I loved this book. Told as an epistolary novel, this is the poignant story of one sister's attempt to cope with her sister's leukemia. Funny, hopeful and yes, sad, it looks at family, love and career and the stresses and struggles that accompany them. Peopled both with fictional and real life characters (Robin Williams, for example), this book appeals because of the author's grasp of life's small pleasures as much as its larger plights. Highly recommended.
Told entirely through letters, this is the story of two very strong, yet very different sisters, Olivia and Madeline, as they deal with Madeline's fight against leukemia. Olivia is a cynical Hollywood producer whose love for her family is often at odds with her high pressured job; Maddie is the younger, traditional midwestern optimist who stayed behind to marry her true love. Sounds corny as I write this, but it wasn't at all; it's a book that I absolutely loved. I stayed up until 1AM reading it, and then got up and read until I completed it. I loved all the characters and didn't want the story to end. It was funny and heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. One of my all time favorites.
love this book! story of sisters Olivia and Maddie...told from Olivia's perspective through letters to different people in her life...if you have a sister or even a close girl friend you should read this book...it's a wonderful read.
This is a compilation of "letters" written by Olivia Hunt to various people. The story itself is both funny (the movie bits) and touching (the sister/family bits) but I had trouble enjoying it because of the writing style.
There are some really great and accurate reviews for this book on the paperback link. This is the Mass market link. This book is written in letter form all the way through. I was hooked by letter 2. It bogged down some in the middle, but it picked back up towards the end. The letters vary from deep, to angry, to funny, to sad. Olivia is the only one writing the letters, you dont get any letters from others. The author knew how to make this work, so you didnt need a letter from the other characters. I wanted to add that the author wrote this book because her sister did die from Leukemia and she had a pile of letter from her sister. The author also really did work as a producer and movie exec in CA. So although this is a work of fiction, she drew her story from her real life experiences. I think you will find the connection between our main character trying to produce a movie based Don Quixote, and her sister being sick with Leukemia. The author note also state that our author is working on book 2, but I didnt find another book by her, and that is a disappointment.
Interesting book- story is told in the form of Olivia Hunt's correspondence as she tries to juggle supporting a sister with cancer, her sagging career as a film producer, and a failed romantic relationship.
Over the course of about 200 letters (and a few e-mails), Robinson succinctly shows the full range of Olivia's emotions and relationships, from the optimism she tries to instill in her shocked family to the admiration she holds for Maddie's spouse. She poignantly portrays the frustration of trying to sustain a relationship while engaged in a consuming profession. Edward Nawotka
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because the story is one that you will not soon forget. The writing style is a little different, as it is told through letters written by the main character to various other characters. It is a really good weekend read.
This book was fantastic! I don't have a sister but still could relate. The relationships and the pull Olivia felt between career and her sister's health were so real, you felt like you were there. I actually listened to this book on tape during one of my many work-related trips and was glad I did. Since then I have purchased the book and plan to read it as well. I definitely recommend this book to others. For sisters it is a must read but don't count this book out if you don't have a sister because you can still connect. Sisters thru friendship are equal to those of us without sisters by blood. Happy reading.
hickgal - reviewed The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters on
I listened to this one during my commute to and from work. I thought it was a perfect "car book". It's all written in the form of lettters, emails, and faxes written by the older Hunt sister, Olivia. The first letter is one written by child Olivia to her yet unborn sister, Madeline, and it goes from there. Throughout the course of the story, Olivia chronicles the woes of her job as a burgeoning Hollywood film producer, her screwed up love life, and Madeline's battle with cancer and how it affects the entire family.
I absolutely loved this book. It was the first time I paid full retail price for a book in a looong time, but it was so worth it. I'm only letting this copy go because I got a hardcover one at The Book Thing of Baltimore (www.bookthing.org).
"Olivia Hunt's Hollywood life has come to a grinding halt. A hotshot producer accustomed to first-class amenities, Olivia has just been unceremoniously fired after her last movie tanked. Her boyfriend, Michael, has dumped her. And she's not the blonde she used to be: dark roots are coming in at an alarming rate. Her next project is a well-crafted suicide note." "Then she finds out what real trouble is. Olivia's beloved sister, Maddie, is seriously ill. Maddie is living the life Olivia ran like hell from - she's happily married to her high school sweetheart and still living in the small town where they grew up. Stunned and bewildered, Olivia catches the next plane back home." Maddie's idealism and optimism have always driven Olivia crazy. Even now, when the odds aren't good, Maddie never doubts she'll beat them. But Olivia wonders, is hope just a way of kidding yourself? As if to answer that question, Maddie challenges Olivia to produce her dream film, the impossible-to-make Don Quixote. Olivia's life then becomes a tangle of movie sets, IV drips, and letters to Michael asking him what went wrong and if they might try again. When Maddie takes a turn for the worse, Olivia has to face the hardest choices life can offer. How can one person's heart so truly be in three places at once?
The best letters are the ones that tell you everything. Not just the big, important stuff, but the little details of life. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is a one-sided epistolary novel. We get to read all the letters written by Olivia Hunt, erstwhile film producer, over the year she learns her sister Maddie has cancer. Olivia scuttles between her hometown in Ohio, where Maddie still lives, and Los Angeles, where she's trying to get a film version of Don Quixote off the ground. Along the way, she writes newsy letters to her best friend Tina, crabby mash notes to her ex-boyfriend Michael, worried missives to her parents, breezy memos to (real-life) entertainment honchos, and cheery entertainments to Maddie herself. These epistles are crammed full of the asides and rambling descriptions that make for good letters, and good books. She writes, for instance, "I went down to the cafeteria. Judy, the cashier, told me her daughter passed the Bar exam, so that was nice to hear. She said I looked tired. I ate some iceberg lettuce with orange dressing in the empty cafeteria. And two chocolate chip cookies." It's not poetry, but the orange dressing and the chatty cashier go a long way toward capturing hospital life. It also helps that first-time author Elisabeth Robinson is a producer and screenwriter who worked on Braveheart (among others); she's just as detailed and knowing when she describes the seemingly Herculean task of producing a film. She includes gentle send-ups of Robin Williams and John Cleese, who star in the fictional picture, and terrifying glimpses of executive tantrums. (A Hollywood background has its downsides: the book occasionally strays into formula.) In the end, Robinson's hard work with all those details ultimately results in a believable, lovable heroine
From Publishers Weekly
Hollywood and leukemia are the two unlikely poles of this wrenching, tragicomic first novel by independent producer and screenwriter Robinson. Pouring out her troubles in epistolary form, 34-year-old Olivia Hunt, a struggling film producer, chronicles a year of dizzying highs and devastating lows. As the novel begins, she receives news that her younger sister, Madeline, recently married and happily settled in the sisters' Ohio hometown, has been diagnosed with leukemia. Olivia herself is at loose ends, trying to jump-start her career by putting together a big-budget production of Don Quixote. Impatient, ambitious and often caustic, Olivia is very different from her big-hearted, big-haired sister, and as she flies back and forth between California and Ohio, she reflects on the choices she has made in long, searching letters to friends and family. Though she and her ex-boyfriend Michael, a painter living in New Mexico, are still in love with each other, they are both too devoted to their careers to settle down together. Just as it seems things might be patched up between them, Don Quixote swings into high gear and Olivia heads off to film in Spain. Her Hollywood adventures are pitch-perfect and hilarious, with Robin Williams ("like a beaver in a sweatshirt and jeans") and Jerry Bruckheimer, among others, making cameos. No less impressive is Robinson's unsentimental chronicling of the progress of Maddie's illness and the alternately heroic and selfish reactions of those around her, including the sisters' mother, an anxious children's book writer, and their father, a retired attorney and alcoholic. Olivia's cynicism, compassion and loyalty come through as funny, real and inspiring, and the novel's epistolary format is smoothly employed. Moving but never maudlin, this is an accomplished debut.
"Hollywood and leukemia are the two unlikely poles of this wrenching, tragicomic first novel by independent producer and screenwriter Robinson. Pouring out her troubles in epistolary form, 34-year-old Olivia Hunt, a struggling film producer, chronicles a year of dizzying highs and devastating lows. As the novel begins, she receives news that her younger sister, Madeline, recently married and happily settled in the sisters' Ohio hometown, has been diagnosed with leukemia. Olivia herself is at loose ends, trying to jump-start her career by putting together a big-budget production of Don Quixote. Impatient, ambitious and often caustic, Olivia is very different from her big-hearted, big-haired sister, and as she flies back and forth between California and Ohio, she reflects on the choices she has made in long, searching letters to friends and family."---Publishers Weekly