Book Reviews: Catching up

March 17, 2011 book review 4

I’ve read three books in the past month and I need to catch up on these reviews.

 This was my second read from Karen McQuestion, and I actually won a Kindle copy from her blog.  The main character is Lola, and twenty something, nearing 30, single woman who has inherited this great house from her Aunt.  She has two great friends and a quirky sister.  Lola’s home is in a great neighborhood, but the neighbors are a bit too friendly for Lola, she feels smothered and watched.  When her best friend Hubert gets kicked out of his girlfriends’ apartment, Lola takes him in, but it almost appears the neighbors love him more.  Hubert decides he will help Lola by cleaning out the old house, which Lola has attempted at all in the four months she’s lived there.  Lola’s sister Mindy is getting married and insisting on all kinds of help and love from her big sister, all the while teasing her of the fact that the wedding date is on Lola’s 30th birthday.
A wild idea hatched by Lola’s friend Piper turns into so many twists and turns, and the mystery man from across the street adds much to this story.
I’ve given this book a rating of 2 out of 5 stars, I liked it, but it was not as enjoyable as A Scattered Life.

I finally got to read Room by Emma Donoghue.  Honestly I listened to it.  I accepted two free audio books from Audibles.com, and this was one of my choices.  There is currently a free 30 day trial offer from Audible that includes 2 free downloads.  There are many choices for memberships, but I’ve already canceled because I really am not a person who wants to pay for my audio books.  I am much more likely to borrow it from the library.
I was so excited to read this book, it has received excellent reviews from all of my reading friends and it did not disappoint.
If you aren’t familiar with the plot, Room is told almost completely by  5 year old Jack, who lives in an 11×11 room with his “Ma”.  There is dialogue between them but again, most is told in this very innocent 5 year old voice.  We learn Jack and his Ma are living as captives in a shed, held by a man they refer to as “old Nick”.  The woman was abducted 7 years ago, and has been repeatedly raped by her captor.  Jack refers to objects in a personal first person nature, as in “Room, Rug, Table, Wardrobe”.
I am amazed at how drawn I was to this story, I couldn’t wait to get back to listening to it.  It had a good flow to it, I imagine it would be very easy to read.
There were things that happen that seem less than plausible, but I think the real point of the book is looking at the impact of this captive life on a young boy, and how the change of being “outside” would appear to him.
I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

This is the newest from Jodi Picoult who seems to be able to rip storylines from the headlines and do such wonderful character development it just keeps drawing readers in.
This is the story of Zoe and Max, married for 9 years, desperately trying to have a child.  They have done several attempts at IVF, and at last Zoe is pregnant and at 28 weeks of her pregnancy.  Tragically the child she has longed for his still born and her marriage to Max is torn apart from their differences on trying to have a child.  Zoe is a music therapist and she works even harder after her separation and eventual divorce.  Max goes back to being an unreliable business owner of a lawn care service, he would rather be surfing or drinking. He lives with his brother and sister and law and when he hits rock bottom, he turns to their Evangelical Pastor and is “born again”.
Zoe becomes close friends with a school counselor, Vanessa, who hires here to work with a severely depressed student, Lucy.  As their time together grows, Zoe falls in love with Vanessa, who has been living as an open lesbian since college.  It surprises Zoe, but she is so happy she knows it is right.
The conflict in this book arises when the three embryos that Zoe and Max have frozen come into question as Zoe wants to use them for Vanessa to carry and give them a child and Max is conflicted over his newly moral outrage of her deviant lifestyle.  A lawsuit of gossipy magazine proportion is what ensues and the tactics of the over the top right wing lawyer make it so over the top.
The story is told from 3 alternating points of view, Zoe, Max and Vanessa.  The reader learns the history of each character and what brought them to this place.
I can’t tell you how well Picoult managed the intricacies of the story and each character.  In several interviews she has shared that in the writing of this book her own son came out and admitted he is gay.  This gave her even more opportunity to handle the topic in the most positive and open manner.  Picoult really did interview and talk to persons from a right wing evangelical Christian group who is said to have recovered from her lesbian tendencies, it’s heartbreaking to me to read this stuff, but I do know it exists. 
Well written and heartfelt, I really enjoyed this book, I’ve rated it a 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend it to all of my friends, even a few that may have a less than open outlook on gay and lesbian couples having children.  I feel that this book is by far the best work of Jodi Picoult’s since her book Nineteen Minutes.

4 Responses to “Book Reviews: Catching up”

  1. Pam

    Great reviews, Anita. As you know, I loved Room, too. I haven’t read the other two and I’m not familiar with McQueen. I’ve read a few of Picoult’s books and have enjoyed them for the most part. She just writes them so quickly, I can’t keep up. I still haven’t gotten to House Rules yet and it feels like that one is brand new. Ugh!

  2. Bonnie

    I always enjoy your reviews Anita. I just finished A Scattered life and was excited when I saw you had another review for the same author but doesn’t sound like you enjoyed it too much so I probably won’t bother. The other 2 sound good though. I’m adding them to my library list.

    I’m like you, I don’t like paying for books when I can rent them for free at the library!

  3. Anita

    In another life, I’ll be able to read everything! But until then, I’ll continue to read what and when I can, and enjoy reading book reviews. Thanks!

    Even though it’s just a piece of the book, it’s still fun to know what the authors out there are writing.

    EnJoy your weekend!

  4. Meg

    So glad to hear you enjoyed Room! It’s definitely a wild story, and one that has really stayed with me.

    I’ve never read anything by Picoult but know she has quite the following… Sing You Home sounds like a story that would really draw me in. Moral ambiguity is always a fascinating subject on which to base a book.

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