Sunday, September 12, 2010
Plot synopsis from amazon.com:
"Delia Hopkins, the main character who's in her early 30's, learns that the beloved father who has raised her actually kidnapped her as a young girl. She was taken away from her mother in Arizona, given a new identity, told that her mother was dead, and then grew up with no memories of any of her life before they moved to New Hampshire. The secret comes out, and Delia now must come to terms with what her father has done and with the still-living mother she never knew. Delia is a mother herself, now, and she spends much of the novel reconciling her own hurt and anger over being taken away with her perspective as a mother who'd do anything to protect her child. Toss in Delia's fiancÚ (a lawyer) and her male best friend (a reporter) who both have strong interests in the legal case, and you have the main love triangle that drives the story."
Now that I have forgiven this author for her blatant emotional manipulation of her readers in "Handle with Care" (don't EVEN get me started on that again--lol) I was excited to finally read Vanishing Acts. But, although it was a good read, I didn't enjoy it as much as My Sister's Keeper, The Pact, or Plain Truth. I found the jailhouse scenes to be distracting and irrelevant, the alcoholism angle not fully developed, and the main character of Delia to be shallow. In all, I wanted more: more plot, more character development. As usual, Jodi throws in her signature twist on the last page, which this time, instead of adding to the story, detracts from it.
Jodi Picoult is a wonderful writer---her good books are VERY good and even her bad books are a compelling reads. However, sometimes she seems so caught up in her ability to storytell and sell novels that she forgets about the characters, their motivations, and the true story that really needed to be told. This was an engaging but superficial story.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Plot synopsis from Amazon.com:
"Of course, you are older, a woman now.... Still, I'd know you anywhere." A cryptic letter from death row shatters Eliza Benedict's peaceful summer with her family, and forces her to face her long-buried past. Walter Bowman, the man who kidnapped Eliza the summer she was fifteen and kept her hostage for weeks, spots her picture in a local magazine and reaches out to her to make amends before his execution. The narrative shifts between the present and that long ago summer, when Eliza involuntarily became a part of Walter's endless road trip, including the fateful night when he picked up another teenage girl, Holly Tackett. Soon after Walter killed Holly, Eliza was rescued and taken home. Eliza must now balance a need for closure with a desire to protect herself emotionally
My take on it:
It's a page-burner that's a little dark, a little noir, a little mentally exhaustive. Don't miss it!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Plot synopsis from Amazon.com review:
"On an early winter morning just before daybreak, three men hear a loud noise similar to a car backfiring. At first they dismiss it as just that, but it turns out to be a fatal shot that kills a farmer named Lloyd Wilson. The protagonist in the story was friends with the deceased man's son, Cletus. Using newspaper clippings, memories, and imagination, he tries to reconstruct the dramatic events that led to the shooting. Through the use of imagery, William Maxwell creates a story that is vivid in its depictions of rural life and the excruciating emotions people endure as a result of choices they make."
The story explores the meaning of friendship and love and consequences of passion. The narrator is a man who traces even into old age, the true meaning of relationships he formed during his childhood. The end of the book is truly haunting and will stay with you. It speaks volumes about how the words that are unspoken in life are sometimes much more important than those that are spoken. How as we grow old, we remember all the things that we could have, should have said....
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Plot synopsis From The National Alliance on Mental Illness Newsletter:
by Bob Carolla
"Sufficient Grace, by Darnell Arnoult, is a Southern novel that explores themes of faith, family, love, and redemption. It's sensitive, at times humorous. It's also about schizophrenia, inspired by the mother of the author.
The book opens with Gracie Holloman drawing a life-size picture of Jesus on the walls of her house to watch over the family she is about to leave -- in response to commands from spiritual voices. She wanders and is discovered miles away -- mute and incapacitated -- by two women.
No one sees her as mentally ill. The only doctor in town who still makes house calls confirms she has no physical injury. "She may have a condition not so readily diagnosed," he observes. In fact, the words "mental illness" do not appear until page 140 of the book. "Schizophrenia" not until page 153. Gracie emerges as a character without labels, introduced without presumption.
The lives of two families--one white, one black--end up being profoundly affected by Gracie's illness. Two worlds collide and family ties are redrawn. Compassion transforms an elderly widow. An abandoned husband finds a second chance at love. A daughter learns to accept her mother's illness."
I actually bought this book a long time ago and finally read it recently. The story was engaging but a bit hard to get into at first, which surprised me because the plot line sounded very interesting-- it just didn't seem like my kind of story at first. Eventually I became more interested in the storyline. My one complaint is that there were too many characters--way more then needed to make the story work. In fact, I think the book would have been stronger if it had focused on the character and her immediate family.
That being said, this was a decent book. It is a book about family--both blood and found; about accepting and understanding mental illness; and about character redemption and growth. Worth borrowing from the library, but maybe not buying.
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