this book was amazing, freaky, scary, frustrating and totally totally F'ed up.
this is a story of obsession and insanity, yes. but it's also a story of friendship and love, unhealthy love. of dependence and self loathing. of how decisions can stunt and haunt someone. it's a story of race and intolerance. it's a story of art and literature and beauty and freedom.
nora, a teacher in cambridge, is psycho. i mean...seriously. she becomes obsessed with a family -- not as a family -- but as three separate units. she's in love with all three of them, mother, father, son -- in unhealthy and insane ways.i truly do think that nora is clinically psychotic. but god, what a fascinating narrator she makes for this story. so...i will say without any doubts, i did not like nora. i think for all she pats herself on the back for being such a great person, friend, woman, teacher...she's really kind of an asshole. but i guess it all goes back to the fact that shes INSANE. and so, as unlikeable as i find her, i couldn't stop reading her story. of course in a book like this, i know upfront that i cannot trust her as a narrator and so i found myself doubting everything she said. at times, she even said as much...that she was telling these events as SHE perceived them...maybe not how they actually occurred. but how well Claire Messud wrote her perceptions....it's amazing. i reveled in hearing each moment she spent with the three members of the Shahid family (reza, sirena and skandar). i was excited for every new development that progressed in each string of the story...and how they all wove and intertwined with each other.
i've listened to a few books read by Cassandra Campbell in the past. i'm the first to admit that she is not usually my favorite narrator. there is something about her that irks me. and in this book -- that only lent itself to making her voicing nora's insanity strong and true. it sounds strange, but the fact that i don't love her narration worked for me in this story -- because i didn't like nora either.
i was on the edge of my seat this entire book, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and was horrified and amazed when it did.
honestly i expected more from amy tan. i dont know why. i've only read one other book by her (joy luck club), and i really did enjoy that one...but its been 6 years since i read it -- and 25 years since she wrote it. thats a lot of time, and a lot of other novels, that i've missed. but i guess because she's so prolific, and so popular, i figured that this novel was bound to be another amazing story. i kind of didn't feel that way.
to be frank, i found the story to drag on and on...with all of the main characters making all of the same mistakes over and over and over again. without learning or growing.
Violet is one of the dumbest female protagonists i have ever encountered. i kept grimacing over every choice she made, every person she trusted, every word she uttered. she kept saying 'i'm smart' 'i am clever' 'i could figure a way' -- and i wanted to scream back at here - no you aren't!!! you really really aren't! her story took way to long to unfold. leaving precious little time to get through the other two women's stories, which then felt rushed and cut short. Lulu was semi-interesting....but as i said, i felt i didn't get to really invest myself in her story because it was told so quickly and so near to the end of the novel -- i knew that it was being told only to move the story along to the ending.
obviously i don't know anything about being a courtesan in turn of the century China...how would i. and this story did give you an interesting look into that lifestyle, whether chosen or forced upon a woman. it was extremely graphic in it's sexual encounters -- which didn't bother me -- but i also didn't find those scenes necessarily helped to move the plot along. they were a bit gratuitous.
what frustrated me the most in this novel was the two child kidnappings that took place. the complacency of both mothers was astounding...like they lost an old silk scarf -- not a child from their own womb! there was no lamenting except a few words here and there 'i long for my daughter' 'i think about her all the time.' but that didn't seem like what was going on. it seemed, to me, that each woman was moving along with her life without looking back....without giving any effort to rescue her poor child. perhaps it was the times, or the country they were in, but i found the fact that no recourse was even attempted frustrating and bothersome. then the ending comes, everyone hugs and "we can all live happily moving forward and love each other again" -- it was just ridiculous.
to end, this book was frustrating, and drawn out, and overall disappointing to me.
i was absolutely riveted by this story. while the historical nature of the story seemed like a bit of a departure for Hoffman, the magical quality of the story was shining with every word written. i think Hoffman always has a way with words, and when her story is so captivating and her characters are so tormented the blend becomes a perfect novel.
this book was great. it had just the right amount of intensity and mystery, just the right amount of drama, just the right amount of deviance and brutality, and it was just the right length.
the story was interesting, with empathetic characters who are tortured (excuse the pun) by their past and trying to figure out a way to move on while having to revisit their old wounds. it's fast paced, there's no time wasted in getting to the final climax where all the twists and mysteries are resolved or revealed.
it's a perfect creepy crazy story of female victims trying to figure out the realities and overcome the horrors what happened to them.
intense story with a lot of great twists that really kept it moving. every time you get to a resolution, you realize that it's just the beginning of another crazy turn in the story.
there were definitely some cultural differences in the plot and in the writing, but they didn't detract from the intensity of the story.
as a character, Alex was well developed and had a lot of depth and interest. the way her story unfolds through her narration and through the investigation surrounding her kidnapping is layered in such a way that til the very last few pages you are still guessing...which makes for a good mystery.
worthy read for people who like this type of novel.
i'm not a sports person, and i'm not really a non-fiction book person...and yet, i found this story interesting and really quite enjoyable.
it's an American pride story, an underdog story, a story of resiliance and hope and and brotherhood. it was not only enlightening and educational, but really exciting. it's a piece of our nation's olympic history that I had no idea about but am glad that i now do.
grisham is a good writer. definitely keeps you interested and introduces you to a vast and various group of characters. while the book was pretty predictable (both hubby and i figured out what was going on around chapter 3), it wasn't boring..and i didn't mind watching the story unfold in the courtroom.
for my first foray into grisham i guess it was a bit underwhelming, but this guy obviously churns out novels with interesting characters and well thought out stories that are really perfect to translate into films.
i loved this book.
the tried and true detective story as told my the master Stephen King just works.
i love King's writing, whether or not it involves the supernatural aspects. the story delivers. the characters deliver. it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering whether good or evil would indeed prevail, you never know with King; and i loved every thrilling second of it.
what a satisfying novel.
family has turmoil. family goes on two week vacation to Mallorca. family forced all together to confront turmoil. family comes out the other side.
i rooted for this family. i wanted everything to turn out ok. every single character was spot on...each of them had parts to love, and parts to hate. just like a regular family. the writing was easy, floating along between characters unraveling all the complexities of each of them...
this was cute, but no eleanor and park. kinda silly, kinda obvious...but cute enough.
Rainbow Rowell writes this type of book really well.
i can safely say that this has been my favorite book that i have read this year...and probably up there in my top reads in the past few years. this book was so heavy. and so amazing.
what an incredible cast of characters. most of which you rooted for even though they weren't all that 'good' in a conventional sense. there was such a deep sadness that rooted through every single person the story encounters. sadness and despair. each of the families (children) that the main character, Pete, is tasked to help as a social worker are desperate and depressed sometimes depraved.
i don't know what to say. i loved it so much it was one of those books that i never wanted to end.
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