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My Reviews

 
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
A wonderful adventure encompassing themes of love, honor, good & evil , faith & family.

I love this book. It is a charming saga told from the point of view of an 11-year-old boy in the early 1960s, altough it's feel is of an earlier era. I fell in love with all the characters.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
The story of a young girl's neglectful upbringing by two dysfunctional parents. It seemed to me to be a story of the ability of love and acceptance to help us overcome even the most dysfunctional chi

I really enjoyed this book. I read most of it in one sitting. The misadventures of the Walls family were riveting, appalling and somehow inspiring at the same time. The relationship of the siblings to one another was beautiful. I loved the way they became one another's protectors.

I do wonder, however, if some of the things may have been given poetic license. It's a little hard to give credibility to some of her memories, especially the very early ones of when she was only three years old. The conversations and vocabulary seemed a little too sophisticated for a very young child to recall or even understand. Never-the-less, it made for a wonderful story.

The writer identified with the girl in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," and I could see many parallels in the two stories, especially in the girls' love for their flawed fathers. I think in spite of all his shortcomings, Rex did really love his children. The mother, on the other hand was very narcisistic and childlike. Everything was about her. She was very hard to like. It's hard to understand how a mother could let her children starve when she had the resources to feed them.

I'm glad the story ended on a positive note. To me the message of this story is that we can choose to overcome our past, or we can choose the walow in self pity and let the past destroy us. The writer choose to love her parents and accept that they were who they were. She didn't deny the bad things they did, nor did she choose to hate them for it. She simply choose to accept and love them. It's a good lesson.

Farewell to Manzanar by James D. Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki
 
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
The story of one family's experience in an internment camp told from the perspective of an American born girl who wanted more than anything just to be an American girl.

I enjoyed this book very much. Don't expect an analysis of the rightness or wrongness of the internment camps. It is really the story of one family told from the perspective of the youngest daughter. For me, the most striking element of the story was how much the young people wanted to show that they were good Americans. Jeanne felt a strange sense of shame because her family was made to feel "other" and distrusted because they could be easily identified as Japanese.
I felt very sympathetic to the father, whose deep sense of pride was so deeply wounded by something that was completely outside his control.

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
 
Informative, Adventurous, Insightful
This is a wonderful story about individuals caught up in the Nazi occupation of Italy. It shows us the horror of people caught up in the evils of a system that reduced some people to subhumans and tr

I loved this book! I thought the writing was beautiful, at times even poetic. Ms. Russell developed each of her characters so well that I felt I knew each of them personally. She also did an excellent job of showing all the characters as fully human. No angels or devils here, just human beings forced to make hugh moral choices and having to live with the consequences.

I gained much respect for the people of Italy after reading this book and researching for myself Italy's role in the War. Why did so many Italians choose to help their Jewish neighbors and even Jewish strangers, when so many Europeans choose to either ignore their plight and in some cases even participate? What made them different? What it seems to come down to is this: each individual must choose for him/herself, do I look away from evil or do I do what I can to help? Many Italian's choose to help at great cost to themselves.

A warning -- Don't expect a light read. This is a heavy, thought provoking read.

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