Admittedly this book is very strange and many, if not most, people will not “get” it. I actually enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it was great. I realize the point of the book was to blur the lines between fiction and reality, but it is nice as the reader to have an idea of what is real and what is not…almost like having power over the characters in the story. In this story neither the characters nor the reader had that power. It was as if no one knew whether it was real or not. Overall though I did enjoy the characters and the storyline, even if it was impossible to distinguish the characters’ reality from fantasy.
I can’t believe I had never discovered this author before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish there were more to it. If you enjoy Irish/Irish-American stories and coming of age type stories then you’ll really enjoy this. It is a gem.
Overall, it was not great, but it held up to my expectations. It’s a book told from the perspective of a recent high school graduate who has no idea what he’s doing with his life, has fallen in love with his band-mate’s damaged girlfriend and is basically a mess. Many of the entries (I call them this because they weren’t exactly chapters) are either drug/alcohol-induced or sleep-deprived stream of consciousness nonsense. There are some particularly good points and I did end up rooting for the guy.
My favorite quote: “The punks are too late. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s alrady own us. One day we’ll wake up with MTV logos tattooed on our heads and IBM computer chips planted in our nuts. Resistance is futile. Now let’s go smoke a little grass.”
This is definitely an enjoyable read; not nearly as bad as some reviews indicate. I remember my mom laughing hysterically as she read Mama Makes Up Her Mind. I was not laughing out loud, but I enjoyed and could relate to the characters. My particular favorite bit is Chapter 4 – A Nice Day, when Roger falls in love with Della just by observing what she leaves at the dump. This is exactly the sort of quirkiness that I enjoy. The chapters on fan-obsessed Jim Wade and Louise’s spaceman-centric affair with the typographer were also quite enjoyable.
I am at a loss on this one. It’s much better than many reviewers here have expressed; very Dickensian and I am a fan. I think it was maybe a little corny that the author inserted comments about Dickens and Victorian times in a not at all subtle way. Maybe not the literary work of a lifetime, but what a fabulous story and interesting characters. For that it is worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found the pages flying by. If you like the screwed up coincidences that usually befall families whose lives revolve around a secret, then you’ll enjoy this.
While in the end I did enjoy the story that was told, the jazz rhythm of the poetry/prose in this novel was very difficult to read and not enjoyable. I wouldn’t recommend this book, but as I said the story itself did turn out to be engaging. It’d probably make a decent movie, but the words just didn’t do it justice…not to me anyways.
Strange as this book was (and abstract), it was really enjoyable. It is basically alot of allusion to the idea that life is taken for granted and is thought of as “over” long before we are dead in the ground. There is also a strong theme of finding a sort of peace in the twisted idea that old age means it’s over. Also presented is the idea of how easily people become like animals and can be controlled as such once they reach this point of giving up and giving in. I enjoyed this book, but it is not for the easily offended or highly literal reader.
Great story. My mom said I’d read it in just a couple days…I guess she knows me well. I was left wanting more. Set in 1993 with a majority of the book flashing back to World War II, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys somewhat modern historical romances or enjoys the idea of second chances and secret lives.
I don’t know why I let this book sit on my shelf for so long! A fantastic read about the relationship of two very different sisters (I could relate in so many ways). Set in Kentucky in the 60’s it addresses social issues, such as the Vietnam war and strip mining. It’s also a very spiritual book.
I personally am always a fan of stories set in this time and place. If you are too (and you have a sister who is very different from you, but you’d still give your life for), this book is a good choice for you.
I must say, I don’t really know why this book took me so long to read. The first half took about 24 days, the last half about 2. Was it bad writing? personal distractions? Who knows. What I cannot really tell you is whether I enjoyed the first half or not. I read it in such short increments spread out over so much time, I can hardly say I enjoyed it. However what I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed the end. Perhaps I related more to the Gemma who was discovering love and adult life. Apparently this is meant to be an interpretation of Jane Eyre, which I have never read so I cannot give my opinion on that matter. Overall I’d say it’s a good read, but I don’t feel I can recommend it given my strange reading pattern. I’m still afraid that perhaps I read the beginning slowly because it wasn’t very engaging and that others would have the same problem.