Yes. I am a big fan of Pat Conroy's novels and this memoir, though self-serving, gives additional depth to his novels. Having said that, he's not a very likable person.
It was extremely interesting to me that while he has spent a lifetime attacking his own abuser (his father), he supported and excused his sister's abuser (their mother). No wonder she hated him--I would have, too.
I can't say I loved it. Maybe because I have always imagined Pat Conroy's voice to be more like Nick Nolte's in Prince of Tides. It took me a while to get used to it.
I can see it, but I don't it should be made into a movie. He's hurt his family enough. This memoir is supposed to be the one that puts his relationship with his father to rest. Making a movie of it would make a lie of the premise of the book.
This book got off to an atrocious start, mainly due to the narrator, who sounded drunk throughout most of the book. I was not going to finish it. I gave it a little more time and have to admit I wanted to know the outcome. Once I got past the beginning and the narration, the story was compelling. But that is not to say it was good.
There is really very little to like here. The outlandishness of the conspiracy was eclipsed only by the cynical and sexist premise that a child-like, insecure, hapless woman was propelled into a figurehead presidency by cynical party leaders. It's a typically condescending story of a poor little insecure girl whose inner strength comes through, mostly because a man believes in her and rescues her, and she is redeemed in the end.
A lot of people died to protect this vapid and unworthy person, which leads to the only valid premise in the book. It is the presidency, not the person, that must be protected and is worth dying for. At one point in the book, when she seriously considered resigning, I found myself feeling that she was exactly the coward and traitor that the conspirators believed her to be.
I doubt that I will read anything more by this author. I know I will not listen to anything more by this narrator.
I don't normally think of books in this genre of book as 5-star books; usually 3 or 4 at most. But I couldn't stop listening. I read the first book, then immediately had to get the next one. Then the third one. If that doesn't deserve my 5 stars, I don't know what does.
The author uses current events of the time and very cleverly inserts his characters as key players in those events. I don't always like this plot device, but it worked well here. These are prequels to the Repairman Jack series. I had not previously read any Repairman Jack books, but I will certainly start reading the series (after a short break to catch up on other new purchases).
Jack is a paladin, a righter of wrongs. He has come to New York after avenging his mother's murder. He is barely more than a teenager, but his natural tendencies cause him to become involved in many people's problems. His solutions are, let's say, less than legal. He meets many memorable characters, some of whom he helps, some of whom help him. By the end, he has grown into his eventual role as Repairman Jack.
Be warned: these books are very violent and there is a high, and gruesome, body count. And some very like-able characters die.
I think what distinguishes this book from others of its genre is its characters. They are richly drawn, even though many are stereotypes. You care about them, even when you can't possibly care for them.
The narrator was perfect! His Jack voice sounded just like I would expect Jack to sound, but he managed a large cast of other voices as well, very believably!
This is a sad and bleak story of the price that narcissitic and poisonous parents exact on their children. There was was good writing and some good insights until the end. But it was so, so sad.
These parents care only for themselves. They supposedly care for each other, but neither gives even a single second's thought to what the other needs or wants.They care only for Lydia to the extent each parent believes she will live out their, impossibly conflicting, fantasies of the lives they wish they had had. They care for their two other children not at all. The story paints a bleak and believable picture of how it is as impossible to be the chosen child as it is to be the neglected ones. More so, because the neglected ones have a chance to escape, whereas the chosen one is doomed. The metaphor of the prehistoric fly trapped in amber is apt. The story marches, sadly, toward its seemingly inevitable end.
SPOILER ALERT. But the author must believe in magic. Because everyone, including the poor, dead girl, is transformed in the end---all in one one day, no less. However, the parents haven't really changed. Their "transformation" is just an opportunity to exercise more of their own self-absorption. There is not a moment's guilt for what they eventually, and implausibly, realize they did to Lydia, or for the price she paid for their now, supposedly, functional family, cleansed magically of its toxicity.
I give the story 2 stars, because I did care enough to read through and find out what happened. But I don't give it 3 because of the ridiculous and unbelievable ending.
I did not like the narrator at all. Her voice was fake: all smarmy and soothing and pregnant with feeling.
This is very, very light reading. The characters are caricature, the plot is light and predictable. But sometimes that's just what you want to read. The narrator was perky, which was the right tone for this book. I can't recommend it as literature, but as chick lit escape, it was enjoyable.
I've enjoyed the first three books in this series, but this one disappoints. It's boring and repetitive. I don't need any more reminders of Nathan's torture and rescue many years ago. I'm tired of characters from their pasts. It's time for Nathan and Harv to move on to their present lives, instead of reliving their past lives.
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, but if these don't characters don't move on, I'm done.
It was boring and repetitive. Even the suspense, such as it was, was boring.
Possibly. It's the first book I've read by Littell. Even my favorite authors sometimes write books I don't care for. And a different narrator might have helped immensely.
Different narrator. Every sentence was declarative. They all sounded the same, even with the accents. Every character sounded the same, even those that he voiced differently.
Every repetition. It seems like several whole passages were repeated. One small example is the description of how Fred dressed. We didn't need to hear twice about her pantsuit with the wide legs and frilly shirt. There were others. The book could probably have been cut by an hour by editing out all the needless repetition.
I wanted to read this because I am watching the television series. It's hard to see how one came from the other. Only the names are the same. The characters themselves are completely different. Sometimes it is a good thing to read the source novel, other times not so good. This was a not so good time.
This book is full of delightful characters, with Dr. Siri leading the way. What fun! I plan to give this to a friend as a gift.
A good friend of mine used to say "watch out for bruised and bleeding," meaning someone who is still in too much pain from the last heartbreak is not a good candidate for a relationship. It's hard to say more without giving too much away. I do think the author effectively used vulnerability as a motivator for more than one of the characters.
Several characters, especially the ADA and the judge, were one-dimensional and unbelievable.
Several reviewers have said the ending was predictable and obvious. I don't usually spend too much time trying to figure out the twist, so maybe that's why I missed it.
I didn't love the narrator--too earnest.
It was a good "read"--not great, but good. I recommend it.
This was a good story and a good read. I would have liked to give it four stars.
But the author doesn't trust the reader to get the point. He hits the reader over the head with it, over and over again. It's like the Holocaust (boink!). It's like making the Jews wear a yellow star (boink!). It's like the WWII Japanese internment camps (boink!). It's like racism (boink!). It's like homophobia (boink!). And then I read an article he wrote and he also says it's about autism.
By doing this, he disrespects the reader and adds a falseness to the story. He's not black. He's not gay. He's not Japanese. He's not autistic. (I don't know if he's Jewish, but even if he is, he grew up in America and never had to wear a yellow star!)
It's always risky to tell a story not your own. But, hey, that's what fiction is. But then just tell the story and trust the reader to make her or his own connections and comparisons.
The narrator was okay, but not my favorite. He only had one alternate voice other than Cooper's and it was rather annoying.
I only give this book one star, because I can't give it zero stars.
This book is filled with thoughts and imaginings that the author cannot possibly know occurred. He cannot possibly know what happened in the final conversation Michael had with his uncle. He cannot possibly know how Michael or Mary felt when they were three years old. He has invented his version of Michael for his story. When I began to wonder how he could possibly know these and other things, I went to the internet and found that a number of Michael's friends have objected to the invented darkness that the author created to foreshadow his later life and death.
The author should have stuck to Philomena's story.
As a memoir, this is fake. As fiction, it is melodrama. I do not recommend this book to anyone.
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