Member Profile

Name : Elaine R.

My Reviews

Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
 
Informative, Insightful, Beautiful

I enjoyed this book. I listened to it on audible which made the characters come alive. Julia Whelan, the narrator, did an excellent job with accents and portraying each character’s feelings. I know some readers felt that the dust storm chapters were long and unnecessary, and skipped through much of those chapters, but hearing the fear, the stress, the worry for the children, the “hurry up and get inside” tone from Whelan’s narration made those parts add to the desperation, the concern for their lives, and the need for action as far as leaving the farm. If you can listen to the book, you should. There are some parts at the start of the book concerning Elsa’s virginity at 25 and then not being a virgin soon after because of slightly unrealistic decisions made by Elsa but I thought about it that part of the book as I was listening and it became less unrealistic the more I learned who Elsa truly was: how desperate she was for a companion, how desperate she was for affection, how desperate for love she really was. Elsa is an amazing character who grows throughout the book even while remaining at the farm. She was a committed and loyal daughter-in-law who worked just as hard to keep the farm going as any of the Martinelli’s. The other characters including Rose, Tony, and Loreda were fleshed out and it was easy to understand why they were the way they were. Rafe, Elsa’s husband was more of a mystery and I think we are supposed to feel that way. I think we’re supposed to think about the fact that we don’t truly know ever thought, especially dark thoughts, that a person has. The lack of completely fleshing out his character is purposeful and adds one of either two things depending on how his character is interpreted by the reader: you’re either angry at him and hate him for doing what he did because it showed he was selfish and thoughtless, or you’re angry but still have a smidge of understanding because of why and how he got yo where he was when he finally couldn’t take it anymore. I think it’s a combination of both but mostly I’m angry he did what he did. However, the author has to show how things really were during the depression -men left whole families for dreams, out of frustration, out of resentment, out of shame that they couldn’t provide for their families, but mostly out of weakness of character, of person. I think had Rafe been a central character, the reader would have focused too much on his betrayal of his wife and family and possibly missed out on how mature, how determined, and how heroic Elsa’s character is. Rafe is a means to an end for Elsa to take over the role of being the head of her family, the provider, the nurturer, the worrier, and to show her true “grit” in the face of hopelessness, fear, and the extreme worry that came with trying to feed and house your children. She comes out looking exactly as she should: a mother who loved her children more than anything else, a mother who would do anything to provide food and shelter for her children, and a woman who grows and learns a few things about herself that other people (I.e. her family who told her she was unworthy and that she was ugly, and a husband who never told her she was pretty, and was never affectionate with her) didn’t want her to know or feel. She is one of my favorite characters and I would recommend this book to others, but do yourself a favor, and get a feeling fir tree times and characters by listening to this book.

Count the Ways: A Novel by Joyce Maynard
 
Insightful

The Women: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Informative, Insightful, Dramatic

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