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My Reviews

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
A Child's Perspective

I don't think I could have finished this book if it hadn't been narrated by Jack. Yes, sometimes, it was hard to understand things from a child's point of view but his innocence made the horrific circumstances seem bearable. It seems selfish that I was able to take comfort in anothers ignorance but alas, I did. The writing is wonderful and the writer did her research. Visit her website for more details like the layout of "room" and how she came to be so knowledgeable of situations such as these.

The Dovekeeper by Alice Hoffman
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Epic, Informative
The Dovekeepers

A novel inspired by the war on Jerusalem. This novel was written to give the women of that time a voice and makes you want to visit Masada to immerse yourself in the history of such a brave people. I found it to be wonderfully insightful and a very good read. Highly recommended.

Playing for Pizza by John/ Welch, Christopher Evan (NRT) Grisham
 
Boring, Unconvincing, Slow
Meh.

I picked up "Playing for Pizza" because it was about a Cleveland Brown who was having a rough go in his career. (Because really, aren't they all?) I don't know what I expected but the writing didn't draw me in. The book is not poorly written it just didn't do much. We have a quarterback that's been asked to play for an international league that is on par with American high school teams. He's hard pressed to make any real decisions for his personal life and isn't fully invested into his career so it's easy to see why no coach let's him stick around. Even at the very end of the book, he refuses to make a decision for his life. I found that just as frustrating as I would have if the events were real.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
...Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was informative but a bit disappointing. I suppose I was let down by the Lacks family. I've never been one to "let" life happen to me so I found it hard to empathize or sympathize with people who lashed out at the few people in their lives who really wanted to help them and always seemed to fall prey to the con artists and users. Ms. Skloot is a biologist and so you'll find that there is a heavy emphasis on the scientific aspect of the story. There is a definite human interest element and makes for an interesting discussion of who owns our bodies and why someone would else be given the right to profit from our own DNA.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Boring, Insightful
Not Your Typical Novel

"Freedom" is set in the midst of the 2nd term of George W. Bush. It revolves around one family's plights. I was mesmorized as I watched a seemingly perfect, all-American family crumble like stale bread. Mr. Franzen's writing has a way of creating heroes and villains of every character. All of my voyeuristic tendancies were satisfied and I almost didn't want the story to end. "Freedom" is as American as a novel can get. A guilty pleasure for sure.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Beautiful
The Art of Racing in the Rain

This book, written by Garth Stein, moves very slowly. Because its written from the dog's perspective, I found it to be a bit cold and emotionless at times. The writer did a good job relaying a passion for racing, but I'm not a fan of the sport which, at times, made it hard to follow. I knew how things would end, yet still found myself teary-eyed. You'll like it but you won't love it.

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
There Aren't Enough Pages

I was hesitant to pick up 11/22/63. I've read Stephen King's work before; I know how dark he can be. There were moments of intense darkness but I was able to muddle through because the hero's task was so important to me. No one can answer the questions we all have about JFK's assassination with 100% certainty. And no one can say what the world would have been like had he lived. But King's vivid imagination takes you on a whirlwind of a ride and refuses to let you go...even after the last page is turned.

Epilogue by Anne Roiphe
 
Slow, Boring, Gloomy
Sad but still...

Epilogue was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I value highly. It is the story of a woman's road to recovery after the sudden loss of her husband. Epilogue is based on true events and I feel for Ms. Roiphe with every part of my being. But as a single woman, I felt a certain disconnect and could never really get invested in her writing. I also felt that she was selfish and brought a lot of the pain and anguish on herself. I have no patience for self-inflicted pain.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Life Changing
A Whole New World

Deborah Feldman allows us to explore the world that she grew up in, the world of a Satmar Hasid. She tells her tale poignantly as a young woman without options. Her struggle to first find herself and then to find her freedom is moving and inspiring. If Deborah can break the chains that bind her to a life of silent suffering, can we rise to the occasion to break the chains we have imposed upon ourselves? The book forces you to think we can.

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula Mclain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
The Other Side of Hemingway

The Paris Wife is toted as a novel but it is based entirely on Hemingway's own works (including A Moveable Feast) and other historical documents. The story is told entirely from Hadley's point of view and you (painfully) watch the evolution of her marriage as she grows and Ernest stays the same. There are excerpts from Hemingway's journals that bring on a rush of emotions and caused me immeasurable pain as a woman and a reader. The Paris Wife is enchanting and insightful. It shows a side of Ernest Hemingway that I never knew existed; a side that almost changed how I feel about his work.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Persuasive, Life Changing
Do You Want to Change Your Life?

Napoleon Hill wrote Outwitting the Devil back in 1938 and it was never published because of it's controversial tone. Chapter 7 is where he gets into his interview with the devil and I'll tell you now, there are things here that you will read that will cause light bulbs and fireworks to explode in the brain. If you're looking for real personal development, pick up this book and don't set it down until you're finished. Let it change your life.

We Can't Go Home Again by Max Andrew Dubinsky
 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Brilliant, Adventurous
You'll Feel It In Your Bones

We Can't Go Home Again is poignant, brilliant, and resonates in the soul. Max takes tragedy and weaves in it an undeniable hope. I picked up the book this morning and finished it before the sun had a chance to set. His writing is raw, real, gripping, and pure. Each short story seems to be written from first-hand knowledge; they could be about your friend, your brother, your lover, your...self.

If you've ever felt lost, broken, hopeless, or unforgiven, We Can't Go Home Again is here to remind you that the only thing standing between you and peace is your refusal to forgive yourself.

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