This was a very chilling book. When you read it, your initial reaction is that this could never happen. Until you realize that it has happened in other countries, where women's rights have been totally stripped away. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written in the mid 1980s, which make it even more chilling. The religious right taking over this country and wanting to limit women's reproductive freedom? Nah, could never happen? Could it?!?! Just look at what is occurring around us today.
It was interesting to think about the context of this story. There was concern by the government of the dropping Caucasian birth rate, which is why they created the handmaid role in that society. Racism was at the core of this, although you don't really learn this until the end. And if you think about it, the fact that they use the Aunts, who are women, to control other women makes sense. How many times do the people who oppress others turn out to be the same group of the people that they oppress?
There were parts of the story that I found slow moving, but overall, it was a solid read. I listened to this as part of Audible's A-list collection and Clair Danes did an excellent job narrating the story.
This was a freebie from Audible. I enjoyed the story and the narration; doing all of those voices must have been difficult. I had never read this before, so I'm reading it for the first time as an adult. I was uncomfortable with the racism but it provided an opportunity for open dialogue about this issue. It also showed me that while we have a long way to go, we have made progress. I enjoyed all of the characters and I enjoyed delving into the world of Dr. Dolittle!!
I enjoyed this prequel very much. The marketing strategy worked in this case; although I always intended to read The Girl You Left Behind, the prequel was interesting enough to make me move it up on my reading list. The back stories were interesting and gives a good foundation fort he book; I found I cared what happens to the characters and wanted to read more. The narration was good, although it took me a bit to be able to understand everything the French character said.
**Update** I just read The Girl You Left Behind and was surprised to see that in the book, Liv gets the painting in Barcelona. It is nothing like the prequel. Oh well, I still feel that I had a good foundation for the characters when I read the full book.
I enjoyed this book overall. It turned out to be more of a memoir about the various dogs in the author's life and her personal struggles, which I enjoyed; it just wasn't what I had expected by reading the book's description. I wish the story had focused a bit more on Boo and his therapy work, as I would have enjoyed hearing more personal stories of the lives he touches. I also wish some of the story lines had been explored more if they were going to be raised in the first place. For example, the author talks about the conflict with her sister, but I was never really clear as to what led to that issue and what happened in later years so that it could not be repaired. There were also things that left the reader hanging, such as Laurence's hospital stay. He was in dire straights health-wise one minute, and then all of a sudden it was a few weeks later and he was home - there was no transition from one location to the other. There were also some parts that were repetitive that could have been deleted.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the story was entertaining - there were parts that made me laugh and parts that made me think. You could relate to Arnold, his experiences, and his conflicts between the two worlds that he inhabited. I was particularly impressed with his open and honest assessment of Indian and White cultures. There were parts where I felt uncomfortable when he discussed how Indians were perceived by White people; that's how I knew that the author was right on target with his observations!!!! Even though it is geared to young adults, I definitely recommend this book for adults.
I listened to it through Audible, and I loved the narration; I felt it really added to the overall experience. I am not always a fan of authors who narrate their own books, but in this case, it was a very good thing. I saw some reviews that indicated the cartoons were excellent - so, I also got the book from the library so I could look at the cartoons as I went along. I thought they were very good, but I still think the audio version is the way to go. The author's portrayal of Arnold and his voice inflections were right on target.
This started a little slow for me, but it picked up quickly. There were some interesting psychology principles presented in an easy to understand manner; some of them I was familiar with from undergrad and life, and some were surprising (yet made perfect sense once explained).
I have to say that the narration was very good. I was highly amused because the author uses the word "asshole" or expressions like "you are not the shit" sporadically. It came far and few between enough so that I chuckled each time. The narrator has this very cultured, proper voice, and that is how I picture him. When he calmly reads "you are not the shit" in the same tone as the rest of the book, it really is quite funny (or I just have a strange sense of humor, which is also quite possible).
There were some logic games that were fun to do. I also enjoyed the exposure of the logical fallacies that we all (yes, ALL of us) commit. Even your feeling of "I would never fall for that" is not as unique as you think!
Some of the chapters I enjoyed the most involved the memory and how false memories are created. I had the image that he described of memories being retrieved like files on a disc; however, that is not true. We reconstruct memories based on experiences and the author shows how false memories are created. I also really like the chapter about egocentrism and how you feel that everyone is noticing you - the big zit on your forehead, your new haircut, new outfit, etc. In reality, that is not the case and people are too busy focusing on themselves to focus on you as much as you think. There was a bit about catharsis that I can apply to may daily commute to work. The author explains how you feel good after making a rude gesture to someone after you are cut off in traffic. However, this does not get rid of the negative emotions that the cutting off evokes; what it does do is provide a cathartic effect so it feels good to you. In turn, you seek out that feeling again. Hm, that would explain why I find the need to use "sign language" so often as I drive to and from work!
I'm sure that most people will have different chapters that they feel are interesting or pertinent to them, but there is enough in this book that I think many people will find several interesting areas.
I love the chapter on hypochondria and how a hypochondriac uses the excuse of not feeling well to avoid projects that feel overwhelming to them or so that they avoid failure. The author also explains how the self-fulfilling prophecy works and how you can talk yourself into things. On that note, I need to end this review now......suddenly, I'm not feeling well.
I found that this was a good intro to the principles of Buddhism. I listened to it on audio, and the narration was good as well.
I liked that in addition to presenting the Buddhist principles, the author illustrated how he applied those principles to his own life. There were also instructions on how to meditate; I thought it was a fairly easy and straightforward process, but apparently there is a lot more to it than I had initially thought.
I found some "gems" of wisdom that I think may be useful. Some of the concepts I thought were important to me were: you don't have to change the world, but rather, how you perceived the world; that action is more important than belief, as it only matters what we do; and the explanation of the "self" and "other" divide. I imagine that others will find other concepts interesting to them, but I think most people could get something out of this.
I was particularly struck by his discussion of past lives. While I personally don't believe in that, his explanation made me think. He states that many people don't believe in past lives because you can't remember them; however, you also don't remember your birth, but that happened. For some reason, this really struck a chord with me and made perfect sense. I haven't changed my views on past lives, but I believe I am more open minded about it and other things now.
As I ruminate about this book (yes, this is a bad pun so I don't blame all the loud groans out there), I decided that I really liked it. There were some parts that were a bit boring to me, but overall, I found the "gut" to be more fascinating than expected. I enjoyed the narration, and as I was listening to this to and from work, it seemed to work out that the most disgusting topics (think: fecal transplants)always came up first thing in the morning! The thought of someone's fecal matter being transplanted into me is quite repulsive, but when I think of it in terms of the benefits, I would try that option if I found myself in some of the circumstances that others do with severe gastro issues. I'm glad that this research is being done and I hope that it leads to breakthroughs.
Overall, this was a very well researched book. I admire that she delved into this topic so thoroughly and I learned quite a bit of interesting facts. I would never go to the lengths Mary Roach does to learn about a subject; while she is welcome to undergo a colonoscopy without drugs so she can see the organ and learn from it, my response to that is: "hell no, bring on the drugs." I much prefer to let someone else do the direct learning and I will learn indirectly from them through the pages of a book or the sounds of the audio version!(less)
This book was too technical for my interests. It wasn't that it was difficult to understand, but rather, I found the author's constant references to the work of others and the clinical tone were not to my liking. The individual stories were interesting, but there was not enough personal details to engage with them; it felt more like reading a case history than a story about the person's life and condition.
I enjoyed this story. The characters were interesting and very amusing. And, it turned out that the mystery was pretty good too! I listened to the Audible version, and the alternating narration of the male and female characters added to the story. This is the first in the series and I will probably check out another one.
An added plus for me was that the main character loves animals, as evidenced by her rage when the rooster was kidnapped. The crazy cat lady Aunt is a fun character and I'd like to see more of her and her "sweet pea" (a shotgun!!).
I wasn't sure how I would rate this book until the end. Upon reflection of the total story, I decided I really liked it. The narration was excellent and you could tell exactly when Charlie progressed and regressed. A bittersweet, thought provoking story. I'm sure I didn't think of it on this level when I first read it as a youth. I'm glad I decided on the re-read as an adult.
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