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review 2016-08-05 19:36
Likeable story
Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

This in-depth look at a group of neighbors makes for an interesting read, although it starts off way too slowly. Six neighbors and three children get together for a barbeque when something goes wrong.  The tease of what happens at the barbeque isn’t revealed until halfway through this lengthy book.  The telling of the story fluctuates between the time period after the barbeque and the day of the barbeque.  During the first half of the book, you can see the effects of whatever happened on these people but you don’t really understand why until half way through the book.  I found that to be annoying.  I think the author would have been better off if she had started the book by telling about the day of the barbeque and then went into how it affects everyone and the divisions and guilt that are exposed.  For some reason, the first half of this book reminded me of the TV series, “The Slap”, and I kept wondering if something similar had happened at this barbeque.  At least with “The Slap”, the incident is revealed at the beginning.

 

That being said, don’t let the slowness of the first half of the book discourage you completely. There is more to the book than what actually happened at the barbeque.  Even after that is revealed, there are other facts to be disclosed. I found the characters to be likeable and I cared about them, even while I sometimes found them to be immature and a bit irritating. There are many layers to this book. The complex relationships between these people, their marriages and their pasts are quite intensely explored and I found some of those sections very interesting and enjoyable.  I just felt that the structure of the book wasn’t the best means of presenting the story.

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review 2013-12-13 22:12
Domestic Life In England
Domestic Life In England - Norah Lofts

bookshelves: published-1976, britain-england, history, food-glorious-food, nonfiction, one-penny-wonder, plague-disease, medieval5c-16c, tudor, women

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Libbeth
Read in October, 2009

 

 My cover -

The question is - where to begin?

... and Lofts takes 1066 because the conquest brought England into closer touch with Europe than it had since the fall of Rome; it brought political, social and linguistic changes; it brought about the use of stone as a common building material, and some of those early stone structures survive to this day.

An interesting flit down the ages. Recommended for a quick read on a wet afternoon.
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review 2012-07-27 12:52
Driving to BelAir: A Novella
Driving to Bel Air - William G. Jones Road trips are a tried and tested formula, one which is difficult to either get completely right or completely wrong. I have read and seen so many books and movies on the subject which I have liked enough to not get bored by them. But I had yet to come across something I truly loved. I have to say the “Driving to Belair” comes close to being perfect.

The book follows the formula very well. We start with a reason for the road trip which has meaning and does not seem frivolous. Each of the persons on the road trip has a personality and there are no filler characters. As, with any good road trip book, anything that can go wrong, does in fact go wrong. The characters develop and mature during the road trip as the hardships and the trials all bring them closer to each other than they were to begin with. And, it all ends on a hugely positive note. Frankly, I don’t see anything new there. But, I still loved the book! It is by far the best one I have read.

I loved the mix of characters the author has created. The trip consists of Dale, a person working in a New York advertising agency who comes from the modest background of a family raised on a farm. Then, there are his two brothers, both of whom have their own problems. One of them is a drug addict, who is totally immature and refuses to grow up. The other brother has held a grudge against Dale for a really long time for leaving the family behind and for “running away” from his responsibilities. He is now an alcoholic and is hostile towards Dale right from the start. Add to this trio, Dale’s ex-fiancé whom he also left behind and his current high-maintenance girlfriend who is the spoilt daughter of his boss. With such a cast, the storyline was bound to be explosive.

Each character is clearly well developed and complex. I kept changing my opinions about the all the characters, except for one, throughout the book. I kept moving from hating to loving characters and could not decide whether a character was the good guy or bad. For example, Dale’s past made me feel really sorry for him. He had a tough childhood with an abusive father, which made him bitter towards his family. But I couldn’t stand his actions now, after all these years. This is something I really enjoy, characters which are not painted with just one brush. Each character had a past and personality traits which added many dimensions to them and made them real. The talent of the author lies in making us feel the emotions he wants us to feel. This is not something easy to achieve, and for this I commend him.

The events which take place in the story are fairly standard to any road tip related media. They did add a lot of personality to the book though. They made me laugh, cringe, shout, feel sorry, and finally feel happy. The book also ends strongly. All the loose ends are perfectly tied and everyone goes home happy, well almost everyone. The author also gives us a glimpse in the life of the characters a few years after this road trip. We’re left contented as we know what finally happened to each of the characters.

I found it to be nice that such broken people can also find lasting happiness. This means there is hope for me too! LOL. That is the message I truly love.
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review 2012-07-06 03:02
The Dry Grass of August
The Dry Grass of August - Anna Jean Mayhew Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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review 2012-03-05 13:04
Me and You
Me and You - Niccolò Ammaniti,Kylee Doust Lorenzo is no typical teenager, he is a sheep in wolves clothing or as he puts it a fly pretending to be a wasp. In school this tactic helps him get by but it does notmake him any friends. So he remains uninvited to the ski-trip his classmatesare planning. On a whim he tells his mother he’s going and decides to spend theentire week hiding in the cellar. A comfortable seven days awaits Lorenzo, untilhis half-sister Olivia shows up uninvited and demands shelter or she will tell on him.

This is ashort book, leading the reader along a very simple plot. Lorenzo the asocialteen hides in a cellar, “tap, tap!” on the window and “oh! There’s company”that’s it. But don’t let that fool you because in simple things often lie greatpleasures. Due to the limited staging of the novel it reads a little like aplay. With no backstory that isn’t scenic and only two ventures to the outside, Niccolo Ammaniti crafts a captivating read out of next to nothing. Characters Lorenzo and Olivia aren’t easy to relate to or understand but their story manages to stayinteresting to the very last page. What awaits the reader is a chilling twistto the story in the form an unexpected ending. This novel takes about a day toread and if you happen to have some time on your hands, enjoying a copy of thisbook will be a day well spent.

A novel that took me by surprise and now won’t let me go.
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