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left neglected

August 1, 2013

Left Neglected

By Lisa Genova

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As a huge fan of Lisa Genova’s “Still Alice,” I had very high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, something about it just did not click with me.

Let’s start with the good:

1. I know how a whole lot about a disorder I’ve never heard of before: Left Neglect.

2. The author is obviously amazing at doing thorough research – medical and otherwise.

3. The main character – Sarah – deals with her challenges remarkably well and is admirable through and through.

Now the not so good:

1. What made me pick up this book was the summary on the book jacket. But this book was more about Sarah dealing with Left Neglect rather than her life prior to her accident.

2. I’m not squeamish but the author doesn’t mince words…her portrayal of Sarah’s recovery is down right gritty. Sometimes it was hard to read (obviously my problem – not the author’s problem).

3. Although this isn’t usually the case with me, I do wish the book had a different ending (no details here so I don’t spoil it for others!).

Bottom Line: I’m glad I finished this book but it was definitely tedious in parts. Still, Lisa Genova did a fantastic job developing the main character of this book and if nothing else I am reminded of how lucky I am in about 1,000 different ways.

the silver star

July 13, 2013

The Silver Star

By Jeannette Walls

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Let me preface this review by saying that I am a huge fan of Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, which is one of my favorite books of all time! Thus, when I came across The Silver Star I approached it with excitement, but also a twinge of apprehension. Because really, how many authors can really top their first book?

Not many.

In any case, The Silver Star was a bit of a letdown. I won’t rehash the story line but I will say the premise was great…sort of like Dicey’s Song meets To Kill a Mockingbird. Still, I’m mystified why this novel was marketed to adults when it very clearly screams Young Adult?

Other issues I had with the book include a lack of character development, a predictable plot, and a far too neat and tidy ending. (Hate those kind of rushed, perfect endings).

I realize I’m dwelling on the negative, which is odd, because I actually did enjoy this book and finished it quickly. I also gave it 4/5 stars. I’m just disappointed that the author/publisher misled me (and judging from Amazon and GoodReads reviews, many others)into thinking this book would be something it wasn’t.

The Bottom Line: Jeanette Walls is obviously a talented writer but borrow this one from the library and don’t expect too be knocked off your feet!

angel falls

July 4, 2013

Angel Falls

By Kristin Hannah

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I am usually a huge fan of Kristin Hannah’s work…but this book was seriously disappointing.

First off, most of the characters were boring and contrived. Could Julian have been any more of a “move star?” And Liam…talk about playing a selfless hero. Sorry, I don’t believe the characters in this book were remotely realistic.

Secondly, the story line was SO predictable. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone reading this review but seriously, one knows how this story is going to end even before it begins! I kept waiting for something to happen in this book…but nothing ever really happened. And the ending was so rushed that I think even the author gave up trying to save the plot.

Kristin Hannah usually wins me over with her writing style – I loved Night Road, Winter Garden, and True Colors – so I’m not sure what happened with Angel Falls. I feel bad writing such a negative review but I fear Kristin Hannah is trying to churn out books so quickly she’s sacrificing quality.

Fingers crossed her next one is up to par.

and the mountains echoed

June 22, 2013

And the Moutains Echoed

By Khaled Hosseini

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After many years of waiting this book was somewhat of a disappointment.

While the beginning started out strong and along the lines of Khaled Hosseini’s other books, the subsequent chapters were far less interesting, dragged on in parts, and introduced so many characters I almost reached for a pen and a piece of paper to help keep track of them.

And then ending? The ending was just a total letdown.

I fear that once a writer becomes so well-known and successful he/she is subject to so much pressure to churn out another book that inevitably they lost some of their creative process. Jodi Picoult and Danielle Steel are a few names that come to mind…and it appears Khaled Hosseini is on the same path.

I only hope he takes his time with the next one.

Commencement

April 18, 2013

 

 

 

Commencement

By J. Courtney Sullivan

commencement

I’m sorry to say that this book was a giant waste of time.

Among the things I didn’t like:

1. Characters are unbelievably shallow, unlikable, and boring.
2. The book skips around in time making it confusing to follow.
3. The author is a bit too free with her stereotypes.
4. The writing, at times, is extremely awkward and fake. For example, characters refer to each other as “sweetie” all the time. ALL THE TIME. Drove me nuts.
5. The author tried to make this a women’s issue book that doubles as a beach read. She wasn’t successful in either attempt.
6. The ending was disappointing and contrived.

Not sure why I’m even giving this book two stars, except maybe because I actually finished it so I guess it kept my attention at times?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

April 10, 2013

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

By Amy Chua

Battle Hymn

I admire Amy Chua.

There, I said it. Most people probably think she’s a horrible child abuser for the things she’s made her children endure, but to me? She’s basically the most unselfish person I’ve ever come across. That’s why it amazes me that people cut her down for being so dedicated to her children.

Forgoing vacations so she can hire expensive violin / piano teachers? Selfless. Spending hours of her time making sure her kids practice? Selfless. Driving hours and hours on a weekend so her kids can take lessons from the best instructors? Selfless. Allowing her children to hate her so that they can (hopefully) be better people? Selfless.

I, who can barely find the energy to pick up my 8-year-old’s spelling list at the end of a long day at work, can take a lesson or two on what a dedicated parent should be.

But that’s not to say that Amy Chua isn’t slightly off her rocker. I mean, I totally get wanting to have your children put some thought into your birthday, but “not accepting” a child’s homemade birthday card because it’s sloppy? That seems harsh. And organizing two-hour practice sessions while on vacation? That seems a bit extreme too.

A few other things I didn’t like about the book as a whole:

  • I would have liked to know more about Amy Chua’s approach to academics. Meaning, how did she enforce her children did their homework every day? How did she handle TV time? Was she controlling about what her kids ate and watched too? These are things I struggle with – it would be nice to know her thoughts.
  • Some chapters were utterly boring. I mean, great job on getting your kids to practice for hours Amy, but I seriously had to skim a few pages because I couldn’t read about yet another practice.

The Bottom Line:

Not sure I 100% agree with Amy Chua’s method of child-rearing, but since it appears that she’s far more successful in her life than I am? Well I can’t really judge her parenting theories.

I will say that Amy has taught me that in order for my child to be successful, I must play an integral part. And since finishing this book two days ago? I’ve been making more of an effort to put my computer down and pick up my kid’s homework instead. I only hope that I somehow find the tenacity to stick it out.

Gone Girl

March 7, 2013

Gone Girl

 

By Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

 

I finished this  book yesterday and I’m still trying to form an opinion about it.

Here’s what I liked for sure: This book it was amazingly, phenomenally well written. The plot? Extraordinary. The characters? Well-developed and interesting (to say the least). The subject matter? Fascinating. There is no doubt that Gillian Flynn is one talented writer.

Here’s what I’m not sure I liked (without giving too much away): I understand fiction is just that, fiction. But this book is so unbelievable in parts that it borders on ludicrous.

Here’s what I know for sure: It doesn’t matter what I like or don’t like about this book. You should read it anyway and then come back and let me know your thoughts – especially about the ending.

I also know this for sure: This book is one of a kind. People will be talking about it for a long time to come and for good reason.

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