathers and sons.... just great.
Loved it on every level. Liked that there were no "hidden" messages, but outright connections and links to events and personal psychology of the hostages. Loved that so many characters could be so individually present and unique. Loved the "love" relationship of the two couples, adored the Russian's profession of adoration based on a (long) short story of the man's early years. Yes, these are archetypal characters.. we've seen them all before in one scenario or another, but the twists are subtle and sufficient enough to make it a page turner, though the pages turned gently, for it was a sweet book, a book of hope.
Throughout the story, the narrator tells us things like "later he would think..." so that we knew certainly the future of that particular character. The suspense was in my own longing that the couples could be coupled after the takeover. Yet the tragedy and the glory of the situation grow from the impossibility of the situation.
If the set was too comfortable, too well fed, housed in a mansion and not in a thatched roof hut in a forest, who cares? The story was about captivity, language, voice, independence and dependence. The Opera motif fit perfectly the drama of the setting, the largeness of the characters, and voice, voice was key here.
A translator is not allowed to interpret or choose what is meant to be said, eventually the Traductor stepped out of his role. A terrorist is not supposed to waver; the generals eventually tired. Child terrorists should be obedient or they would be punished, this scruffy lot was hungry for the outside world and confined to the VP's mansion were things they would never have seen, heard or felt. It was about acceptance and letting go.
Someone mentioned that the language came right of an MFA platter of perfect English. I agree, and that's what made it so readable. The sentences were almost invisible, unless you don't like your English well done. The language carried the story without intrusion and that is a trait of greatness.
I have one complaint, and that complaint cost this the 4th star. The ending, a bit abrupt, was "unfair," regarding the terrorists, and it seemed rushed. But beyond that, what we learn in the Epilogue about the survivors broke the spell for me. I did not care at all for the way Roxanne and Gen ended up. It is too flimsy to say that because each lost the love of their individual lives (as formed in captivity), that they should assume the roles of the lost ones. Mr. Hosokawa and Carmen go down together by a single bullet.. ghastly and too melodramatic. Gen and Roxanne’s final pairing made no sense, and while I was ready to "sell" the book to anyone who would listen to me, it ruined the spell for me. Of course, Edith and Simon Thibault made sense together… Simon’s adoration of his wife was never questioned.
Narrator Anna Fields was splendid...
Limited in scope, a "feel-good" story written in simple prose, with nothing of substance to support it. Rather stock characters, though some more interesting than others. Religious "lessons" in the actions/punishments of wayward people. Basically a Christian look at a hard life, about forgiveness, tolerance, and learning to be satisfied with what one has.
If this was meant to contain any "feminist" threads, they were slim. Strong female protag who is successful in most of her endeavors, but waits till forever to marry. A few conflicts which could have proved interesting but didn't
Narrator fine; story -- good for 10-12 year olds; older kids would find it dull and unrealistic.
Lots of scenery, love of the land, etc. etc.
Read The Yearling if you like books about making it in the rough, about rising to overcome adversity and about growing up to be a "good" human being.
2.5 - 3*, because it is the first of a fairly good trilogy. My Antonia (the 3rd) is far better than this one; with more grit and real emotion, perhaps because by then Cather had matured as a writer.
From the opening words to the final scene, the story was flawless. Not too many "silly" coincidences, but a few for good humor. Not too unlikely a scenario, but enough to make it riveting. I especially loved the first "escape" scenario -- a bit out there, but not for Reacher. As usual there is a good measure of but just enough philosophy, sociology, child psychology and scientific fact. The romancing was maybe a bit light, its power being in afterthoughts and not in present/action. Would have liked a bit more eroticism; seemed like a "task" to get done and over with the first time; the second time being described in retrospect, passively and without ardor.
The plot: Loved, loved, loved the Claughtons, believable, funny and a little caricatured. Believable except for the 1 vs. 8 "honor among thieves" episode.
My favorite parts were in Reacher's musings on Sam Dayton, the way phrases goaded him forward, and in his recountings of his childhood, the way phrases explained his particular kind of thinking.
If there is a weak point, and this is probably only my problem, it is the ending. The end was good in that it tied up and explained everything. But the all-around forgiveness was hard to accept. I DID like the way Jack and Susan ended the book. Logical, predictable, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. God forbid there would be commitment.
The book began and ended with Reacher as he is: affected but not altered by his recent episode and encounters. It was good to watch him "feel" for another person. His feelings went well beyond righting wrongs. It went to his core. If the Samantha Dayton story had worked out differently, we would have had a kinder, gentler Reacher, who might have begun building picket fences.
Instead, I wait for the next one, and a year is entirely too long.
This is one of the best books I have ever read in my life. It is riveting, it is complete, it is complex, it demands much from the reader; it requires re-reading of some sections.
Every single character is "sympathetic." You like them all. You want each of them to achieve their goals.. the good guys and the bad guys. As the murder victims added up, I felt so sad, so sorry for them. The characters are so strong that I will never forget them.
Throughout the book, I kept asking myself "whose story is this?" It comes clear late in the book. It is in parts 7 and 8 that the whole thing begins to stick together.
Still, the end was a little disappointing. There is at least one "missing person," one unexplained death, and it is so much meditation on very "heavy" subjects.
I think I wish McCarthy had put some of that spiritual searching earlier in the book; following so much action, it's a little bottom heavy with stream-of-consciousness, moralizing. The questions are all apt to the story; they provoke deep thought.
There is very little but some politicizing ... some grandstanding by the author, but it was light and it did not feel like a "big statement."
At any rate it is among my all time favorites, right up there with the Classics, the Russians and the Moderns. It is atypical of these post-modern times. The book is old- fashioned in that it tells a real story. It is new-fashioned in that it has a strange approach to dialect -- including phonetic punctuation. It does become comfortable quickly. There are point of view switches that are not always clear until well into each new section's opening paragraphs. Sometimes you don't know whose story we are in, and then you do know because each character is so distinguishable.
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