The only other book I have read by Ms. Allende is "Daughter of Fortune" and while I didn't hate it, it wasn't one of my favorite books. I picked this one up because someone I know is one of the "characters". Note: This may have colored my reading and review of this book: (ya think?)
I have to say that the author writes beautifully. I didn't realize that the books are translated which might explain some of why her writing is alternately beautiful and clipped at times. For the most part, I am amazed and how well her writing flows. She is a truly gifted human being.
As for the story, I liked that she wrote it as one big letter to her dead daughter, Paula. I felt like she was telling me the juicy parts of her life at times. At other times, I felt like she was glossing over or not giving the whole story to spare me. In that sense, I felt it was a very personal memoir. Very intimate.
The author seems like a very nice lady, overall, perhaps a little overbearing though. I felt at times, she used her wealth and position to get what she wanted. I also felt she was a "hoverer" type of mother in law. BUT she seems to recognize this and changes what she can about herself. I was most impressed that her son actually told her to knock it off - not many sons would have the guts to tell their overbearing mothers to knock it off. *laugh*
It sounds like she is a very lucky lady indeed, not only has the gift of the pen, but has a wonderful husband and family. Now that I know about the translation thing, it makes me want to re-read Daughter of Fortune. Perhaps I missed something in it ;)
As for the portrayal of the person I know? I learned a few things about that person, but overall it doesn't change anything for me. If someone were to publish a book about me and my life, there are things I wouldn't want public knowledge and I'm sure the same is true here. At the end of the day, we can only judge people by who they are now. It does give me a little more insight into them, which is kind of cool actually to connect dots. I figure if they didn't want me to know, they wouldn't have told me to read the book, right? *laugh*
You know who you are - and I still love ya.