Tag Archives: The Lost Daughter

Book Club Reflection: The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante

22 Dec

I’m not alone in my dislike of the characters in this novel but it seems a lot of my fellow readers didn’t dislike the whole book because of it. I was surprised at the mixed reactions of our group when we got together to discuss The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. We wanted to read this one because Time Magazine lists Ferrante as one of the most influential people. She’s also called the ‘best known least known’ writer in Italy. Despite her popularity, no one knows who she is, only that she lives in Naples. She’s credited with linking the old Italian writing style with a new style. I’m going to have to give her writing another try.

One of the women who attended our group was a guest to us. She’s active in other groups in the area but hadn’t been to one of our meetings before. She decided to come because she lived in Italy for a part of her childhood before moving to the US and had wanted to read one of Ferrante’s books. She read a few more after this one before our group met and loved them all. She said she wanted to know what American-born readers thought. Listening to her talk about her experience with the book made me like it more, to be honest. There was a lot about modern Italian culture that I didn’t pick up on because I’ve never lived there. We couldn’t picture the people and setting very well because it wasn’t something familiar to those of us who didn’t grow up in Italy. We didn’t understand the class and regional differences in the writing. Leda was brutally honest, but the focus of her wrath was not always very apparent to us.

Part of what I didn’t like about the book was that Leda was so selfish and unlikable. Yes, she was honest, but to most of us, that could only go so far. She seemed damaged by her own childhood with a mother who continually threatened to leave her. Leda had the nerve to do what her mom always talked about and actually left. We found it odd that she made a point of being meticulous in her pregnancy (page 122) but once her daughters were born, seemed to neglect them. It was hard to read (listen) to her talk about not comforting her children when they cried. She wanted people to like her and understand why she did what she did, which was hard to do. She wanted Gino to like her and think she was right and she grew so mad when he didn’t agree. It was like when she flirted with her daughter’s boyfriends and was mad when they didn’t return her affection. She was so selfish.

The doll said a lot about Leda. She wanted to be the hero to the Neapolitans on the beach, the lower class people who Leda thought should look up to someone educated like herself. She seemed jealous of Elena and Nina. They were close like her family never was and was likely to never be again. She wanted to make them suffer, to be as unhappy as she was. Once she had the doll, she kept trying to fix it, to make it pretty, but what was inside it was so dark and dirty, coming out over and over unendingly. We felt she inserted herself into their story so she could be a part of it just to feel important.

There was something I caught that some didn’t so I wanted to see if anyone else caught it. Nina’s family was part of the Camorra, the Italian mafia based in Naples. It’s implied when Gino talks about them being bad people. Did anyone else catch that? Only some of our group did.

A few people pointed out that if you reread the first few pages after finishing the book, you can see that the whole thing is told in flashback after Leda gets into a car accident. She has a pain in her side and wakes up in a hospital seeing her family around her. The pain is a reference to her stab wound but we couldn’t decide if we thought her family had come from Canada to see her or if she was hallucinating. My vote was for hallucinating. Thoughts?

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

Advertisements

WWW Wednesday, 14-December-2016

14 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


onceuponCurrently reading: A lot of my progress with World Without End by Ken Follett came to a halt while I was on vacation. There wasn’t a good time to listen to the audiobook between enjoying the weather and hanging out with my traveling companion. I lose the hold tomorrow and I’m afraid it’s going to be another small eternity until I get it bad. Sad face.
I didn’t make much progress The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. Her books are easy to get back to so I’m looking forward to it when I find the time.
I am devouring Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. I’m completely in love with Margo and her terrible life that she’s managing to not only survive but thrive in. I can’t wait to keep reading this one!

breakoutRecently finished: I finished Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass the morning I left Phoenix and I enjoyed it a lot. I got some great ideas for things to change in my book. I’ll be starting on the workbook as soon as I get those changes incorporated into the story and I’m excited to get it out to beta readers!

And reviews! This tidal wave will keep coming, I promise. First was Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler which I really enjoyed. It had the flapper view of Zelda I missed in an earlier book. 4/5 Stars
The second was In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, a long-awaited one for those who have been with WWW for some time. It was worth the wait and, as it happens, I ran into a man at the airport on Sunday who was reading it! He had wonderful things to say about the book as well. 4/5 Stars.
Finally, The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. This book was not my favorite but I’m still determined to read another of Ferrante’s books that’s on my shelf. 2/5 Stars

southofbroadReading Next: I have another book club selection on my shelf, South of Broad by Pat Conroy. This one is a chunkster so I’m hoping to get started on it with plenty of time to read it before the book club meets at the end of January.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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: The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante (2/5)

13 Dec

After reading that Elena Ferrante was named one of the Most Influential People by TIME Magazine, we wanted to read one of her books. The library chose The Lost Daughter for us. I have another of Ferrante’s books on my shelf that I’ve been putting off and I was excited to get this quick preview of the book.

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
Translated by Ann Goldstein

Summary from Goodreads:

Leda, a middle-aged divorce, is alone for the first time in years when her daughters leave home to live with their father. Her initial, unexpected sense of liberty turns to ferocious introspection following a seemingly trivial occurrence.

A short summary for a short book. The book was only 125 pages but the audiobook I listened to was still 4:57! I was not a fan of this book. I thought Leda was whiny and I didn’t like the constant flashbacks and the way she described the Neapolitans she met. A big part of that might have been how little I know about Italian culture (this will be covered in my upcoming Book Club Reflection). Leda was so unlikable that I couldn’t enjoy the book. I wanted her to be unhappy and she was but rather than feel vindicated, I wanted her to shut up and go away. It was a really frustrating experience for me.

As much as I hated Leda, I admit she was believable. There are people who will leave their children because they can’t handle being a mother and there are mothers who scream at their children over seemingly trivial things. There are adulterers and there are people who are flat-out rude. That doesn’t mean I like these people. I hated Leda and I honestly liked when she was hurt in the end. I’m not sure I would want to write a protagonist that was so unlikeable and I’m not sure I’d want to be the person who related to her, but she was believable.

Nina was my favorite character. Except that she was cheating, I didn’t like that. I thought she was believable, a woman who was pretty from far away but was seen as ugly up close. That was realistic to me. I thought she was a good mother to Elena and she was easy to like. I felt bad for her because her in-laws seemed so terrible and crass. I understood why she was in the situation she was in, but that didn’t make it easier to read about.

As much as I don’t want to say this, there were some parts of Leda I could relate to. I hope I’m not the only one who will admit to this, but I judge people in my head. Maybe not as harshly as Leda seemed to but I will make some snap judgments about people based on how they look, are dressed, or speak. I know this sounds terrible so let me give you an example. I was on the running trail with my husband yesterday and I saw a guy in some nice running shoes out by himself. My initial thought was, “You do this to get an hour to yourself on the weekends while your wife watches the kids.” If that’s true, I’ll never know, but that’s my judgment. I can’t be alone in this, right? (Please comment and tell me I’m not a terrible person.)

I liked the ending so this is going to be a spoiler. Skip to the end of the paragraph to avoid it! I was glad Nina was so mad at Leda for taking the doll. She should have been even angrier! Elena is miserable because she lost her doll and to think that Leda had it all along and could have given it back was maddening. I’m glad she got stabbed, too. It wasn’t a bad stabbing but she deserved to suffer for what she did. Yes, this is partially my dislike for Leda but also I’m glad Nina did what she did! I’m glad she didn’t use Leda’s apartment for her affair, too. She seemed inclined to cheat to get away from her crying daughter and enjoy herself for a few hours and if Elena would be happy with her doll returned and the apartment would keep Nina from enjoying herself because it reminded her of Leda, all the better.

I hated the flashbacks to when Leda left her kids. Even if Marta and Bianca were brats (and there’s nothing to indicate they were any worse than normal children), Leda was terrible to them and the things she thought about them were even worse. As someone contemplating having children, this was a terrible book to read because now I’m afraid I’d be as angry and bitter as Leda toward my children!

The audiobook I listened to was read by Hillary Huber. Huber had a good voice for Leda and conveyed all of her anger and bitterness well. My complaint is that she read it too slowly. A 125 page book should not be a 5 hour audiobook, it just shouldn’t. For me, it was too much and took away from my enjoyment of the book. I wanted to move on to something else!

I believe Leda is the lost daughter referred to in the title. She talked a lot about her mother and upbringing and how much she disliked her mother and was always being told her mother would leave her if she misbehaved. When she was old enough, Leda left home and turned her back on her Neapolitan family and background. In the book, she’s very rude to the Neapolitan family and thinks she’s better than them. She’s distanced herself from her past in a very major way.

Writer’s Takeaway: Not every character a writer writes will be likable. Hopefully, it’s not the main character as Ferrante did in this book. I think Leda is a good study of how to make a character unlikable but I don’t think it’s a good example to make the unlikable person the protagonist.

I really did not enjoy this book. 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 Posts:
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante | booksaremyfavoriteandbest
The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante | Consumed by Ink
Rejoice, Ferrante Fans! A New (Children’s) Novel Is On Its Way | FlavorWire

WWW Wednesday, 23-November-2016

23 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


birthdayboysCurrently reading: I’m so anxious to get World Without End by Ken Follett. All my audiobooks are about to wrap up and it would be the perfect time to jump back into it full-force. Soon enough…
I’m still making only minor progress with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. It’s slow reading and a lot of it is about the computer industry which is outside what I know. Also, the book is really dated sometimes, asking if the Internet is going to be a big thing for companies to adapt to. Ha!
I was given a copy of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge a few weeks ago and finally started in on the ebook. It’s exactly what I suspected so far, which is a good thing! I’m a fan of Bainbridge’s style so I’m looking forward to this one.
I also started listening to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. My husband has read almost all of the Bard’s works and of the ones written in the 1600s that I haven’t read, he recommended this one. It’s quite short so I should be done soon!

BeastsRecently finished: SO MUCH PROGRESS! I, unexpectedly, finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson on Thursday. I was only at 79% but it turns out the rest of the book was notes and references! That was a pleasant surprise. It was a good read and I almost wish Dodd had been in Germany a bit longer, but I can’t change history.
I also finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler on Thursday. It was a bit more abrupt than I was expecting but it was appropriate. The part of Zelda’s life when she was in treatment was glossed over a lot so it sped to the end quickly. Still, the book was really enjoyable.
I’ll have a lot of book reviews to write at the beginning of December because I also finished The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I didn’t enjoy this one much, to be honest. I’m a bit nervous about reading another Ferrante novel but I’ve got one on my shelf so I’ll get to it eventually.

breakoutReading Next: There are a few options. I’d like to start working with Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass as part of NaNoWriMo. I should get through this re-read of my novel and be able to start on some serious editing with the book before the end of the month.
The other option is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January selection. For that club, January will be my last meeting before I have to miss three months due to class. (I’ve already cried over this.) I might delay starting it a bit so it’s fresh in my mind for the meeting.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 16-November-2016

16 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


paranoidCurrently reading: I got through just a little with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I have a bit of time at my new doctors to read a few pages before he’ll come into the exam room. It’s something right?
Still no World Without End by Ken Follett. I’m about in a perfect spot for it. Maybe the book genies are waiting for me?
I’m getting close with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I’m starting to see how this book and Zelda in her 20s can lead into the Zelda I read about in Call Me Zelda when she’s older. It’s fun to have read them in this order but maybe chronologically would have been better.
Since The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante is so short, I’m almost done with it. I might have finished it by the time you read this! I’m not a huge fan so far. I hope the ending can bring everything together for me.
It’s been slow with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. Business books are never too engrossing but it’s mostly been that I’m so tired when I finally get to bed! I’ll try to buckle down and get some of it read but no promises.

Recently finished: Nothing! I’m falling back into the “tons or none” phase of reading. I need to stop starting so many books at the same time, haha.

Reading Next: My book club will be announcing our next pick soon so that will be the next one I pick up. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a Shakespeare before then? Depends on how soon I find out!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 9-November-2016

9 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


lostdaughterCurrently reading: Nothing with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I got it renewed again but I’m not sure I’ll find the time to devote to it. I know, it’s sad. I’m enjoying the book, too! I think I’m not too far from the end.
I’m so certain I’ll get World Without End by Ken Follett soon. I’m next in line for the hold and I’ll dedicate my time to the book 100% when I get it.
I’ve enjoyed Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald so far. The narration is great but I’m starting to feel really bad for Zelda! I want better things to happen to her but having read more about the end of her life, I know it’s not all rosy.
I began The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante on Friday and I’m already making substantial progress on it. The file is just under 5 hours long so I’m expecting to finish this one soon. Which will leave me time for Follett as soon as it comes back!
I started reading Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. This is a book my old boss recommended and said it was very influential to him so I’ve wanted to read it forever. Finally going to get to it!

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Recently finishedStiff by Mary Roach was really fun. I finished it early Thursday morning while I was running and was thinking about it most of the rest of the day. My review of it went out yesterday so please go check that out. I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.
I finished The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham on Friday so WOOO for finishing books! It was a better week than I expected. My review will be up around December 1st as I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo and will not be posting (besides WWW Wednesday, of course) until December. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: I’m thinking of reading a Shakespeare to finish up the When Are You Reading? Challenge but haven’t decided on one yet. Can anyone recommend one that’s specifically set in the 1600s? If not, I’ll pick any because they were written in the time period. Close enough!


I have MY FINAL TODAY (!!!!) so please be patient with me due to delayed responses.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 2-November-2016

2 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


zCurrently reading: So far not much at all with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. I’d be happy to finish this before the end of the year, but I’m not sure even that will happen!
Still on hold with World Without End by Ken Follett. I’ve got to be getting it back soon, right? The only problem is when to listen to it now that I have two other audiobooks going!
Stiff by Mary Roach has been a fun read. I’m getting close to the end and it’s safe to say I learned a lot but it hasn’t always been things I think I’ll use in my daily conversations. Roach has a great style and I’m curious about her other books now.
I’m getting close to the end of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing by Marilyn Durham. There’s only been one part so far I didn’t think was believable but I’ve really enjoyed this book.
It will be a slow go with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler only because I’m not planning on driving a lot any time soon and this one is in my car only. I like the story and the narrator is great but this will be here a while.

Recently finished: As expected, after last week’s tidal wave, noting finished this week. I think a few will be here next week so I’m optimistic.

lostdaughterReading Next: My book club met Monday and I’ve been reminded that my next book will be The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I have another of her books on my shelf that I haven’t gotten to yet but it comes highly recommended so I’m excited to start with this shorter title.
I’m in need of some help to finish my reading challenge this year. Can anyone recommend a book that’s set in the 1600s? It’s the only time period I have left for the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Thanks to anyone who can help!


I have a class after work Wednesdays through November so please be patient with me due to delayed responses. I’m checking as often as I can.

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!