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My Reviews

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
The story of an unbelievable family told with captivating charm

Of all the books I read for the book club, this one has stayed with me the most. It is a fascinating story of an unbelieveable family and the hardships the children had to endure. The fact that they survived is incredible in itself, but what makes the story is how Jeannette Walls tells it. She immediately catches your interest and keeps it. Instead of being angry with her parents for their negligence, she tries to understand and relate their story as best she can. Interwoven with humor and sadness, there is an inner charm to her story that is captivating.

For One More Day by MITCH ALBOM
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Interesting
Probably my favorite of Mitch Albom's

As with his other books, Mitch Albom gives you something to think about. We all probably have someone we would like to see "for one more day." We would probably give anything to have the opportunity to understand things from a different perspective. Even if you don't have someone who is gone, this book opens the door for you to take the time to appreciate those close to you now while you still have them. There is a surprise ending that puts a interesting twist to the story. Mitch Albom's books are a joy to read because they are quick and so well written.

 
Slow, Pointless, Interesting
An wonderful story of a misguided adventure

Once you get past the beginning - after meeting the narrator and understanding her past and being introduced to each of the people who go on this incredible journey to China and Burma - the story takes you through this magical, unbelieveable adventure. You get an insight into human nature with the interaction between the various people on the trip, not only among themselves, but with the people of the countries they visit. Some of the incidents are funny; some are humiliating; many are enlightning. On the whole, the story gets your attention and holds you as you want to know what happens to the travelers. Our club had the good fortune to hear a couple from Burma speak about the authenticity of the things mentioned in the book, which gave us an even greater insight on the country and the people of Burma.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Brilliant
An intimate look at losing someone

I couldn't decide if I liked this book or not, or if I would ever recommend it. It turns out that someone close to me lost a significant other, and I did tell her about this book, leaving it up to her to decide if she wanted to read it or not. Although I had the impression that Joan Didion appeared to be too analytical and unemotional, I believed that she offered wonderful insight into what someone goes through - like not being able to give away his shoes because there is a part of you that hopes, and in a way, expects, the person to return. I am a very analytical person, and my fear is that I may come across as Joan Didion, but in talking to my friend, she, too, had to understand all the hows and whys and the sequence of events. I believe reading the book helped her appreciate that others share some of the same feelings in the emotional rollercoaster of losing someone dear to you.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Sara Gruen tells a wonderful story

Sarah Gruen draws you into a wonderful story of an old-time circus, full of intriguing characters, including a very special elephant named Rosie. Since the story is told in the past and the present, there are two completely different settings: one with Jacob's life as part of a circus and another of his life at a retirement home. You join the 90-some year old Jacob, feeling his loneliness and frustration at the retirement home, and then reminiscing with the 20-some year old Jacob on his hardships before and joining up with the circus. I loved the colorful characters, the part of Rosie, and how it all came together. One of my favorite books!

 
Interesting, Informative, Inspiring
Not one of my favorites.

While I believe that Debbie Rodriguez' heart was in the right place, I question the way she went about some of the things she did. She wanted to help the people and especially the women in Afghanistan, but she seemed to be way over her head. The book/journal is well written, but I had difficulty getting through it and would put it down for days. This is the first book, as part of our club, that I had trouble finishing. I trust that Debbie wanted the world to understand what the women of Afghanistan must endure every day of their lives, but I cannot help but wonder if the publication of this book brings risky attention to the women that Debbie befriended and may ultimately cause them more harm.

The End of the Alphabet by Cs Richardson
 
A quick but a thought provoking read

I selected the book because I was curious about the places Ambrose and Zipper would chose to visit. The concept of the story - what would you do if you only had 30 days to live - is something that usually draws people in. After reading the book, I felt like I wanted more, because the book is very short and the writing at first seems choppy with very little elaboration. The more I thought about it, I realized how much I really liked the book. The ultimate highlight was having the opportunity to speak with the author, C.S. Richardson. My book club loved it! He was so patient as we went around the table and grilled him. We look forward to his next book.

 
Poorly Written, Boring, Slow
Needs a little testoserone

Annie Freeman wanted to bring those dear to her together to give them an opportunity to share not only poignant aspects of her life, but to share their own lives with those who could relate and understand their hardships and obstacles. We learn a great deal about Annie as her friends travel to places that were important to her. The story has it good moments, but it gets to be too much. I found myself wanting a "male" perspective. One time they had a chance to meet with someone to whom Annie was married, perhaps briefly, but they missed the opportunity because they were so wrapped up in their own discussions. Besides Annie, Marie, the hospice nurse, stood out as the strongest and by far the favorite of our book club readers. We are glad she got to travel along with the rest of the ladies.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Captivating story of two amazing women

Afghanistan may be a land of "A Thousand Splendid Suns," but we do not feel the warmth of the country as seen through the eyes of two woman. Despite the hardships and misery the woman endured, there was still a love of what was lost, and even for Lalia, there was a longing to go back to her home in Kabul. Mariam and Laila perhaps made mistakes, but their stories are captivating and you admire their strength and courage.

Marley & Me by John Grogan
 
Fun, Adventurous, Inspiring
A must read for anyone who owns, or has owned, a dog.

A fun, entertaining, and touching story about a family and their dog, Marley, who becomes such an integral part of their family. Anyone who has had the joy of having a dog can relate to the antics and escapades of Marley.

World Without End by Ken Follett
 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Interesting, Insightful
Word Without End

I had never read "The Pillars of the Earth." When my bookclub chose "World Without End," I wanted to start with "Pillars" first, and I loved the book. "Pillars" immediately got my attention and kept it throughout the book. I found the characters and the storyline so captivating with ultimate goal of building the cathedral. "Pillars" actually symbolize the strength of people and their stories. I enjoyed "World Without End" and the continuation of the story 200 years later (life goes on and, thus, the title of the second book), but "Pillars" and the people of 1100's was my favorite of the two books.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The story caught my attention and held it throughout. Edgar and Almondine had a special bond which made a dramatic story. I probably would have preferred a different ending. Knowing that it is similar to a "Shakespearian tragedy," I was prepared.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Beautiful, Insightful
Blackbird Fly - Packed full!

The story starts out slow, but draws you in if you stay with it. I believe Lise McClendon tried to pack everything into this one story...death, murder, mystery, romance, intrigue, France, wine, mistresses, crazy people, but most of all, family. There is something for everyone in this convoluted story and you will want to read the story to find out how it all comes together.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
South of Broad

My husband was so captivated with Pat Conroy's writing style that he had to read to me the part describing Leo, the main character, riding his bike delivering newspapers in the early morning hours of Charleston and all the people who become his friends and supporters during his difficult time in his youth. Because of my husband's enthusiasm, I had to read the book and I was not disappointed. There is a whole cast of characters and Pat Conroy cleverly interweaves their lives and their impact on Leo's. It is symbolic that the bike route helps to heal him when he is young. When he returns to these familiar streets when he older and has experienced so much, it is the bike route that again helps to heal him. Pat Conroy provides something for everyone in this story of the people of Charleston.

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Romantic, Informative
Hemingway\'s Girl

Hemingways Girl was a wonderful story following our Book Clubs reading of The Paris Wife. Although The Paris Wife was very good, it showed a different side of Ernest Hemingway with his first wife, Haddie, and his younger years in Paris, Hemingway\'s Girl shows and older Hemingway with his second wife and his relationship with his young, stong, intriguing housekeeper, Mariella. The characters and storyline of Hemingway\'s Girl set in Key West provide an fascinating story of love, strength, admiration, with a hurricane as a climax. I liked the other characters of this story in addition to gaining an insight into a complex writer of our time. Our book club had the added benefit of having the author, Ericka Robuck, join us for our meeting. It was a great discussion and good to hear how someone goes about writing and reseaching a book.

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