Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw

The Swimming PoolThe Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Hmmm...what to say about this book. It sounded interesting and I was looking forward to reading it - the plot was a seven year old murder that somehow was tangled around the lives of two different families, a clandestine love affair and summer on Cape Cod. Sounded intriguing. What I found was a disjointed novel describing the events that lead up to the murder, interspersed with present-day drama from the families involved. I felt that the author didn't do a good job of jumping from one time frame to another or from one character to another. It seemed very abrupt.

Betsy was the woman murdered; I felt nothing for her as her character was not given any time or depth. Marcella, the woman having an affair with the murdered woman's husband, is now, seven years later, having an affair with the murdered woman's son since his father had died of heartbreak after the murder. Can you say yuck? I kept reading, thinking the plot would redeem itself, but towards the end, I found myself just skimming so that the pain would end.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I usually mark my favorite passages and quote them in my review, but it would be simply ridiculous to tap out all 451 pages, now wouldn't it?

This book grabbed me right from the beginning and kept me turning pages long into the night. I'm really impressed with the writing style and the ease that the author takes us from one persons perspective to another throughout the entire story. I really felt that the characters all had a lot of depth to them, letting the reader either connect with a character or loathe them. Not being from the south myself, this isn't a lifestyle that I am familiar with, but Kathryn Stockett wrote the stories so that I feel as if I was there. She picked such a hard time in the south to set her story in. A time when racial tensions were running extremely high and horrible things were happening to both the blacks and the white "sympathizers". We meet Miss Skeeter, a young woman who was raised and loved by her family maid. Skeeter wants to find out what happened to the woman who raised her and she wants to make some changes that will make life easier for the black families in America. Being a writer, Skeeter sets off to interview as many maids as will talk to her, telling their stories about the hardships, and pleasures, they have found working for white families. Jackson, Mississippi is one of the most dangerous places at this time and Skeeter and the maid's that finally agree to talk to her for her book are in great danger everytime they meet. Emotions are high when the book finally goes to press. Will the people of their community read it? Will they know who the people in the stories represent, even though names have been changed? Was it worth the risk?

Okay - I'll do it. Here are two of my favorite passages-
Minny is one of the maids that Skeeter is interviewing. It took awhile to talk her into it, but she finally decided to do it. Skeeter has to be really careful with Minny, making sure that she doesn't scare her off. In this passage, Minny is talking to her friend Aibileen, who Sketter is interviewing as well.
'"Oh, fore I forget, Miss Skeeter wants to come over early Tuesday night," Aibileen says. "Bout seven. You make it then?"
"Lord," I say, getting irritated all over again. "What am I doing? I must be crazy, giving the sworn secrets a the colored race to a white lady."
"It's just Miss Skeeter, she ain't like the rest."
"Feel like I'm talking behind my own back," I say.

In this next passage, we are listening to Minnie again, after a tough run-in with her mean husband.
' "I guess I got to go," I say, even though I'd rather spend the rest of my life right here in Aibileen's cozy kitchen, having her explain the world to me. That's what I love about Aibileen, she can take the most complicated things in life and wrap them up so small and simple, they'll fit right in your pocket.'

If you haven't yet read "The Help", pick it up. You will be so glad that you did!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya SisterhoodDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book languishing on my to-be-read shelf for a year - maybe more - and I was prepared for a book that I was just kind of meh about. Instead, I couldn't put it down and absolutely loved it. This was a wonderful story about a not so perfect mother and the harsh realities of life.

Sidda is a 40 year old theatre director who has fallen in love with the fabulous Conner McGill, but Sidda doesn't know if she knows how to love somebody right. She feels that she was not loved right as a child and does not want to pass that legacy on to her own family. She decides to take some time away to think so heads to a friends cabin in the pacific northwest, taking along her Mother's scrapbook "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". Inside this wonderful scrapbook, Sidda finds more questions than answers about her mother's life in the bayou of Louisiana. It's not until her Mom's best friends, the Ya-Ya's, show up that Sidda begins to get some answers and understand that life is messy. As her mom, Vivi Dahlin says - "It's life, Sidda. You just climb on the beast and ride."

This was a wonderful, deeply moving book that had me in turns laughing out loud and wiping the tears from my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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