Book Reviews of The Probable Future

The Probable Future
The Probable Future
Author: Alice Hoffman
ISBN-13: 9780385507608
ISBN-10: 0385507607
Publication Date: 6/24/2003
Pages: 336
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 81

3.8 stars, based on 81 ratings
Publisher: Doubleday
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

31 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Probable Future on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Hoffman once again creates magic through descriptive prose, placing you in the schoolroom with Stella, watching in horror as a fishbone protrudes from the throat of her approaching teacher. Then, in a cab on the way home, she must turn from the driver to avoid seeing his large tumor, so clearly visible in his skull.

To me, this novel served to ask the reader two larger questions: When do you decide not to trust someone you love? and Can you regain the trust of those you love in order to create a different future for yourself, when you've made grave and hurtful errors?
reviewed The Probable Future on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Loved this book! The characters are so good. I really hated to see it end. It is about the relationship between mothers and daughters during the years when a child is trying to become a woman and discovers she has been granted a special gift that has been handed down for generations. Each daughter on her 13th birthday receives a unique gift and it doesn't always seem like a blessing. Each one has a gift that sets them apart from all others. Combine that with trying to become an adult and trying to establish your own personality and it's fascinating and oh, so hard. I highly recommend this book! I will be looking for other books by this author.
Nancy
reviewed The Probable Future on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
First of all, the current murder plays very little in the story. It really functions to being the whole family back together in Unity, the Sparrows hometown, which was fine with me, but if a reader were looking for a good conclusion to that side plot, it isnt here.

Each of the women has a gift or curse, depending on how you look at it. Stella, as we learn early, can see peoples deaths. She deals with it surprisingly well, actually, and she more than either of the other women, makes good use of her gift.

I loved this book. Jenny and Elinor have been estranged for years. Jenny has managed to drive a wedge between herself and Stella, despite how much she didnt want to.Through the book, though, all three of them grow, learn to see the world and each other in different ways. They also learn about love, both for family and for the men in their lives.

Also, this is a spring book, beginning in March and ending in May. It is full of new beginnings, finding true love, and some losses, too. I have to admit that I needed a few tissues toward the end, just a warning.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book was written with such vivid description, I felt like I was right there in the house...I wish I was right there in the house. These women's ives were so clorful and full of mystery, I couldn't wait to find out the details of it all!
reviewed The Probable Future on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
beautiful. Hoffman's typical themes of magic and optimism are present in the story.
i like Hoffman a lot, how she tells the story from multiple points of view, slipping seamlessly from character to character. i also love how her characters always learn from their mistakes, and how loss and disappointment lead to happier times.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book about family, history and magic. Each character has a rich story to tell and Hoffman gives them the space to tell it.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The Probable Future opens in familiar Alice Hoffman territory: in a New England town, Jenny Sparrow frets over the legacy her daughter Stella will receive upon waking on her thirteenth birthday. All Sparrow woman - and they are all women - find their one "talent", always something magical or supernatural, on this day. The first Sparrow, Rebecca, could not feel pain while Jenny's mother Elinor can instantly detect a lie. Jenny herself dreams other people's dreams. In true Hoffman fashion, the gift Stella receives affects not only the direction of her life but of those who love her - Jenny, Elinor, Jenny's errant ex-husband Will; Will's brother Matt; Liza, the owner of the town tea house; Hap, Stella's new best friend; and Brock Stewart, Elinor's doctor and companion.

While parts of this novel are groaningly familiar, Hoffman deftly moves from these moments to something more solid and truthful. The author has her own gift, that of confident narration. Her characterizations are memorably detailed, with the portrayal of Brock Stewart perhaps the most touching I have encountered in her fiction. Unlike in Turtle Moon and Practical Magic, the magic realism here is not as much a crucial part of the story as it is an overlay. Even though Stella's gift does prompt a journey back to the Sparrows, the reasons seem forced and the action unnecessary. This story would be every bit as moving without the Sparrow women's gifts, fireflies that ignite, and bees that demand politeness. Some fans might be disappointed by the lack of seamless integration of magic and realism in this novel, but others will be thankful the author did not force it upon a story which has its most honest moments between ordinary people. Love and the author's literary expressions of its intricacies figure heavily, verging on sentimentality, but again, Hoffman seems to instinctively know when to abandon this direction just her writing is in danger of becoming maudlin.

Turtle Moon and Practical Magic remain Alice Hoffman's most inventive novels; however, The Probable Future has its own charms. Quiet, loving, and upbeat, this novel is more likely to appeal to women than to men.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The author has her own gift, that of confident narration. These are well-drawn characters who often inspire, simultaneously, the desire to give them tea and crackers and the desire to knock their heads together, with the portrayal of Brock Stewart perhaps the most touching.

Some fans might be disappointed by the lack of seamless integration of magic and realism in this novel, but others will be thankful the author did not force it upon a story which has its most honest moments between ordinary people.

Reconciliation and forgiveness are the main themes of the novel: about the need to forgive each other, forgive oneself and forgive past wrongs that have been carried down through generations. It is also about the transforming power of love. Hoffman contains her themes within an intricately weaved story that wraps around you like a warm blanket. It is a wonderful story of family love and the relationships between mothers and daughters.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 20 more book reviews
A story of a family of women with supernatural gifts. Really enjoyable.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 44 more book reviews
I love Alice Hoffman and this book is wonderful!
reviewed The Probable Future on + 28 more book reviews
A great novel full of magic and a bit of mystery.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 181 more book reviews
Good, but not great. Enjoyable, but predictable.

I liked the (fictionalized) historical backstory, the themes of forgiveness and family relationships. I wasn't crazy about how conveniently everyone paired up and the conflicts were resolved, although I suppose that's to be expected in this genre.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 1131 more book reviews
Alice Hoffman's writing in this book is often simply amazing, beautiful and breathtaking and word-perfect. She created convincing characters and wrote about their lives and their hard-won self-knowledge (or lack of it). This was a lovely and haunting story, except--I've seen Hoffman's style defined as magical realism, and if that's the case, I probably won't read more of her books. I found the bits of "magic" tucked randomly into the story to be merely silly, totally unnecessary add-ons that spoiled the book's mood and destroyed realism rather than enhancing it.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 88 more book reviews
I just love Alice Hoffmans' books, always a little bit of the mystical, always a lot about life and human relationships.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 3 more book reviews
I loved this book. In typical Alice Hoffman fashion, it includes wonderful descriptions and development of characters about which the reader actually cares.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 132 more book reviews
Even with the fantasy in this book I felt it compelling. A story of loving & acceptance. The author does a lot of descriptions in her writing is my only objection to the book. I've read other by this author & found that to be the norm. Rather she would spend more time on story itself.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 276 more book reviews
This is a very sweet and charming book. It was nice for me to read something joyful for a change since my usual reads are very dark. Alice Hoffman does not disappoint.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 10 more book reviews
The Probable Future was a bewitching novel that captures your attention and doesn't release it until you finish the last page. It forces a person to ask many philosophical questions of themselves. I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down once I'd started it. When I wasn't reading it, I found myself thinking about it, and where the story was going. I reccomend this book to people who are looking for a novel that examines relationships and throws a little magic in for good measure.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 100 more book reviews
This was an absolutely wonderful story about the lives of 3 generations of women in a family and the love, history, memories and tradgey they go through.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 47 more book reviews
this is a great book - a quick and interesting read. story of three generations of women in a small new England town and their relationship with two brothers. story moves quickly , holds your interest and has a nice ending . highly reccomend toanyone who like Alice hoffman .
reviewed The Probable Future on + 47 more book reviews
A bewitching story of gifted women unlucky at love.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 131 more book reviews
A fantastic book -- Just like all of her books!
reviewed The Probable Future on + 133 more book reviews
Wonderful premise but didn't like the characters and this spoiled the book for me.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 29 more book reviews
Loved it! An excellent story told by a master storyteller.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 8 more book reviews
The women shine as usual but great male characters too
reviewed The Probable Future on + 7 more book reviews
Fun read with interesting and magical characters.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 131 more book reviews
Excellent book! I will be reading more of this author!
reviewed The Probable Future on + 25 more book reviews
I really enjoyed The Probable Future, I thought the plot was good as was the writing. Here's a description:

"The women of the Sparrow family have lived in New England for generations. Each is born in the month of March, and at the age of thirteen, each develops an unusual gift. Elinor can literally smell a lie. Her daughter, Jenny, can see peoples dreams as theyre dreaming them. Granddaughter Stella, newly a teen, has just developed the ability to see how other people will die. Ironically, it is their gifts that have kept Elinor and Jenny apart for the last twenty-five years. But as Stella struggles to cope with her disturbing clairvoyance, the unthinkable happens: One of her premonitions lands her father in jail, wrongly accused of homicide. The ordeal leads Stella to the grandmother shes never met and to Cake House, the Sparrow ancestral home full of talismans and fraught with history. Now three generations of estranged Sparrow women must come together to turn Stellas potential to ruin into a potential to redeem."*

*From the back of the book The Probable Future
reviewed The Probable Future on + 29 more book reviews
This book follows the family of the Sparrow woman and their unique gifts. A good read. Covers are torn, but book itself is in great shape.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 131 more book reviews
Alice Hoffman is a genius of a writer.
reviewed The Probable Future on + 9 more book reviews
Really liked this book.