100% my type of book. I loved every single minute of it and hated for it to end.
Oh. My. Word.
Sometimes I look at my library and despair at ever finding a book to read. I have thousands of books in my TBR pile. No, I jest not. My “to-read” list on Goodreads is currently at 9,886. These are books I own in one format or another (audio, DTBooks or Ebooks). I don’t have them all listed of course. so you could probably add a couple thousand more. My cloud on Amazon alone lists over 6,000.
I can spend hours trying to decide what to read next. I am always trying to find the perfect book for me. I hate to know that I can pick a book that, although a good book, isn’t a great book.
The book I am forever searching for is THIS TYPE OF BOOK! This is the type of book I live for. Some people live for chocolate. I live for this type of book.
Just oh my word. What did I NOT love about it? Ummm….I can’t think of anything…except maybe that it ended. Some say it has a fairy tale sort of feel. Yes, I can see that. It also has that fable type of feel as well. It has moral conflicts scattered throughout. It has old folklore scattered about as well. It has strong secondary characters that one finds just as intriguing as the main characters. And oh my dear lord, Chava and Ahmad. *swoons* Talk about two halves of a whole. Two creatures that mirror and reflect off each other. I’m not talking romance here. This novel isn’t a romantic type of read. Please don’t think this is some hot and steamy romance. It’s so not. This is…well it’s just what I said…It’s two halves of a whole and reflections off one another that go on to shape who these creatures are. What does it mean to be human?
This is one of those novels that you have to stop and leave all your expectations at the door. This isn’t a novel that you go into imagining it to be some sort of read…because what you imagine won’t be true…you just need to let the story unfold and let it be your guide…not some preconceived notions of what a story is meant to be.
I can’t express enough how much I loved this book. If a jinni came up to me and granted me one wish of a book I would like to read…well, I would be completely unable to tell them exactly what I wanted/needed/craved…but if I were able to tell them and express every desire…
I bought this book when it was first announced as an Oprah Book Club® Selection in 2001. I picked it up more than a few times and tried to read it. I just couldn’t get in to it. When I first bought a kindle in 2011, I again tried to read this novel…still couldn’t get into it. Picked it up again in 2016…you guessed it…STILL couldn’t get far…well if you don’t know me, it’s time you know…I’m hard headed. I’ve had so many of my mates tell me this is the best book ever…Every time I cried about giving up once again on reading the book I would have yet one more person tell me to try again. I became determined to finish this book…if only to ease the guilt I felt of letting other people that loved the book down.
FINALLY!!!!! I finished the book this year. I’m glad I finished it…now I can move on and put this troubled relationship behind me. I mean, seriously, it’s been over 15 years of me asking for fulfilment and getting nothing in return except wasted space and gathering dust…
The first 2/3 of the book continued to piss me off in more ways than I thought were possible. Every time something else happened I found my blood pressure building. However, the last 1/3 of the book was simply marvellous and I loved it so very much.
Does this review make you unsure how to proceed? Well, I don’t know what else to say except that you’ll have to deal with it and come to terms so you too can move on with your life…
Sure this is going to be perhaps my shortest review ever, but face it, you guys probably already know everything there is to know about the book. If I had to read all 900 plus pages myself, I shouldn’t also have to tell you guys all about my sufferings to finish those pages now should I?
So here goes…
Deets, Po, Newt and Augustus get 5 stars. Of course Augustus also gets minus 5 stars as well. The rest…meh. Woodrow…well I won’t even waste me breath on that one…
I enjoyed the story. I also found myself laughing out loud more than once at the diary entries. I might have even gotten a wee bit emotional at the running race.
However, I found myself getting a bit wound up more than once over the body shaming and name calling. I mean, Zoe and Greg faced discrimination daily. Faced judgement based solely on the size of their clothing. Yet they didn’t seem to mind doing the same type things to people they knew who were overweight or those that weren’t “perceived” as attractive.
Perhaps some might say I am being too politically correct. I don’t care. Body shaming and any other shaming (be it how someone dresses or looks) really bothers me. More and more each day it seems. I don’t want to lighten up over it. I don’t care if you’re making a joke about it. Or you’re just being judgemental amongst yourselves. I don’t think it’s right.
I think it’s a bit hypocritical to have two characters that are trying to change their lives because they are sickened by being judged or ashamed of how they look and feel and then have them turn around and do the same thing. Personally, it really turned me off and bothered me.
This would have been a great book for me if the main characters could have had a wake up moment of realising that their size doesn’t determine their worth…or that how someone dresses doesn’t make them crazy. Or so many other things that bothered me here…but as it is, it was just okay for me… #sorrynotsorry
I started this book and immediately found myself drawn in. As the book continued I admit, I started to become angry with the wife. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to let go and accept someone whom you loved a great deal had died if they remained in contact with you. I really felt bad for the husband. As the book continued on more, I became outraged at this dead wife. I kept trying to put myself in her shoes. Why would she do this? I put myself in her husband’s shoes. How awful it must have been for him. Why oh why would she do all of this? Why wouldn’t she had just been honest and up front when she was alive?
As the book approached the ending… well, I finally understood. I can’t say I agreed with her reasoning…or her methods…but I could finally understand to some degree.
Even when I was incredibly angry with these characters, I remained invested in this novel and couldn’t put it down. I rushed through it to make sure it would all turn out alright.
Sure, I figured out some of the “surprises” in the ending…however, the path I thought we would be taking to get there was different from I expected. I finished this novel and didn’t feel any anger about emotional manipulation as I often do with these “surprise twists” at the end.
Sure, it might be a novel that I won’t remember all the details next month, that happens a lot with me, but I have to say I really enjoyed this whilst I was reading it and I definitely know some mates that I would recommend this one to…very happy I picked this one to spend the day reading…
How does one review this book? Looking at near 250k ratings and over 10k reviews on Goodreads.com I reckon I don’t have to. However, you all know I’m a glutton for punishment so I will say a few words…
With all the foreshadowing in the first 100 pages of the book you can pretty much figure out how it’s to end…you might even think you know the whys. I mean it’s all there…however, as in life, this book demonstrates that it’s all in the details…and in perhaps what is never said as well…
This book made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. It’s a wonderful telling about two boys growing up. How they help one another in ways that they are unable to even ask for. I found at times I was a bit irritated with the back and forth of the memories. The 1st person narrator would have a memory and then the novel would go back in time to expand on that memory. As the novel progressed and I became used to this, it really proved interesting. Especially since many of the memories were reminisced over a few times. Experiencing something vs looking back at a memory vs looking back at a memory after a traumatic event can all be very different experiences for the same person. “After the fact” we can all imagine how things might have been different if we had picked up on the clues we were given.
I should note that this is a novel full of wonderful secondary characters. Some of them truly do help make this an extraordinary read.
I admit, Owen really annoyed me during much of the novel…however, some part of me thinks that’s part of the point.
I also leave myself wondering how different Johnny would be if Owen was still his best mate living down the street. Or if Owen hadn’t thrown that ball…
Finally, I have to say that at times I might have wished greatly that this book would just move along faster. The slow pace was just as annoying as Owen was. Reading this book really was a test of my discipline. Some novels are just like that for me…My reward wasn’t the ending….it was all the time spent with so many wonderful characters, getting to know them in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible if the novel was written any other way…
I’m not sure how to review this novel. Seeing so many of my friends have given this book high ratings but no reviews makes me think that perhaps it’s not just me‽
I had a really hard time getting past the grandparents. It kinda challenged my commitment to not judge other’s personal choices. The same with the parents I guess, not to the same degree, but there was still a bit of taking myself to task for some of my thoughts.
Also, I realised at some point that I might expect too much of fictional characters. I mean, I found the grandfather really weak and unlikable at times…especially at the start. However, maybe I was expecting Lefty to be this perfect literary character and not an actual person. At some point, Lefty did become real to me…and all those things that really irritated me and made me really dislike him at the start turned things around and made him real to me.
That’s what Eugenides did for me in this novel. He made all of these characters seem like every day people. He made them into my neighbours. Liking them, even though I didn’t really know what was going on behind closed doors (of course, being the reader we actually DID know what was going on).
Since I can’t really think of how to review this novel, I’ll tell you that the blurb on the cover does a nice job explaining what the plot of the novel is about. But to understand this novel…well no review can do that…no summery can do that. You really have to meet Callie/Cal to understand why this novel is so amazing.
I’m not sure the moment when Callie realised that she was different. Or when Cal realised that he was real. But he does a wonderful job at the end summing it up. Gender does not define us. We are who we are…and Cal, along with all of his family are just wonderful…faults, and non-faults alike…simply wonderful…again, gender doesn’t define us….try to remember that next time if you’re the type to judge…