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Book Review: The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (3/5)

31 Mar

I was given this as a gift a long time ago, I believe for Christmas in 2014. The friend who gave it to me did because I’d shared an article I read where the author says that the wallpaper in The Yellow Wallpaper was the most obvious analogy he had ever read. I hadn’t read Gilman’s stories at the time but felt that the title alone made it pretty obvious what was going on. Naturally, she called my ignorance and bought me this copy. And now, five and a half years later, I have the time to get to it. I listened to an audiobook of this collection and then realized my print edition had selected different stories and read the ones that I hadn’t listened to already.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Summary from Goodreads:

Best known for the 1892 title story of this collection, a harrowing tale of a woman’s descent into madness, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote more than 200 other short stories. Seven of her finest are reprinted here.

Written from a feminist perspective, often focusing on the inferior status accorded to women by society, the tales include “turned,” an ironic story with a startling twist, in which a husband seduces and impregnates a naïve servant; “Cottagette,” concerning the romance of a young artist and a man who’s apparently too good to be true; “Mr. Peebles’ Heart,” a liberating tale of a fiftyish shopkeeper whose sister-in-law, a doctor, persuades him to take a solo trip to Europe, with revivifying results; “The Yellow Wallpaper”; and three other outstanding stories.

These charming tales are not only highly readable and full of humor and invention, but also offer ample food for thought about the social, economic, and personal relationship of men and women — and how they might be improved.

There were some similar themes in a lot of these stories. Many focused on a woman’s happiness in marriage and motherhood and about female independence. I have to imagine that for the time they were written, these weren’t very common themes. The complaints that many of the women had and being unfulfilled were the same ones I read about in The Feminine Mystique meaning that more than sixty years later, they were still ongoing. I liked the snort and snappy stories Gilman used to highlight these problems. I think they showed the issues well and gave examples of women who were strong and independent.

It’s hard for me to comment on how credible these characters were since I don’t know very much about women around the turn of the century. I could understand the pain they felt and how they wanted to have a purpose in life aside from being mothers as I think we see that continuing into today’s culture. As far as avoiding marriage, I’m not sure how many women at the time were actively trying to avoid getting married or re-married so these characters may not be representative of the women of the time. However, they were resourceful people and I felt the way they were portrayed was very positive and a good role model for any woman who may have felt the same.

Gilman was clearly ahead of her time as a feminist. Her feminist characters want things that today are common: careers, self-determination, and the choice to marry. These are things I have (had) and can completely understand why someone who doesn’t have them would want them so strongly. I love my job and while I’ve considered having a family and staying home, I don’t think it would be long-term for me; I think I’d eventually return to the workforce in some way. I decided what I would study in school and decided to marry a man I love when I was young even when some people tried to talk me out of it. I enjoy the freedoms that Gilman was speaking about.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Image via the New York Review of Books

I can’t remember the title of the story I liked best but I think it was When I Was a Witch. It was a story about a woman who made wishes and they would come true. She used this power to meter out her form of justice amongst newspaper people who printed lies and people who owned parrots and stray cats. It was a really cute little story about a woman who discovered her own power and made changes in the world to help as many people as she could (as well as those who don’t like parrots). It was a cute and fun story.

The Cottagette appeared in the print and audio editions and I guess that it’s one of the more popular of Gilman’s stories. I wasn’t a big fan of this one, though. Two sisters take a summer cottage to practice their art at a location where meals and housekeeping are provided. One sister convinces the other to add a kitchen and keep house to impress a man who ends up not being impressed by her housekeeping but her art. It was a silly story to me and many of her other stories made much better points so I didn’t like it very much, especially after hearing so many other good stories.

The audiobook was narrated by Kirsten Potter and I enjoyed her narration. She used a good variety of voices for the different characters and her portrayal in The Yellow Wallpaper when the character was going made was great. It started as very innocent and ended up wonderfully creepy. I think I’ve heard her narrate before, she has a long list of works.

This is not radical feminism. In many cases, the women in these stories do get married but they’re doing so on their own terms. It’s a more achievable form of feminism and I think Gilman was doing well to show other women how they could stand up for themselves or have what they wanted in life without doing away with men. I hope that women who read these stories realized that they didn’t have to do away with things in life that would have made them happy or feel fulfilled.

Writer’s Takeaway: I’ve struggled to write a short story that I feel adequately ways what I want it to say. Reading these helped me understand that maybe I don’t need as much character development or as many plot points as I usually aim to cram in. Many of these stories were pretty simplistic as far as character development and plot and they were perfectly enjoyable. It’s helpful to read other people’s stories to see what I’m missing or putting too much into my own.

Overall, enjoyable but still not my favorite genre tor read. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Yellow Wallpaper
Symbolism, Characterization, and Themes in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Ms. Brigitte’s Mild Ride
Review: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Diary of a Book Friend
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

Book Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (3/5)

30 Mar

I read my first Sarah Waters book as part of a book club selection and adored the fast-paced and Victorian setting. I was excited to dive into another. I wasn’t intimidated by the long length of this book at first and took it with me on vacation to Greece so I could dive in and get started on the journey. But somewhere along the way, I got tired of it and it started to grow slow and I began to lose interest. Never completely, as I finished this book rather quickly, but I just wasn’t as invested as I had been.

Cover image via Goodreads

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Other books by Waters reviewed on this blog:

Affinity (and book club reflection and movie review)

Summary from Goodreads:

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways, but no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.

I loved the world Waters built at the beginning of the story. Sue was a great character and I liked the battle between her kind heart and her desire to make a fortune for herself. The way she learned to live in the Lilly’s world was fun to watch and I really felt her affection for Maud grow. After the end of part one, I was geeked to see how the rest of the book would play out. But I found myself ultimately disappointed in how parts two and three were paced. Part two was a bore as I’d already seen most of the action play out from Sue’s point of view and I didn’t really need to see Maud’s view; it was pretty easy to guess just based on how part one ended and a little bit of Maud’s story to get her personality. After being disappointed in part two, part three was a little better, but still seemed to drag to get to the main action that ended the story and I found myself bored until Sue made it back to London. The good ending almost made up for the long road to get there, but I was still a bit disappointed.

I’m not sure I ever bought into Maud feeling like a real person. She’s so innocent as to be comical in part one and then so cynical as to be unbelievable in part two. By the time she makes it to London, she starts to seem real but I think it was too late for me to sympathize with her at that point. I liked Sue and I wanted good things to happen to her so I was rooting for Sue throughout the whole debacle and wasn’t too upset when bad things happened to Maud.

Sue was my favorite character. She was a sweet girl and too trusting. It came back to bite her several times but it hurt the most when Mrs. Sucksby betrayed her. She was resourceful though at times she seemed to be a bit helpless. It felt like she had more ‘true’ feelings and reactions to things than Maud did. I could understand why she reacted the way she did to her situations whereas I wasn’t sure why Maud felt some of the things she did. I could see someone falling into Sue’s situation more easily than any of the other characters.

This was a fanciful story. I can’t imagine anything like this playing out in real life because it all seems so far fetched. Nothing in this story was really relatable to me and that might have been part of why it was hard for me to immerse myself. Sue’s life is much rougher than most people in our society can imagine and Maud’s is much grander. They are two ends of a spectrum that was hard to relate to and they both seemed too different from me for me to see myself in them.

Sarah Waters
Image via Goodreads

Sue’s interpretation of her time at Briar was my favorite. I liked it even better when it was flipped on its head at the end of part one. Seeing her slowly fall in love with Maud and begin to care about her was sweet and I enjoyed it. She made Gentleman out to be a huge brute as well which was fun to watch. I’m not sure if I would have liked the book better if it had ended there, but it would have made for quite the ending.

Maud’s section of the book was too much for me. It was very repetitive and the more I think about it, it could have been cut. I’m not sure we learned anything during Maud’s narrative that we didn’t know from Sue already or didn’t learn from her later. I think it made the story drag unnecessarily and would have kept the storyline paced much better to have taken it out.

The ultimate question is what you are willing to do for a family. Sue has a rough sense of family because the people she’s lived without are not blood relatives but have helped raise her. But to Mrs. Sucksby, she is not family because someone else is and she’s willing to sacrifice a lot to restore her family. Maud sacrifices a lot for her uncle because he is family but is pushed to a breaking point and wants to betray him and ultimately doesn’t seem to care much for what happens to him. Sue and Maud are seeking a family that will love and care about them, not necessarily one that is a blood relation. You’re asked to think about which is most important.

Writer’s Takeaway: Waters has a few great twists to this story, the first one at the end of part one and a second at the end of part two that’s fully realized at the end of part three. I think the first and second were too far spaced out. I figured out the second twist based on very little information and then was bored through part two leading up to the twist and then again in part three as the twist became fully apparent. The pacing wasn’t good for me and I think it’s an instance of an author not wanting to cut out writing she liked even when it wasn’t necessary for the story.

Overall an interesting read with some fun twists but still a bit of a drag. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfills the 1800-1899 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Sarah Waters ⋅ Fingersmith | Watercolorstain
Book Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters | The Owl and the Reader
Surprising Twists, Shifting Identities and Unexpected Pleasures in Captivating ‘Fingersmith’ | Boston Theatre Wing
Review of “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters | Rhapsody in Books Weblog
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters | Vulpes Libris

Book Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib (4/5)

24 Mar

I forget why I added this to my TBR originally, it’s not a subject I’ve read about before. It was probably recommended on some list that I trusted and added it. It only sat for a year because I’m moving through my list a lot faster lately.

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Summary from Goodreads:

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

This book disturbed me at times and I think that’s a credit to how well it was written. I felt like I really got into Anna’s head and could understand her struggles with anorexia. It was at times hard to relate to because I’ve never experienced anorexia, but at other times, I could understand it really well. I struggled with body image at points in my life and never revered to the levels that Anna did, but I could see traces of my fears and coping in what she and her housemates experienced. It was painful because it was so real.

The characters felt very real. Having Anna in a treatment facility made it possible to explore different degrees and types of eating disorders. It was interesting to see the differences between Anna and Julia and how they reacted to food and how they felt about their disorders. The conversation the two had in Julia’s room was really enlightening. I appreciated that the focus was really on Anna and Matthias. Having him so involved helped emphasize the impact of Anna’s disease on her family. And how she’s the luckiest girl in the world.

Matthias was my favorite character. He was so dedicated to Anna that it almost broke my heart. He was driving over an hour every night just to spend a short amount of time with Anna. And the dedication it must have taken to help her continue her plan after she came home must have been immense. I can’t imagine watching my spouse go through anorexia and feeling like I couldn’t help or fix anything It must have been really frustrating.

I’ve had bouts of poor body image in my life, though never to the extreme that Anna and her housemates did. I could relate to that; always seeing flaws in my body and never feeling good enough no matter how much weight I lost. It’s a loss of control feeling and I understand why Anna went to the extremes she did to feel in control again.

Yara Zgheib
Image via New York Times

Hearing about the internal struggles Anna had when she tried to eat were very real to me and I thought they were wonderfully done. I’ve had times where my brain seems to be fighting itself, battling between logic and some part of it that seems to have a completely different agenda. It struck home with me and I was so happy when she was able to overcome that voice. It was a great way to show her fight.

I did feel like Anna’s fight was maybe a little too easy. She sees girls come and leave the house while she’s there, but she’s the only one to leave for a positive reason. She sees these girls who have been there for ages, like Emm, but gets out very quickly. I felt it was a bit too accelerated to be believable but at the same time I want to think that treatment could be effective enough to help someone in that short amount of time.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. I thought she was a wonderful choice for Anna’s story. She had a good accent for a native French speaker and was able to affect a good American accent for the US-born characters. She was able to portray the fear Anna felt very well, too. I could feel the panic and I think it had me running faster when it would get really bad.

Zgheib makes a great point that Anna is the luckiest girl in the world. She has anorexia, but she also has a family that loves her and the access to care that will help her get better. Not everyone with a mental illness is so lucky. People with illnesses need access to care as well as the support and love of those around them. Emm didn’t have that support and Julia was afraid to ask for help and they suffered longer than Anna did. A visit from Sarah’s son was great for her recovery and showed how much we can help our loved ones through hard times. I think this book had a beautiful message about supporting mental illness.

Writer’s Takeaway: This book had a strong message but didn’t preach or speak down to the reader in any way. It was impactful because it was true and raw. Truth tells a stronger message than lectures (thus why Jesus spoke in parables!). Zgheib does a great job of showing us Anna’s story and showing how an eating disorder can hurt an entire family.

This book was true and raw, though it did seem to show the best possible outcome of a situation. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib (ARC) | Princess & Pages
Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib | Bookapotomus
REVIEW – The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib | Dee’s Rad Reads and Reviews

Book Review: August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones (2/5)

23 Mar

This isn’t a book I would have ever picked, but my book club picked it for me. I was over halfway through when the library canceled all it’s programming through the end of the month which included the meeting for this book. I decided to finish it anyway since my weekend slowed down A LOT.

Cover image via Goodreads

August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones

Summary from Goodreads:

Tough, smart, and struggling to stay afloat, August Snow is the embodiment of Detroit. The son of an African American father and a Mexican mother, August grew up in Detroit’s Mexicantown and joined the Detroit police only to be drummed out of the force by a conspiracy of corrupt cops and politicians. But August fought back; he took on the city and got himself a $12 million wrongful dismissal settlement that left him low on friends. He has just returned to the house he grew up in after a year away and quickly learns he has many scores to settle.

It’s not long before he’s summoned to the palatial Grosse Pointe Estates home of business magnate Eleanore Paget. Powerful and manipulative, Paget wants August to investigate the increasingly unusual happenings at her private wealth management bank. But detective work is no longer August’s beat, and he declines. A day later, Paget is dead of an apparent suicide which August isn’t buying for a minute.

What begins as an inquiry into Eleanore Paget’s death soon drags August into a rat’s nest of Detroit’s most dangerous criminals, from corporate embezzlers to tattooed mercenaries. From the wealthy suburbs to the near-post-apocalyptic remains of the bankrupt city’s factory districts, August Snow is a fast-paced tale of murder, greed, sex, economic cyber-terrorism, race and urban decay in modern Detroit.

The plot in this one didn’t bother me too much, but August was not a character I connected with or liked. He was too overpowered and perfect. He was rich, smart, well connected, and physically fit. There was nothing he couldn’t do. And he surrounded himself with men who were some subset of those things as well to make a strong team. The people in this were just too perfect. It started to bother me. I also felt like someone who didn’t live in Detroit wouldn’t be able to connect to this book at all. There were a lot of city references and directions that I understood but I’m not sure someone from a different part of the state would even enjoy it.

August was just too unbelievable. For every situation, he was the only person poised to solve it. Nothing that came up was beyond his abilities and he seemed to know just the right things to keep the plot moving. It’s a similar complaint that I have about Robert Langdon in Dan Brown’s books. But this one stood out to me more. The money and riches pushed it over the edge for me.

Vivian Paget was the only character I felt was realistic. She wasn’t a gun-hungry ex-military sharpshooter. She had real pain in her past and was able to add surprise to the story later on without it feeling too forced or unusual. I found her character interesting and nuanced and I’m sad she was such a short part of the story.

Despite the familiar setting, none of this story was relatable to me. The characters were really removed from my reality. I did relate to the setting. Picturesque Traverse City and a character who worked at a Kroger grocery store a few miles from my apartment hit home with me. I understood those and they helped me feel close to the story, but the characters still eluded me.

Stephen Mack Jones
Image via Publisher’s Weekly

I liked the scene in Traverse City. It’s mostly because of Vivian and the advancement in her character development. It reminded me a bit of the end of Skyfall which is my favorite part of that movie, too. Honestly, not much else stood out.

The constant descriptions of food bothered me. This wasn’t a book that needed to make me feel hungry. I also disliked how the character talked like no one in the world understood how good the food he was eating tasted and no one could experience food that tasted like that. It was annoyingly repetitive and made me binge eat more than I should have.

Snow was fighting for a Detroit he remembered that he felt he was losing. The people he remembered from his childhood were leaving or gone and he wanted some sense of his community back. It felt like he could have done it with the money he had if he’d planned a bit better, but he liked to throw it around more than he probably should have. He invested in individuals because he believed in people. I wish he’d believed in community more since that seemed like what he was trying to reestablish.

Writer’s Takeaway: As a writer, you want to engage all five senses so the reader can become fully immersed in the story. I don’t think Jones balanced them well because taste was so overwhelming. I think this could have had some more sound and smell imagery to balance it better.

Not a great binge read, maybe I would have enjoyed it more without quarantine-levels of reading time. Two out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Post:
PODCAST: Stephen Mack Interview on Novel August Snow | KAZI Book Review with Hopeton Hay, KAZI 88.7FM, Austin, TX

Book Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) (4/5)

19 Mar

I’m loving this series so far. With all the free time I suddenly have, I may have to look into finding the BBC mini series so I can watch it as well. I’ve heard that’s well done. But I like having my own picture of Robin and Strike in my head and I’m not sure I want to change that.

Cover image via Goodreads

Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Galbraith reviewed on this blog:

Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2)
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

Summary from Goodreads:

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

I’d been hoping the series would start focusing on Strike and Robin’s lives a little bit more. I think with Robin’s wedding being a large part of the last book, it was finally time and I’m so excited about the change. It was fun to see the characters develop alongside the plot and I’m OK with how long this book was to accommodate so much. Rowling didn’t give up the mystery in favor of the character development. The mystery was still twisted and fun to unravel. I hadn’t seen the end coming until the big reveal. I’d seen glimpses of it but as a whole it took me by surprise. And I loved it.

Robin is a very real character. Her relationship with Matt is so well done. I understood why she fell in love with him and why she married him even when I hated him. Her feelings are very relatable and she’s changed a lot through the books and I like how that personal growth is reflected in her marriage. Strike has been less dynamic but his relationships with women are still interesting and fun to read about.

Strike continues to be a favorite character in this series. He’s constantly underrated and dismissed by people who can’t get past his handicap. But he proves time and time again that he’s more than capable and better than those on staff at the police. I can’t wait to see where his character development goes as I think there’s some more change coming to his character soon.

I felt as clueless as Izzy through the story and I liked her a lot because of it. I didn’t understand how most things were connected or why people were acting certain ways. I was unable to switch my perception of certain characters from what I first knew to a different reality. It made it easy to identify with Izzy and understand why the revelations about her family were so hard to stomach.

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

I loved Robin’s plot line as it dealt with Matthew and Sara. That was the only thing I’d guessed before it was revealed. I think Robin was too close to it to see the obvious signs and she was too swept up in the case to look too closely at the clues. I’m glad it wrapped up the way it did and I regained a lot of respect I’d lost for Robin.

The beginning of the novel was frustrating for me. I didn’t like the strained relationship between Strike and Robin. It felt weird that after the wedding, things would be so different between them, but I understood why. After being so close and open for so long, Robin was keeping a big secret. I like that work was able to reconnect them even when Robin continued to keep her persona life to herself. Once that awkwardness went away, I was less stressed out about the book and enjoyed it a lot more.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Robert Glenister. He’s narrated all of the Strike books so far and I think he does an amazing job. The accents he uses for each character are reflective of their regions (as best as I can tell) and his voices for women don’t seem offensive to me. I liked how he changed Robin’s voice when she was acting under cover. The bored tone he gave the Chiswell’s when they were being pompous jerks was great, too.

Privilege and wealth were very prominent in the Chiswell children. It was a big motivator for all of them. Even Izzy, who seemed immune, seemed drawn to strike because he knew Charlotte and that made him desirable. It was their eventual ruin. With their father’s fortune in shambles and his life falling apart, they didn’t know what to do with themselves and the little they could continue to hold onto. The Lethal White of the title could easily refer the children who looked perfect on the outside but were destined to die.

Writer’s Takeaway: The blend between character development and mystery was great in this book. I loved the details of the case because it kept you guessing. The initial contact with Billy was great because he was so psychotic that you had no idea what to think of what he’d seen. I liked that the book ended with following up on this starting point. It was a good way to bookend the story.

Overall, a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
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Book Review: What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha (4/5)

25 Feb

This was selected as the Great Michigan Read for 2019-2020. Regretfully, our library just now started reading it so we missed a lot of Dr. Mona’s speaking engagements. I’m still very glad we read it, though. I finished this book on Saturday and wrote the review immediately. My book club met Monday to talk about it so I cut things close!

Cover image via Goodreads

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Summary from Goodreads:

Here is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water–and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself–an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family’s activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice.

What the Eyes Don’t See is a riveting account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their–and all of our–children.

This is a story that hits close to home for me. My parents met in Flint when they were attending General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). I visited Flint during the crisis and I’ll admit that I was ignorant of what was going on. I was visiting a friend at Kettering and stayed in the sorority house where she lived. I brushed my teeth with the water because I didn’t know. I was shocked at the number of people buying shopping carts full of bottled water because I didn’t know. My friend filled me in quickly. I’d heard about the lead in the water when the crisis had first broken but I hadn’t put together the lasting impact on the city. Just because the water source was changed back, the crisis didn’t end. It won’t end until all the pipes in the city are changed. It could be years. This book brought all of that home and punched me in the chest with it. I had tears in my eyes at the end.

Dr. Mona portrayed herself in a very relatable way. She admitted that her job as a mother to her two girls suffered while she tackled the crisis. She admitted her feelings of defeat. She shared her fears and guilt. I felt that she didn’t hold much back in her story and I really appreciated that. There was a lot of opportunity in this book for her to show herself as a fearless warrior and to brush her struggles under the rug but I don’t think she did that. I appreciated her truthfulness.

Marc Edwards was the most interesting person in the book. It seemed odd that someone from Virginia would get so involved in the Flint crisis but his jaded feelings from the D.C. Crisis made him the perfect ally for Dr. Mona and her team. I’m still intrigued by a tall conservative Republican in an animal tie taking on the government. He was a great supporter of Dr. Mona and Jenny during their research and after. I wonder how much he could have contributed if he’d lived closer to Flint.

Dr. Mona was an unlikely advocate but she was just what Flint needed. I think that all too often we don’t feel we’re the right people to stand up and say something is wrong or unfair. We don’t think we can stop something or tell people that they’ve acted wrongly. Dr. Mona struggled with those feelings and what she could do to keep her patients safe. I think her bravery is a wonderful example to anyone who doesn’t think their voice matters. Her voice was a change-maker. it wasn’t easy, but she stood up and said it and that made all the difference.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Image via the author’s website

The ending felt a bit rushed, but I adored it. The wins that Dr. Mona and her team had were amazing and made huge differences in the lives of Flint children for years. The people who helped her were amazing partners and I felt she gave them appropriate thanks. I could feel her sense of relief that things had worked out and it helped untie a knot of tension in my chest that this book created. I knew it wouldn’t end well, but there were some things I was hoping had happened and thankfully did.

Dr. Mona’s initial struggles were hard to hear about. It was rough to know she had so many roadblocks thrown up in front of her and so many people denying a problem when one existed. There were so many people trying to tear her down and discredit her. It was a huge personal attack that she had to prepare to fight and it would have been hard for anyone to stand up to that wave.

Doing the right thing is not always easy. Miguel del Toral stood up and lost his job. Marc Edwards stood up and was knocked down as disreputable. Dr. Mona knew she’d face something similar and she did. Sometimes it’s hard to say things that are true, no matter how ridiculous that may sound. Some truths are hard to hear and sometimes you still need to say them.

Writer’s Takeaway: Dr. Mona’s honesty shone in this book. She portrayed the good and bad, ugly and beautiful, and every struggle in between. It came through on every page. She was suffering physically and emotionally from the stress of the situation and how she had to fight through it. She wants other advocates to know that it’s not always easy and sometimes, there’s suffering involved. But she shone through. There is a light, though it may be hard to see it.

An uplifting and needed story. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Post:
(Book Review) What the Eyes Don’t See… by Mona Hanna-Attisha | Fourth & Sycamore

Book Review: Wild Ink by Victoria Hanley (3/5)

24 Feb

I’ve been trying to read books on writing more often to encourage me to keep writing when I don’t want to. I think it’s working? Maybe?

Cover image via Goodreads

Wild Ink: Success Secrete to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market by Victoria Hanley

Summary from Goodreads:

What do you need to know to break in to the flourishing young adult (YA) market? With humor and a solid grounding in reality, author Victoria Hanley helps readers understand the ins and outs of the YA genre, how to stay inspired, and how to avoid common mistakes writers make in trying to reach teens. This book includes unique writing exercises to help readers find their own authentic teen voice and dozens of interviews with YA authors, blogging experts, editors, and agents to give inspiration and guidance for getting published. Chapters include writing exercises and self-editing techniques tailored to YA, along with encouraging words on dealing with self-doubt, rejection, and lack of time.

I think the ratings I give writing books are going to continue to go down the more I read. There’s only so much writing advice so these books start to seem repetitive the more I read them. The shining jewel of this book for me was the last section that included multiple interviews with YA authors, both fiction and non-fiction. Those first-hand stories were the most helpful for me to hear. While some writers had early success or fell into it, many did not. It’s hard to hear that your first novel might not sell but it’s encouraging to hear that many people had better luck with their third, which I’ve just finished writing. One of my biggest takeaways from this book was that in order to write for teens, it’s important to spend time with them and not talk down to them. I’m thinking of ways I could volunteer with teenage groups that would help me remember what I felt when I was in that age group and grappling with some of the problems my characters face.

I felt Hanley portrayed herself in a very real way. She’s not an author with huge name recognition, but she’s garnered a lot of praise and good sales of her books. She is well qualified to write a book on writing for teens. I think she consulted a lot of her peers to become even more educated on the subject and I really like the insight she was able to share. I think I sometimes have visions of J.K. Rowling levels of success but I also know that’s a pipedream. The level of success Hanley has had would be incredible and reading this made me better able to picture a more reasonable level of success to strive for.

Victoria Hanley
Image via Goodreads

The interviews at the end were very honest and I felt gave me a great summary of the book. It was especially helpful with how slowly I read it! The short interviews asked mainly the same questions from the writers but there was a huge variety of answers. It helped emphasize that writing is a different journey for every person who undertakes it and we can’t compare our successes or failures to the person next to us. We might be on different paths that end in different places but that doesn’t make our journey any less meaningful or fruitful.

I’ll be honest and say I don’t remember large parts of this book. It was very similar to the other books on writing that I’ve read recently so I didn’t absorb a lot. There was a lot about types of publishers that would have been helpful for someone who didn’t know anything about the market but which for me was really repetitive and a bit dull.

Writing for teens and writing for adults isn’t hugely different. Hanley makes a great point in this and it’s repeated in many of the interviews at the end. If you’re trying to teach a teen something, they’ll figure it out. If they’re reading for fun, they likely aren’t looking for a lecture. You shouldn’t go into a book looking to teach. Books are entertaining. Yes, they often have a message but they don’t have a thesis statement and 300 pages of supporting paragraphs like an essay would. Talk to teens like they’re adults and they’ll respect you more and maybe they’ll even listen to you.

Writer’s Takeaway: For a non-fiction title like this, it was great that Hanley was able to bring in other experts to share their knowledge. It gave the writers a quick plug for their own books and it also helped Hanley. I see no downside for either party in the arrangement. It gave her the ability to address opposing opinions and experiences she hadn’t had without contradicting herself. It helped round out the experience of writing to hear from so many other writers.

A useful book but not the best for someone who’s already read a few books on writing. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Review: Wild Ink | Advice from a Caterpillar
Disturb the Reader | bird face wendy

Book Review: Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard (3/5)

18 Feb

My husband got me this book for Christmas a few years ago. I’d been enjoying a lot of books about endurance sports and this one involved ultra running and dogs. It sounded adorable. And it really was.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart by Dion Leonard

Summary from Goodreads:

Finding Gobi is the miraculous tale of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner who crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China. The lovable pup, who would later earn the name Gobi, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages and the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for 77 miles.

As Dion witnessed the incredible determination and heart of this small animal, he found his own heart undergoing a change as well.  Whereas in the past these races were all about winning and being the best, his goal now was to make sure he and Gobi’s friendship continued well after the finish line.  He found himself letting Gobi sleep in his tent at night, giving her food and water out of his own limited supply, and carrying her across numerous rivers, even when he knew it would mean putting him behind in the race, or worse, prevent him from finishing at all.

Although Dion did not cross the finish line first, he felt he had won something even greater – a new outlook on life and a new friend that he planned on bringing home as soon as arrangements were made.  However, before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. Dion, with the help of strangers and a viral outpouring of assistance on the internet, set out to track her down, and reunite forever with the amazing animal that changed his life and proved to him and the world that miracles are possible.

I feel like I need to start this review by saying I’m allergic to animal fur so I’ve never had a dog or cat. I have two turtles for a reason. I like dogs, but I’ve never owned and bonded with one. I hope that gives this some perspective. I liked parts of the book and were frustrated by other parts. I enjoyed the ultra running and the search for Gobi and the logistical nightmare of getting her home. I didn’t like the parts I felt were ‘edited.’ For example, when Dion covers the online donations and backers for the crowdsourcing effort, he’s only ever positive. I seriously doubt he liked feeling responsible to so many people and that so many people were always nice about everything. I bet some people really got on his nerves and times he wanted to go it alone so he’d get some peace. I don’t think an ultra-runner would have enjoyed talking to so many people; distance runners tend to like being alone for long periods. His media relations seemed to be very sugar-coated as well. He only says positive things and it’s hard for me to believe that it would always be that good.

I felt like everyone was shown in their best light. Dion didn’t want to say anything bad about any of the people who supported him and helped him find Gobi so every person he interacted with put their best foot forward. I think Nurali is the best example of this. She shows a bit of quick anger when Dion approaches her about his tent during the dust storm but it’s quickly brushed aside because she’s willing to help Gobi get back to Scotland. Then she takes forever to answer emails and goes dark for long periods. And Gobi disappears from her home when she’s traveling. Despite this, Dion talks about how great she was throughout everything. I thought it was a bit heavy-handed and made me feel like I was being lied to as a reader.

Lucja was my favorite person in this story. Talk about a devoted spouse! She was so supportive of Dion in his running career and in his quest for Gobi. I sometimes find it hard to say ‘yes’ to things my husband wants to do if they’re going to take us apart for a long time. She never seemed to hesitate. She always jumped into everything with both feet and I thought she was an admirable athlete as well. her relationship with Dion was very sweet and loving and I really hoped that wasn’t too contrived because I admired their relationship.

It was hard for me to relate to the emotions in this book at times. I’m not a big dog lover like Dion, though I like dogs well enough. I’ve never had a pet I was so devoted to. At times, his decisions seemed extreme to me and I couldn’t follow the logic. Risking my job to spend three months in China so I could bring a dog home with me? I wouldn’t do that; it’s just not me. That took me out of the last half of the book. Once the focus wasn’t on running, I started to lose interest.

Dion Leonard and Gobi
Image via The Times

The race was my favorite part of the book. I loved hearing about Dion’s experience in such an extreme endurance event. I have a lot of respect for athletes who complete those events and like hearing the first-hand perspective about training and racing in them. Having Gobi come into Dion’s life during such an extreme event was really special.

There wasn’t a part of this book I particularly disliked. Just because I liked the first half best doesn’t mean I disliked the second half. It was a cute story and it’s been too long since I read a memoir. It was a cute story and one that makes you believe that humans are naturally good.

The audiobook was narrated by Simon Bubb and I thought he was a good choice. Dion talks about his Australian heritage a lot so it made sense to have an Australian narrator. I felt he gave appropriate weight to emotional segments of the book and seemed to personify Dion’s serious nature well. I would have almost thought it was narrated by the author at times with how connected he seemed to Gobi’s story.

The dedication Dion had for Gobi was admirable. I think it was hard for me to relate to his attachment because I’ve never loved an animal as much as Dion loves Gobi. I do believe in a bond between man and animal and I think the instant bond Gobi and Dion had was special. When you find something that unique, you have to do whatever you can to protect it.

Writer’s Takeaway: Memoir can be hard. Sometimes there are truths that are hard to face. I think Dion struggled to be honest in this book and it was frustrating for me as the reader. I see this book more like a piece of marketing and a justification for all the donations he received than it is a true memoir. Parts of this book just didn’t sit right to me and I struggled to digest them. I think Dion might have written a very different book if he’d funded the search himself and hadn’t felt threatened by the Chinese government.

An overall enjoyable book but not what I was expecting. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Sarah’s Quilt by Nancy E. Turner (3/5)

13 Feb

I read the first book in this series a few years ago when I was desperate to finish the When Are You Reading? Challenge.  I’m finally getting to the later books in the series since they’re available from my library.

Cover image via Goodreads

Sarah’s Quilt (Sarah Agnes Prine #2) by Nancy E. Turner

Other books by Turner reviewed on this blog:

These Is My Words (Sarah Agnes Prine #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1906, the badlands of Southern Arizona Territory is a desolate place where a three-year drought has changed the landscape for all time. When Sarah’s well goes dry and months pass with barely a trace of rain, Sarah feels herself losing her hold upon the land. Desperate, Sarah’s mother hires a water witch, a peculiar desert wanderer named Lazrus who claims to know where to find water. As he schemes and stalls, he develops an attraction to Sarah that turns into a frightening infatuation.

And just when it seems that life couldn’t get worse, Sarah learns that her brother and his family have been trapped in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. She and her father-in-law cannot even imagine the devastation that awaits them as they embark on a rescue mission to the stricken city.

Sarah is a pioneer of the truest spirit, courageous but gentle as she fights to save her family’s home. But she never stops longing for the passion she once knew. Though her wealthy neighbor has asked her to wed, Sarah doesn’t entirely trust him. And then Udell Hanna and his son come riding down the dusty road…

I think that the summary captures the disjointed nature of this book well. Sarah’s life is portrayed very realistically in that it’s not a clean arc. There are a lot of things happening at once and not all of them seem to wrap up well nor at the same time. Most things didn’t seem logically connected and sometimes they weren’t. If I remember correctly, the first book was loosely based on a relative of the author. That helped me forgive what seemed disjointed in that story. I’m not sure I was as forgiving this time around.

Sarah is a great character. She’s a strong woman in a place that demands strong people. I think she contrasts well with Savannah as they’re both strong but in very different ways. I liked the children in this book, too. Mary Pearl is a very dynamic character and Charlie grows up a lot during the book. I did feel there were a few too many characters, though. It seemed like sending some of them to Chicago for a chunk of the novel was a way to deal with fewer of them for a time.

Udell was my favorite character and I was rooting for him from the moment he arrived. He’s a gentleman and reminded me a bit of Sarah’s late husband, Jack. I thought she’d appreciate a man like Jack. Especially when Rodolfo proposed, I was surprised she even considered him with Udell right in front of her nose. The things she did for him to help him out before the two were openly romantic with each other felt like flirting and the kind of help you only give someone who you want to be a permanent fixture in your life. It was a romance I just kept waiting to happen.

I feel our society pushes women to be more independent, like Sarah. She had to survive against a brutal landscape. Today, it’s not as much nature as the economy and workforce that push women to be as strong-willed as Sarah. If you don’t speak out for yourself, no one else may.

Nancy E. Turner
Image via Macmillan

Willy’s plotline was the most interesting to me. When he showed up, I wanted to whip him and I was happy when Albert did. When he started to turn bad, I wanted Sarah to take her turn and teach him a lesson and I was upset when he got away before anyone could. I wouldn’t have blamed Rodolfo or Charlie if they had shot Willy. I thought it was a kindness he didn’t deserve to get a trial. It was clear how it was going to end from the beginning. I’m glad no one swooped in and saved him in the end. He did terrible things and he had to atone for them in the end. I think he redeemed himself by giving Sarah’ the ammunition she needed against Felicity to keep her ranch.

I thought the plotline with Harlen was unnecessary. It felt like the author wanted to throw the earthquake into the story somehow and forced it to be there. I think it could have been taken out completely because it didn’t serve Sarah’s story much. This is why I could be more forgiving if I knew this book was also based on a diary. It might be real life, but it doesn’t make for a sensical story.

My audiobook was narrated by Valerie Leonard. I thought Leonard was a good voice for Sarah. She was strong and forceful when needed but was compassionate to her children, grandchildren, and nephews when needed. I thought Leonard gave good voices to men in the book as well, without sounding ridiculous. The only voice that stuck out to me was Willy’s, mostly the way he said “Sarah” but I can overlook that if it’s my only complaint.

Sarah was pushed against a wall time after time and was brought back by the help of her friends, family, and neighbors. I thought it was a powerful message about the community and how we are all able to help each other to build a more productive world. I think it’s important to keep an eye out for our neighbors and I know the neighbors who are most loved in my community are the ones who show they care.

Writer’s Takeaway: I didn’t feel this book had a good overall arc. It seemed to realistically read like a diary, but diaries aren’t always stories. Many things seemed disjointed. I haven’t spoken about Lazarus yet in my review but he was a major character with a big role in the overall plot. There were so many other things going on that it was easy to forget about some of the quieter or less consistent plot lines. I found it harder to follow because of this and took away a note about making sure every subplot supports an overall arc.

Overall, an entertaining read and a series I plan to finish. Three out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1900-1919 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Post:
On Grandkids, Parenting, and SARAH’S QUILT | journey toward stillness

Book Review: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (4/5)

11 Feb

I’d planned to go hear Ann Patchett speak with a good friend of mine but I got the date wrong and in the end, she couldn’t make it. I felt terrible and bought us both signed copies so we could do a Buddy Read. We both loved the setup and hope to do it again. Hopefully, we can find a book we enjoy as much as we both liked The Dutch House. That might be a tall order.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Other books by Patchett reviewed on this blog:
Commonwealth (and book club reflection)
Truth and Beauty
Bel Canto

Summary from Goodreads:

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

I find it hard to put my thumb on what it is about Patchett’s storytelling that’s so wonderful. Part of it is a long, slow burn with a characterization that drives you crazy. Danny and Maeve aren’t so special. Their story is unique but not so outlandish that it seems like an adventure. They’re very real people and their accomplishments are very believable and attainable. Their losses are relatable and realistic. You almost feel like it could happen to you but it’s just far enough away that you know it won’t. It’s a story you get easily swept away in and can’t help but love.

I feel like Maeve and Danny could easily live down the street. They were well developed and you wanted to believe you could meet them. Even the side characters were wonderful. Celeste felt like people I knew. Andrea was one of the best villains I’ve yet encountered. Fluffy was the babysitter you loved and hated growing up. Patchett’s ability to create characters is part of her gift and I really love reading about the people she’s invented.

Maeve was my favorite character and since she’s the main character, it seems like a cheap pick. Danny tells the story, but it always felt like it was about Maeve. I’d forget Danny’s name from time to time. He was the lens through which we see Maeve and her place in the world. Their stories are linked but Maeve is the mastermind. She’s the dominant character and the one who is backing Danny up along the way, no matter what. She pushes him through med school and then supports his real estate business. She acts like a side character, though. She’s smart but never has great ambitions. She is humble and is alone for a lot of her life. She’s not showy or flashy in any way and I think that’s what I liked about her so much.

There wasn’t a lot I could say I had experienced in this book, but the characters were so well drawn that I felt like I knew Maeve and Danny. Their reactions and decisions were so logical and sensical that I would have made them myself and I loved seeing the book play out in a way I could relate to so well.

Ann Patchett
Personal photo taken October 14, 2020 Ann Arbor, MI

Danny’s schooling was my favorite part of the book. I loved how Danny became a doctor just to spite Andrea. I thought Maeve was really smart in how she sent Danny to boarding school and then I laughed when he went to med school and then told Maeve he didn’t want to be a doctor. Of course, she didn’t care if he became a doctor! She just wanted to get back at Andrea. The anger the siblings had at their step-mother was founded yet deeper than I could have anticipated. It was fun to watch.

Spoiler alert so skip to the next paragraph to miss them. I really disliked it when their mother came back. I thought I’d be excited to see what kind of woman she was and where she’d been for so long. I thought I’d react like Maeve. I reacted like Danny. I was mad at her for leaving and for being so kind to everyone else when she failed to be kind to her own children. I never grew to like her.

Family is a tricky thing. As much as their father was their blood family, he was very removed from Danny and Maeve growing up and seemed almost absent from their lives. The times he spends with Danny collecting the rents seemed like the most interaction the two had. In many ways, Sandy and Jocelyn are more parental to Maeve than anyone else and Maeve is Danny’s primary parent. Maeve’s ability to be a parent seems to always be in question. She lives far from Danny and the two have a very close bond. Through Celeste, we see how unusual this bond is and how much it bothers her. It seems like Danny didn’t have much of a parent to speak of but he turns out to be a pretty good dad in the end. Maybe Maeve gave him a better blueprint than I give her credit for.

Writer’s Takeaway: Character development cannot be neglected. Even more so, giving a character his or her own personality and not holding that back. Fluffy is a great example of this. She is a unique character throughout the novel. Andrea is a consistent villain as well. Each of the characters was unique and I think that’s something I struggle with in my books and hope to develop better.

An overall wonderful book and one I’m glad I read. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 1960-1979 time period of the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett | Books to the Ceiling
‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett – This Old House | Tony’s Book World
“The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett | Leave Me Alone I Am Reading And Reviewing
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett | Clarion-Ledger / Hattiesburg American Mississippi Books Page
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – book review | Wishfully Reading