Book Reviews of A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres
A Thousand Acres
Author: Jane Smiley
ISBN-13: 9780785798545
ISBN-10: 0785798544
Publication Date: 10/1999
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3

3.8 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush
Book Type: Library Binding
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 87 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
A well written book. It gives a dark picture of human nature. It portrays mankind as self-centered, manipulative, and vengeful. The worldview of this book would definitely be that men and women are basically sinful. Not a book for those looking for a "feel good" piece of literature.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
My favorite book of all time. Just remember that it is a story of incest and how two sisters deal with it.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The parallels to King Lear in this novel are so well-crafted and so subtly slipped in that the reader would not realize it unless it was pointed out. Smiley does a brilliant job of constructing believable characters - some fragile, others strong, all of them fully rounded. The way she describes the farmland is unmatched. Definitely recommended.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
In spite of how dark and painful as this book was, I would have to say that I liked it. Smiley certainly did a great job of making me not want to put it down and I genuinely felt for the characters. The matter-of-fact way that unimaginable tragedy was woven in to the story and accepted by a hardened town of farmers seems like a testament to human endurance.
But what I was left with from this story is how each of our individual lives are shaped by our reactions more than our actions. Rose and Ginny at first seemed like similar farmer's wives, but when asked specific questions about their childhood (and general life experiences) you would think they were from different planets. We are that complex and our experiences are that personalized.
This story reminds me to muster at least compassion for others, even those that you always thought you "knew", because what lies under the surface will never be exactly what you imagine.
I will add that there is a hint in this story that the entire experience is really just a farm chemical acid trip, and maybe I could even find comfort in this explanation. Thought provoking book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Kind of depressing that a family destroys each other like this, but our book club realllyyy discussed it and when we wandered, returned right away to it again with more to discuss. A must read!!
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Good story overall but I had a hard time getting through the first half. It was a little slow to me.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Rewrite of King Lear. not so original.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
An intriguing novel of family committment and secrets.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When I closed the back cover on this book, I just sat and stared into space for a bit. This book wore me out emotionally. Not that it's full of bad events in and of themselves, but it's so slowly and quietly told that the story builds without you really knowing it, until, at the end, you're left with sort of an 'oh my god' feeling. Other people I've spoken to have said the same sort of thing. It's not terribly depressing, so I recommend it, but it does sort of stop you in your tracks at the end.
This is my first Smiley book, so I don't know if all her stuff is like this, but I have a few more on the shelf, so we'll see.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The story was sensational, but the way the plot played out was accurate to a Midwestern woman's life. The beginning was mundate, the middle was choas, and the ending was bittersweet.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 67 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed reading this book. Very well written. It's about a farm family in America. Lots of surprises.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A journey into an awakening of self. The decisions Ginnie makes as she goes beyond her usual self-inflicted boundaries are both quiet and yet momentous! She shows us how a private life and history can't always stay hidden forever and with bravery she shows how she takes control and moves forward. It's both a little dark and yet a rich tale.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
haunting--that's all I can say--you can never forget this book! She deserved the Pulitzer
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The book is about the lives and loves of a farming family living in the midwest and takes place mostly in the 70's. Parts of it will make you laugh and some will make you want to cry--a very good book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked this book. I read it because my daughter goes to college in Iowa but enjoyed it for more than that connection.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Pullitzer prize winning author - this is another story about families. A thousand acres,a piece of land and the dramatic novel of an American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Jane Smilie is a talented and captivating writer. This novel, which sometimes parody's the tragedy of Shakespeare's King Lear, is also a wonderfully placed in the landscape of earthy Iowa.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Classic story of contemporary American life. Wealth, in a thousand acres of land cannot stay the hand of tragedy. A story of sisters, daughters, wives, and husbands, and the father. Set in the midwest, it explores the dual nature of every character. Pulitzer prize winner.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a story about a family who, on the surface are happy, safe and secure. As the story unfolds, the reader learns of the family secrets. These secrets have been hidden from not only the outside but also to family members. The family begins to unravel as a result.
Interesting story worth reading.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A story of contemporary American life. The losing of a mid-west farm and how it affects each family member differently. Moving story.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very sad, but a wonderful book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An intense, compelling story of a father and his daughters, of sisters, of wives and husbands, and their efforts to keep their family and land together. A powerful and haunting story.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a difficult one to review. I didn't love it, but the powerful, subtle writing haunted me. Worth reading.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fantastic story! Can't wait to read more from Jane Smiley!
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Jane Smile has set her rich, dramatic novel in the farmlands, featuring an American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy. It is the intense, compelling story of a father and his daughters, of sisters, wives and husbands and of the human cost of a lifetime spent trying to subdue the land and the passions it stirs.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My book club really enjoyed this book. The story is similar to King Lear. Jane Smiley is an excellent author.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good story about family and the complexities involving loyalty, land, and love.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great story - there's a movie based on it, but the book, as usual, is better. Shows how families can come together and break apart, too.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
MUCH better than the movie
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 964 more book reviews
This retelling of the Lear tragedy in mid-20th century America gets a lot of things right -- particularly the mindset of the American farmer during a period when family-based agriculture was struggling to survive. But some of the actions of the main character seem to spring from nowhere, and that makes it hard to buy into the reality Smiley is attempting to create.
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Extremely well written. Lots of King Lear references.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
Really great story that kept me reading. The plot was nothing like I had imagined and I
couldn't put the book down needing to know how it was all going to end.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 12 more book reviews
This was a real page turner. Within the confines of the King Lear story, Jane Smiley manages to draw us into an absorbing story of an Iowa farm family. We get insight into what it's like to live off of and depend on the land, to function within a tight-knit community that watches every move you make, and what makes those farmers of Northern European descent tick. The need to stick to the Lear story line, though, leads to some false notes towards the end of the story. Overall, a fantastic novel that will stay with me forever.
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Engrossing storytelling, compelling.
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I read another author's book and loved it and in an interview she said this was one of her favorite books. Well, I hated it. I didn't know how dark and depressing it would be. When I finished reading it I felt so weighed down and depressed. I snapped at my children and yelled at my husband and realized it was because I felt so irritated at the terrible choices the characters made and how awful they were to each other. I'm disgusted with what I read and I'm tempted to donate this book to my local library rather than wait for someone to request my copy.
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4-1/2 hrs. abridged.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 3 more book reviews
I always love to read the books over the movies, but I saw movie first. Very close to movie as I remebered, I enjoyed the book. Easy reading for those lazy days you want to escape and get caught up in a book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on
Read by Cathy Bates. Run time 4.5 hours
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 2 more book reviews
Really enjoyed this Pultizer winner!
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 8 more book reviews
A quick interesting read & never failed to "surprise" me at times!
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
Good depiction of what happens to survivors of sexual abuse. Very real depiction of farm behavior and attitudes.
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A great modern version of King Lear.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 22 more book reviews
This was a pleasant surprise. Liked the characters and would like to read more of Smiley's books.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
I couldn't get past the second or third chapter. I had a HARD time keeping the characters straight, and the book was waaaaay to "wordy" (used 5 adj where 1 or 2 would work). Couldn't keep my interest, sorry.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 243 more book reviews
Excellent book about family troubles, quick smooth read.
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This book was simply too much 'could be real life' for me to enjoy it. I think that there was too much detail given about the scenery and charaters, so you were reading paragraph long descriptions for something that could have been summed up in a few words. I also felt that the ending was a let down.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 47 more book reviews
This was a very sad book. From the aging father signing the rights to the farm to his daughters, to the inevitable loss of the farm altogether it seems as if one tragedy after another befalls the family. Untimely death, incest, adultery, lawsuits, accidents, attempted murder, you name it, page after page it happens.

Like all of Jane Smiley's works this book is very well written, and I enjoyed the experience of reading it, even if it was kind of like a train wreck. You don't want to look, but you just can't look away. If you're looking for something like "Moo" keep looking, this isn't even close, but if you're looking for a bittersweet, tragic read to remind you that "no matter how bad it seems, it could be worse", look no further.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 51 more book reviews
Jane Smiley is a master of prose!
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In my opinion, Jane Smiley's best book. Yes, it is a sad story, but the characters came alive for me as their lives spun out of control. If you like this book, read "Map of the World" by Hamilton.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 31 more book reviews
When I first started reading the first 40 or so pages of this book I kept asking myself "How did this book earn a Pulitzer?" There is much talk about farming so I wasn't that interested. The characters were slowly revealing themselves, then bam! My answer to why it was a National Best Seller and earned a Pulitzer was more than answered in those 371 pages. Page after page I never expected this story to evolve the way it did. This book reveals human nature in all it's beauty and ugliness.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 13 more book reviews
Very griping profile of a dysfunctional family. Saw the movie first and then read the book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 27 more book reviews
This is a book whose characters and writing stayed with me for years. I am just now able to give it up.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 41 more book reviews
Excellent book, an important rewrite of Shakespeare's King Lear, and a wonderful group discussion book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 73 more book reviews
Enloyed this modern-day King Lear type of story.
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A nice book this is a story bound and tethered to a lonely road in the midwest.a great american novel.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 28 more book reviews
Pulitzer Prize winning novel, loosely based on King Lear, set in the American Midwest; a story of love, jealousy,family dysfunction, greed, miserliness, and the amassing of a huge industrial farm and at least one plot.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 68 more book reviews
Quirky story.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 26 more book reviews
Dad is crazier as he ages, the sisters can't agree on what to do with the land they will inherit, and the husbands have to put their two cents in. Add a little extra marital fling, some death and away you go. One of the best Pulizers I have read.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 9 more book reviews
Powerful book; incredible study of family relationships, and so well written. I loved it. But so painful I'm not sure I'll read it again.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on
very sad
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 83 more book reviews
Smiley is such a wonderful writer, so inventive and so prefectly real. I loved this book.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 103 more book reviews
AN American family whose wealth cannot stay the hand of tragedy.National Bestseller,Winner of Pulitzer Prize,National Book Critics Circle Award
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 132 more book reviews
Had a difficult time getting into this book, but once I did, it held my interest. A story of people who farm & work hard on their lands. Of people & how their lives inter-mingled. Well written.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 23 more book reviews
This is a fantastic book. If you are familiar with King Lear it adds an extra layer of resonance, but the book doesn't depend on those shared plot elements. I really felt for the characters and was surprised and moved by their actions.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 7 more book reviews
Just a really beautiful novel, with characters I couldn't help loving, even though they're not the kinds of characters I usually love.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 8 more book reviews
Masterful storytelling. A great read.
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A wonderful story of two sisters and their father...sharing a dark secret.
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A family's story of what happens when land becomes the priority. Very good.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 6 more book reviews
wasn't this book made into a movie? i seem to remember this story line. the movie was good. different but good . . .
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 5 more book reviews
Smiley's first, best, and most moving!
reviewed A Thousand Acres on
A father in Iowa is proud and possessive about his farm. He surprisingly decides to retire and hand it over to his three daughters. The two eldest are eager to get it, but the youngest hesitates, and when she does, her father cuts her out. This is the King Lear story transposed to the present day. From the back cover: "...in doing so, [it] at once illuminates Shakespeare's original and subtly transforms it. This astonishing novel won both America's highest literary awards, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the National Book Critics' Circle Award."
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 69 more book reviews
A good Read/ Oprah book selection.
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Excellent story and movie about farming and family.
Very thought provoking.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 22 more book reviews
This was a great read! The characters were very real and you were brought in to the emotional upheaval.
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Fantastic!
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Verg good. A real work of art.
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This is a modern re-telling of Shakespeare's King Lear. An aging farmer offers his land to his three grown daughters; two daughters accept his offer but one rejects it. This sets in motion emotional events that impact the whole family. Interesting read, even if you don't like Shakespeare. There's no Shakespeare in it, but it follows the plot of his play, "King Lear."
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I'd give it a 6 out of 10. It was an interesting read, but I don't think it's Pulitzer Prize worthy.
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I like the twist on King Lear.
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Aging Larry Cook announces his intention to turn over his 1,000-acre farm--one of the largest in Zebulon County, Iowa--to his three daughters, Caroline, Ginny and Rose. A man of harsh sensibilities, he carves Caroline out of the deal because she has the nerve to be less than enthusiastic about her father's generosity. While Larry Cook deteriorates into a pathetic drunk, his daughters are left to cope with the often grim realities of life on a family farm--from battering husbands to cutthroat lenders. In this winner of the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Smiley captures the essence of such a life with stark, painful detail.
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From Publisher's Weekly:
A young American model is murdered in the corporate boardroom of Los Angeles's Nakomoto Tower on the new skyscraper's gala opening night. Murdered, that is, unless she was strangled while enjoying sadomasochistic sex that went too far. Nakomoto, a Japanese electronics giant, tries to hush up the embarrassing incident, setting in motion a murder investigation that serves Crichton ( Jurassic Park ) as the platform for a clever, tough-talking harangue on the dangers of Japanese economic competition and influence-peddling in the U.S. Divorced LAPD lieutenant Peter Smith, who has custody of his two-year-old daughter, and hard-boiled detective John Connor, who says things like "For a Japanese, consistent behavior is not possible," pursue the killer in a winding plot involving Japan's attempt to gain control of the U.S. computer industry. Although Crichton's didactic aims are often at cross-purposes with his storytelling, his entertaining, well-researched thriller cannot be easily dismissed as Japan-bashing because it raises important questions about that country's adversarial trade strategy and our inadequate response to it. He also provides a fascinating perspective on how he thinks the Japanese view Americans--as illiterate, childish, lazy people obsessed with TV, violence and aggressive litigation. 225,000 first printing; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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When Larry Cook, the aging patriarch of a rich, thriving farm in Iowa, decides to retire, he offers his land to his three daughters. For Ginny and Rose, who live on the farm with their husbands, the gift makes sense - a reward for years of hard work, a challenge to make the farm even more successful. But the youngest, Caroline, a Des Moines lawyer, flatly rejects the idea, and in anger her father cuts her out - setting off an explosive series of events that will leave none of them unchanged. A classic story of contemporary American life, A Thousand Acres strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a father, a daughter, a family.
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A classic story of contempory American life,A Thosand Acres strikes at the heart of what it means to be a father, a daughter, and a family.
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Larry Cook, an aging patriarch of a thriving farm in Iowa, decides to retire- he offers his land to his three daughters. But the youngest rejects his offer, and her angry father cuts her out.
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When the aging patriach of a rich, thriving farm in Iowa decides to retire, he offers his land to his three daughters. For Ginny and Rose, who live on the farm with their husbands, the gift makes sense-a reward for years of hard work, a challenge to make the farm even more successful. but the youngest, Caroline, a Des Moines lawyer, flatly rejects the idea, and in anger her father cuts her out-setting off an explosive series of events that will leave none of them unchanged
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Winner of Pulitzer Prize, NY Times bestseller
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Aging Larry Cook decides to turn over his 1000 acre Iowa farm to his three daughters, Caroline, Ginny and Rose. When Caroline is less than enthusiastic about the prospect, Larry angrily cuts her out of the deal. This sets off a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, reminiscent of King Lear, and pits father against daughter, sister against sister. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. It was also produced (1997?) as a major motion picture featuring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Colin Firth.
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When an aging patriarch of a rich thriving farm in Iowa decides to retire, he offers the land to his three daughters. For Ginny and Rose, who live on the farm with their husbands, the gift makes sense-a reward for years of hard work, a challenge to make the farm more successful. The youngest,Caroline, a Des Moines lawyer, reject the idea and her dad cuts her out-setting off an explosive series of events that will leave none of them unchanged.
reviewed A Thousand Acres on + 14 more book reviews
When the aging patriarch of a rich, thriving farm in Iowa decides to retire, he offers his land to his three daughters. For Ginny and Rose, who live on the farm with their husbands, the gift makes sense-a reward for years of hard work., a callenge to make the farm even more successful. But the youngest, Caroline, a Des Moines lawyer, flatly rejects the idea, and in anger her father cuts her out-setting off an explosive series of events that will leave none of them unchanged.
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The cover on my book is different than this one, but it's the same book. I really enjoyed it!
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same book, different cover
reviewed A Thousand Acres on
didnt read it