I'm not sure how I knew about this book -- perhaps the NYTimes book review -- but when I was notified that it was on hold for me, I almost didn't check it out. The cover looked like a lightweight love story, the kind I don't normally read. I'm so glad I did read it. Yes, it is a love story, and often the tone is light, but it is an excellent read, one that made me curl up in a corner and tell everyone to leave me alone until I finished it.
Moyes is not a glorious or cerebral writer; however, she is a great storyteller. She creates and colors in her characters well. The main characters were interesting and ultimately fully dimensional. You come to care about them deeply. Mostly, the story is told well, building subtle sub-themes and propelling toward the finish. The only odd part of its form were the few chapters sprinkled throughout the book that were told from a different character's point of view. It was interesting in that it provided more depth and perspective, but it was disconcerting and a bit confusing. I also had some trouble matches chronological details, such as figuring out which sister was older, and what happened when in the past. However, my interest in the story was such that I didn't want to take the time to review for these answers. I could easily overlook my questions and move on with the plot.
Overall, a lovely beach-side novel, with more depth and complex issues than most. A little bit of triteness, but that is easily compensated for by the interesting characters and well-developed pacing of the story. Enjoy!
I've always been curious about Queen Noor, the former Lisa Halaby, the American woman who became Queen of Jordan. I wondered how she gave up the freedoms she had as a woman in the US, in order to be a Muslim royal. Alas, this memoir gives only the most superficial of answers to that -- and other -- questions about her life. Granted, she does explain that her father was of Middle Eastern descent and that piqued her interest in her Middle Eastern roots; however, in this memoir she fails to beyond that bit of information. Indeed, I found this memoir to be more like the journal entries of a superficial person, e.g. "Today I went here, yesterday I went there." What emerges is woman of little depth, who has dedicated her life to being her husband's consort and number one fan.
It is interesting to hear her version of the Arab-Israeli conflicts, especially their conflicts about the West Bank and Gaza. She is, of course, clearly on the side of the Arabic nations, and presents an entirely one-sided point of view, but it is a view that is rarely seen in American media. Again, however, there is little new or insider information, other than cute little vignettes about breaches of protocol, or her husband's "hooligan" antics.
Now it must be said that I've been listening to this recorded book, rather than reading it. It is possible that the reader's voice -- very smooth and glamorous -- accentuates the "beautiful-woman-telling-her-life-to-admirers" feel of the book, but I think that's only a small part of my experience of this as a superficial, self-satisfied accounting of a life of privilege.
When this book first came out, it seemed I heard about it everywhere: radio interviews, radio and newspaper reviews. It sounded awful to me and I decided not to read it. Then months later, I was desperate for a BOCD and saw it on the shelf. The production was good; read by the author, it was **perfectly** executed, just as the author strives and drives for perfection in her children. But it lacked warmth and her voice was brittle and hard -- just as she has been brittle and hard as a parent. I read the whole book, but did not enjoy it. I cheered for her youngest daughter who finally had the chutzpah to rebel. Interesting description of Chinese parenting; however, it lacked insight. It was a simple report of events, with little reflection or transformation.
This is another sweet little book by Anna Quindlen. If you like her other nonfiction, you'll probably like this -- especially if you love dogs. There's not much to it, but it is her attempt to publicly honor her beloved dog. You'll read it in an hour, smiling and maybe shedding a tear or two.
This book, at 897 pages, is about 500 pages too long. It is fairly interesting (though it took a while to get into it), but repetitive. I don't need to have things restated for me several times -- I caught them the first time I read them. Pretty depressing for most of the book, though there is some redemption in the end. Wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they're in the mood for an epically long novel. Would agree that in some aspects it reminds one of East of Eden, and that other old twin fable -- Cain and Abel.