I read this when I was younger and unable to appreciate the fact that "some things you are able to do when you're 12, you can never do again." Pedophile themes run rampant as do the dirty secrets of a small suburban town, and of course there are horrific elements, as in much of King's work. But, at it's core, it is a tale of childhood friends uniting and then reuniting over tragic circumstances. The characters are rich and multi-faceted. The plot is compelling and intricate. Unlike many of King's books, particularly those of late (I'm looking at you, Under the Dome), which are in need of a more harsh editor, no page of this book is dull or without punch. IT is well worth taking the time to read, and it is even more chilling to listen to than to read in print.
Overall, I did not like this book. The book is beautifully written. However, it is horribly sad. The depressing plot wouldn't have put me off completely, but in the book, not much is explained, and it moves at a snail's pace.
There are two main characters: Ida and Midas. This is their love story. Then, there is a character who used to be in love with Midas' mother and a character who used to be in love with Ida's mother. This characterization seemed redundant.
Nothing is fully explained. Ida is turning to glass. There are tiny bulls with moth wings. There is a creature that turns every being it sees pure white. None of these phenomena are explained. I don't expect things to be fully explained in a fairy tale, but some explanation is necessary, particularly when all the characters are scrambling to stop Ida from turning to glass completely.
Beyond the explanation, there needed to be more plot. The book felt like a short story that the author kept trying to expand. There are just not enough exciting incidents. Instead, what we get is talking and apologizing and explaining and sitting around talking some more. This book had so much potential, and the story basis could have gone in a lot of different directions. Instead, it just went nowhere, leaving me depressed and disappointed.
Abuse, drug addiction, insanity, alcoholism, disease, death, rape, incest, pedophilia, and the horrors of slavery. If these topics are up your alley, you will love the Kitchen House. I did not. It is a depressing horrible story. I kept waiting for it to get better, and it got worse at every turn. Between the multiple themes, problems, and tragedies and the one-note flat characters, I will hopefully be able to return this book, which for no apparent reason was one of the "editor's picks" a few weeks back. Save your credits for something a little more uplifting and a little bit more well-written.
The book has a lot to do with faith and love. I really like Kristin Billerbeck's other books. Also, I got it for a lighter read, and it did not disappoint in that area. However, the reader is too sickly sweet, and that hampered the book for me. (For example, there is a 12 year old who sounds like she's 4 or 5). I enjoyed the stories, but there was a bit too much repetition.
Essentially, you're getting 4 stories where a woman doesn't think she can be with a man because they're "just friends" and then all of the sudden, she has feelings for him. The thing is, these women are 30 not 13. By that age, you get over that idea and just talk to a man honestly. So, in that sense, the book did not ring true, and it was like hearing the same story 4 times.
I would have instead liked to hear just one story-- the third one in the book. It had a lot of potential-- a divorced father and a damaged woman, both now Christians after their mistakes and both looking for love and grace. But, with the constraints of this episodic novel, there just isn't enough time to fully explore their stories, so everything with them feels very rushed. Whereas the second and fourth stories don't have enough going on and feel very drawn out.
Overall, good for a lighter Christian read, but not as well written or narrated as it could have been. I may check out the second book in the series, but not until summer when another lighter read is in order.
I really like Ruth Reichl's books. I've read this one before, as well as Comfort Me With Apples and Diamonds and Sapphires. However, I do not recommend this recording. Reichl reads her own work and her tone is dull, even though the material isn't. So, you end up thinking that this is a boring book, when quite the opposite is true.
Additionally, it's abridged, so there are characters who seemingly pop up out of nowhere and others who disappear. One can only assume that they leave or arrive in the expurgated sections.
There are great scenes here-- some involving her mother, who suffers from bipolar disorder, others overseas in France and Italy, and still others in the hippy age at Berkeley. All are funny and touching, while satisfying the needs of bibliophilic foodies.
Anyone! The sound recording itself is bad, which could be part of the problem. This sounds like it was taken from a tape in the 1980s. Bernadette Dunn does a terrific job on the UNabridged version of Garlic and Sapphires (Reichl, unfortunately reads the abridged-- check both samples and see which you like better, though Reichl is more animated there than she is here). This book needed a professional actress to carry the story along.
I could see it being made into a movie, but they would need to include Comfort Me With Apples for a more clear picture of the scope of this woman's very interesting life.
I really liked this group of 12 short stories from Agatha Christie, but there is something a bit lacking in Fraser's narration.
I used to have a few of these abridged on CD and they were read by David Suchet, who also reads "Poirot Investigates," which can be found on this site. Fraser brings a level of gravitas to the stories that some may enjoy, but I missed Suchet's lighter, almost campy take on the detective.
As a result of Fraser's reading, the mystery is at the center of the story-- not the funny little mustachioed detective. Overall, it is still an enjoyable book, and the short stories are, in my opinion, better than many of Christie's longer works, where she has trouble sustaining the story.
I liked the movie The Cider House Rules, and thought I'd check out the book, since the book is almost always better than the movie. This is one case where sadly that is not true. After listening to 8 hours of this horribly depressing story, including at least 30 minutes devoted to a picture of a woman having intercourse with a horse, I gave up.
Irving's purpose seems to be to take every good nostalgic thought you have about the past and cut it open to show you not only its dark side, but it's innards as well. In some of his works, this is revealing and interesting. Here, it serves only to shock and disgust. I wish I hadn't wasted my credits on this dreadful disgusting book.
For me, Joan Hickson is Miss. Marple. Her reading is perfect for that somewhat humble, somewhat boastful spinster detective. I enjoy the Miss. Marple short stories better than the novels. Christie seems to be at her best wrapping up a plot within a few pages instead of trying to maintain a narrative throughout an entire book.
The last stories of the group are read by different authors and have a different tone. I didn't like these two as much. The last in particular is what caused my rating to be lower-- it's a bizarre almost horror story that has nothing to do with Miss. Marple at all and doesn't belong in this collection.
I liked the Tuesday Night Dinner Club stories better, but if you like Agatha Christie, short "cozy" mysteries, or you can't get enough of Miss. Marple, then this is the book for you.
I purchased this book because it was on sale and it looked like it would be a fun salacious summer read. Unfortunately for me, it was more documentary than reality show. The information is interesting, and it is a quick read, but I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. It felt almost as if it was an abridged book and the author often repeats similar sentiments throughout, as if the reader would forget that she was squeamish at some points. If you find the subject interesting, there are probably other books that are better. If you're new to the subject, as I was, this could be a lighter introductory/condensed guide.
I'm an English professor, so I love literary books, but this one about English professors is the epitome of everything that is wrong with my profession. There are a lot of people trying to become the guardians of "special knowledge" that they don't want others to discover or critique.
There are also a lot of people trying to examine literary works in microscopic detail. This literary criticism is described slowly and excruciatingly by Byatt and it's all the more uninteresting because it's based around fictional authors. Truthfully, in real life, the type of criticism she describes does three things:
1. Looks only at a small sample of the work that does not speak to the work itself, the genre, or the author (Usually called a "close study")
2. Excludes other themes or concerns to look at something small which only the critic thinks is important (for example, the female gaze as written in third-person narratives by octogenarian male authors in early Victorian England)
3. Takes all the joy out of reading
Unfortunately, this is encouraged in colleges today. It is something which I abhor, but which this author loves. I could maybe get past that if the pacing, plot, or characterization were better, but alas, they are not. This book is dull as well as pretentious. I tried to read it three times only to realize I was only 7 hours through and could not withstand the last 14 hours.
The one bright spot is the use of fairy tales throughout the text. Although also somewhat pretentious and written with an odd feminist slant, these were somewhat charming. I only wish that a better book could have built around them.
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