Tillie Harris' life is in disarray - her husband is away on business, the boxes in her new home aren't unpacked, and the telephone isn't even connected yet. Though she's not due for another month, sudden labor pains force Tillie to reach out to her estranged father for help; a choice that means facing the painful memories she's been running from since she was a little girl. An extraordinary debut from a talented new voice, Up from the Blue untangles the year in Tillie's life that changed everything.
Is this a young readers novel, or an adult novel? I thought this was going to be a look at the complex mental health issues that can push a family to, and beyond, their limits. It is, but the entire story is told through the eyes of an 8 year old trying to "fix" her mother's depression and anxiety, while Colonel Dad runs the household. She did not understand enough to make it psycologically interesting. Yep, it rocked her world and left her confused and lonley. This would have been a nice novella, but it was entirely too long with too little adult insight to be an interesting adult read. It would have been interesting to have each family tell a part of the story, rather than an 8 year old's interpretation of the adult motives and emotions.
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism.
While there are certainly remenescient qualities of Hillbilly Elegy, this autobiography takes a much deeper, darker look into paranoid clan mentality, with a big side of family dysfunction, manipulation, and her distorted need to belong. Much appreciation to Tara Westover for her courage of turning her story inside out. You are not alone Tara. Millions of us will recognize at least a sliver of our own reality in your process of sifting memories for truth in the quest to free ourselves from the person our families thought we should be. From one unlikely Ph.D. to another, I hear you. Congratulations.
Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right. But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob's behaviors are hallmark Asperger's, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police.
The characters are interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. The concept of the plot is a good idea, but it dragged on and on. The filler for at least the last third was not engaging enough make up for the delay in arriving at the climax of the story. As a professor of special education, I was glad to see a story including a character with Aspergers. While some of the background information was valid, there were also some major misconceptions perpetuated. Jacob's behaviors seemed generally true to an individual with Aspergers. Generally speaking, a good read, but wow did the ending fall flat. It read like a seven year old found the almost complete manuscript open, added the last sentence and pushed "send". :-(
Kim Edwards' stunning novel begins on a winter night in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognizes that his daughter has Down syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. Instead she disappears into another city to raise the child herself.
I bought this because of my interest in literature that includes characters with disabilities as part of the story. While that was not the primary focus of the book, it did play a pivotal causal role. The disillusion of the fairy dust period in many relationships is interesting in a psychological way. I found myself almost liking, and certainly having some sympathy for our misguided male lead. I wanted to shake him by the shoulders and tell him to take responsibility for his behavior and the pain he had cause others. He never did. The last third was a little bit anticlimactic. I was sure that there was going to be a twist, or a turn in a direction beyond what would just be a natural conclusion...a chance meeting, a glimpse across a distant room. Nope, there was not. I was drawn into the story and looked forward to my next opportunity to listen, it just fell flat in the end.
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge - until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents - but they quickly realize the dark truth.
Very good story line. Shocking exploitation. Novel set in actual history that is just unbelievable!
His attractive neighbor is tugging at his heart-strings. A wealthy widow is pursuing him with hot casseroles. And his red-haired Cousin Meg has moved into the rectory, uninvited.
This is at least my third listen through the Mitford series. When life gets to be too much, and I feel like running away (who runs away at 56?), I escape to Mitford. I rest on Father Tim's sofa, warming my toes by the fire and listen to him reading Wordsworth. I sit in the next to the last booth at the Main Street Grille and listen in on the local gossip being bandied around in the back booth. I sit on the vanity stool in Miss Sadie's bedroom and let her bitter sweet life story carry me to another time and place. Then I muster my courage, say Philippians 4:13 for Pete's sake, and get back to navigating our crazy world with a renewed spirit. Thanks Jan Karon for writing a book better than Valium at putting things into perspective.
Audie Award, Audiobook of the Year, 2016. Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
An internal examination of addiction, abuse, paranoia and betrayal. What was intended to be a twist felt a bit contrived. Not bad, but not a nail biter.
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.
Increasingly predictable. Literary equivalent of repeatedly banging your head against the wall. If I can't have a happy endung, I at least want a good cry. This left me with neither.
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For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice-ex-wife Belle and their odd, Guinness records-obsessed son. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for one of his son's unfinished Boy Scout badges. For seven Saturdays Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the spry 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly.
This is a wonderful story that balances loss, survival, growth, and hope. The narration is outstanding, and I am picky about narrators. Very well done!
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This title also appears as a novella in the collection “Lord John and the Hand of Devils.” New York Times best-selling author Diana Gabaldon, beloved for her immensely popular Outlander series, crafted this fast-paced tale of intrigue when asked to contribute to an anthology honoring the late, great Ellis Peters. Outlander supporting player Lord John Grey investigates the death of a red-haired man only to become mixed up in the affairs of Sir Francis Dashwood and his notorious Hellfire Club. And as Lord John digs further, his life becomes threatened.
Gabaldon is my all time favorite author. I read the Outlander series over and over. All I can say about the one is that she must have been hitting the whiskey that day! The only thing I recognized was JG'S name.
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