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review 2019-01-10 17:04
Only Enjoyed One Time Period
The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

Sigh. Well this was an okay story, I only enjoyed the past time period in the book (the Sarah and Martin sections) and didn't like the present at all except for Ruth. The book fell down at the end too and I honestly didn't find this too scary.

 

"The Winter People" follows four people (Martin, Sara, Ruthie, and Katherine) in different time periods. Martin and Katherine's narratives are from the 1908 and Ruthie and Katherine are from the present day. The book focuses on all of their connections to a farm house in Vermont that is located near the so-called Devil's Hand. Why people would live near anything with the word devil in it is beyond me. 

 

As often with different narratives in one book, there were only two that I liked in this one. Martin and Sara's. We get to see how hard their lives are back in the early 1900s and how Martin is scared that he is losing Sara after the death of their daughter. Sara's story takes a while to get going. I was bored through the first 20 percent of the book. Sara's narrative is pretty thin until she starts recounting her childhood and we see what losing her child, Gertie, is doing to her. Sara also weaves in talk of her Auntie (not her real aunt) who ended up raising her and providing food and love to her, her brother and sister, and her father. Sara hints at something terrible happening, but we don't find out until the very end of the book. I have to say that the reveal was a horrible letdown though. I had some thoughts on Auntie, but can't get into it without spoiling.

 

Ruthie's narrative is boring, but gets stronger as she realizes her mother is missing and she needs to be strong for her little sister Fawn. Katherine's narrative doesn't work and I also thought she was an idiot by the time the book ended. 

 

McMahon decides to throw in a ridiculous character that really doesn't move things forward. I am just baffled she was included since there was so much already happening in this story. 

 

The flow was up and down, jumping from person to person didn't really work. I think if we had the straight telling of Martin/Sara or at least Sara's told in chronological order it would have been a stronger book. Instead we had too much going on and not enough explanations until the very end. 

 

The town of West Hall, Verrmont felt sparse, and most of the action was focused on the farmhouse. It made an interesting location, though I wish that it had been showcased a bit more. Make it more like the Overlook in "The Shining" and explain things a lot better. I am still confused on what made a winter person (it makes very little sense until you get to the end and even then I went, um okay...). 

 

The ending was interesting. You get to see what path Ruth chooses that I had some issues with. Especially when we get Sara's narrative and we see what happened to her. And Katherine was a fool times infinity. 

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text 2019-01-10 03:41
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

This is down right creepy, well done sneak up slowly and leave you chilled creepy :D I like it. Great narrator too 

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text 2019-01-09 23:33
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Winter People - Jennifer McMahon

I’m super confused. There’s at least six separate narratives going. 

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text 2018-12-30 08:32
Clean Sweep for 2019
Daughters of the Lake - Wendy Webb
The Lingering - SJI Holliday
The House of the Seven Gables (Oxford World's Classics) - Michael Davitt Bell,Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World - Catherine Nixey
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara
Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth's Court - Nicola Tallis

For the New Year I have decided to make a clean sweep of all the books that I am currently 'reading'. It has been such a long time since I picked any of them up that I would have to start them again. So here goes, with Operation Cleansweep!

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review 2018-12-28 01:50
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People - Sally Rooney

A special thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada/Knopf Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A coming-of-age love story of classmates Connell and Marianne.  He's a the popular star of the football team and she is the mysterious loner.  Connell's mother works for Marianne's family and the two begin a complicated and secret relationship that starts when Connell comes to Marianne's house to pick his mother up from work.

Fast-forward a year and they are both students at Trinity College in Dublin.  Marianne has come out of her shell and flourishes socially while it is Connell that is struggling to fit in.  Throughout their time at university, they ebb and flow in each other's lives, always drawn back together.  As Marianne starts a downward spiral into self-destruction, Connell and Marianne must face just how far they are willing to go to save each other.

Rooney explores the complexity of relationships, the obsessive and possessive elements of first love, what class and social standing really means, and the entanglement of families and friendships.  She nails the disconnect that many teens experience with the real world and also with how self-absorbed they are while trying to find their place in the world.

What I found exhausting about the book on a whole was how stereotypical the characters were.  The women wanted attention and to be loved, all the while not realizing their worth.  The male characters were lacking in morals.  Just like the jock character in a teen movie, they are 'boys being boys' and this is perfectly acceptable (cue eye roll).  She also pens some vile characters that blur the lines with things like bullying and neglect that aren't fully explored, instead they simply vanish.

The writing was poignant and stirring; this book had so much potential but I couldn't see beyond what I mentioned above.  

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