"Molly Ringwald"--yeah, I had preconceptions, but I had a credit on my account and I had read good reviews, so I tried it. This book blew me away, and not just because it was this particular actor's fine literary debut. Each story on its own is true and touching, a perfect bubble in time. Well done. As you read on, it will take a minute or two into each story before you realize who the characters are, where we are in their lives, whose perspective we are seeing. It is so much fun, so surprising, so perfectly fitting together into a great 'novel'. I LOVED 'When it Happens to You', and I will enjoy listening to it again. The author herself is an enjoyable narrator.
I am full of admiration for the author, as the amount of research behind this book and the thoroughness of it are mind-boggling. I would not recommend this book to anyone who is not very interested in learning about the assassination of President Lincoln. It is extremely detailed, with virtually every fact being supported by quotes from printed media, private letters, police files, court documents, government sources, or photographs. Very rarely, when that last shred of proof cannot be found, the author presents his opinion (rather confidently), and moves on.
All in all, this is an amazing achievement. I learned an immense amount of my own country's history, was enthralled by the man (Lincoln) himself, and now I understand why he is beloved, and such an icon. The description of his funeral, and then the huge crowds meeting the funereal train carrying his body back to Indiana was vividly brought to life, and was very moving.
It's not historical fiction, it's not Bill O'Reilly, so save your credit there.
If you are a history buff, or a Lincoln buff, or a civil war buff....this is fascinating. This is the one to read.
The doctor was a sociopath, rapist and sadist who couldn't have stumbled into a better position; replacing the only doctor in a small, rural, heavily Mormon town. The sexual innocence of the Mormon women and their total obeisance to men gave him 25 years to indulge his sick urges with Mormon women, girls, and babies.
Jack Olsen's account is detailed and spellbinding from beginning to end. When, finally, a legal investigation is begun, the problems seem insurmountable. Sex is a taboo subject for Mormon women. Doc the sociopath has charmed many in the town.
There is another disturbing dimension, that the doctor is not Mormon, and heads his own Christian church in town. An ugly anti-Mormon tone starts to dominate the case, and the victims are shunned and blamed as Doc faces the justice system.
The spectre of religious hatreds tearing a community apart, while abused women are blamed for causing all the trouble and the littlest victims of a truly evil child molester are ignored, is so confusing, so upsetting...and this happened in the 1980's! It sounds like another century, but it's not! It's just hard to believe, and the recording is hard to turn off. Excellent investigative reporting, and excellent, unemotional 'just-the-facts-ma'am' narration that suits this True Crime story.
I can't add much more to the praise that has been heaped on this magnificent achievement of authorship. But I must say, this rare book made me experience a range of emotions on a gut level; literally, as the description of one POW's beating brought on dizzying waves of nausea. I raged with (not proud to admit this) hatred for the Japanese, and their cultural teachings about cruelty and pride, so white-hot I could barely sit still to listen to some passages. The small kindnesses that the POWs used to keep their humanity in captivity moved me so deeply, I found myself praying for these characters, longing for their release like they were my own kin. The strength they found in themselves, used for each other, seems of divine provenance. I was....can't describe it. 'Lifted'.
The author's ability to so deftly weave the depths of depravity that humans can reach right along side the heights of selfless love is just brilliant! He is just brilliant!
It's been a week since I finished this book, and I have not been able to start another. Nothing seems interesting enough after the extraordinary experience of listening to "The Narrow Road to the Deep North".
It's a story we all know--young love, the excitement of everything new, making plans, marriage, baby comes, routines start, someone gets restive and the poop hits the fan.
This short, wonderful book is the story told by an omniscient third person, describing bits of 'the wife's' memories, sweet, stinging, sad, terse, & revealing.
And my description is light years from how witty, and profound, and stunning this book is. Fantastic, really.
This is a man's man's book! killin', and more killin', and stalkin', and huntin', and bad guys, and police detectives, chase scenes, and Boobs! bouncing, floating, saucy and smirking.
The reader is very good. The book is well-written--interesting internal dialog, as the hot-headed multiple murderer keeps telling himself what a good man he is--but the testosterone storm was really too much for this reader. And, a weird ending.
All-around great listening experience: very good readers, tight writing that pulls you through the story, terrifically plotted, every character layered and interesting at least and flesh-crawling-creepy at worst, and an unexpected ending that becomes, upon reflection, somewhat comforting, considering....
What a great trick the author has played here! Amazing book, talented author!
This is a book on a serious subject trivialized by immature prose, big holes in logic, and a quick tied-up-in-a-bow ending. The main character is a social worker who has an arguably understandable excuse for accidentally leaving her baby in a hot car, but all she can do is shrill 'I didn't know I didn't know!' at doctors, cops, everybody; no explanation is ever attempted. The ridiculous narrator does hysteria very well, until you want to hit her with a Taser. Then there's the secondary story line about the street-smart little girl, wise beyond her years, yadda yadda......all just too tiresome to go into.
Publishing this book was a shameful waste of resources! Zero stars, if I could.
'All Souls' is quintessential Americana. A story about that shining city on a hill; or, actually, the people living at the bottom of the hill after all the s#it has rolled down. It's about close-knit, loyal communities with scrappy kids, neighbors who look out for each other, and a culture that has adapted for survival. They must survive grinding poverty, corruption and malfeasance in the police department, indifference or callous manipulation from politicians, collusion between local politics and media in portrayals of these people, and the final, ruinous piece of the puzzle: the drug empire of Whitey Bulger. (Not long ago, the FBI arrested Whitey here in SoCal, where he'd been hiding for 25 years, and I didn't get why it was such a big deal. Now, I get it.) He was the wizard behind the curtain in the South Boston drug trade, and the sickening litany of deaths in this book can mostly be traced to drugs.
The author's sad, resigned voice as he tells how kids died, over and over, his friends, his brothers, is just heartbreaking. The code of silence, born of loyalty and self-protection, means no one is ever punished for these murders.
This memoir is not all sad. The author loves Southie, and its good people, and, in picking the memories of his family and friends, gives a real you-are-there feeling to this memoir.
I am so tired of hearing about 'high-powered' 'over-achievers' and their 'charmed lives' and their over-scheduled kids and their expensive designer everything; I'm not envious, or interested, I'm just bored. But if you can overlook that construct, which the author uses so that her brain-injured heroine can learn what is 'truly important' in life, this book is a fascinating look at a really weird phenomenon, 'left neglect', in which an injury to the right brain leaves one unaware that 'left' exists; the left of the room, the left of the page, the left of the body, the left of anything. Weird! And it seems like the author could not have done a better job of describing the frustrations of this affliction if she did, indeed, suffer from it herself. It is really interesting to follow this woman's road to recovery. And the reader was excellent.
That's all I have to say. In fact, he is so funny that I'm sure this book gave many second-hand laughs. Like when this old lady was out upon a lovely morning, walking her dog, listening to Mr. Short on her iPod,... and was suddenly shrieking with laughter, tripping over her own feet, grabbing her knees..... and probably giving some passersby a good laugh on their way to work.
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