A great read for anyone interested in the psychology of gender and/or the politics of mental health treatment. Also thought-provoking if you are a parent or contemplating being one. An excellent read, written by a journalist who investigated a case where psychologists convinced parents to raise their boy (an identical twin) as a girl, after a botched circumcision.
This was a very thoroughly enjoyable book-- not fluff fiction, but a wonderful and easy read anyway. This book shares several themes with Tyler's more recent book, Digging to American-- including older women searching for love and companionship (subtheme: widowhood), the wackiness but comforting aspects of extended family, and stepchildren. The characters in this book are incredibly deep and often moving, including an elder who turns 100 (and has a vividly described party), a daughter obsessed with making gourmet food (she's a caterer) that most of her family would rather not eat (and her resentment around that), and a very creative but weird preteen boy. It's a book that you will want to keep reading until you find out what happens in the end-- but then you realize that the book's main value was about how it made you think about your own life and family.
The absolute best resource if you are interested in domestic violence and the legal system-- covers social science aspects and the broad variety of legal issues that often arise in domestic violence cases.
A sequel to her previous novel, this one was enjoyable largely because I liked the first one so much. This one is also very engaging, although it was much more dramatic because of the haunting that the main character obviously possesses from the death of her young son. Still a good read.
I really enjoyed reading this book-- I found the characters engaging, the plot mellow but interesting, and the setting of the book fascinating. The author's writing style is lovely and descriptive, and the dialog between characters very believable. Overall, the reading experience was like sinking into a good movie. I'm now reading the sequel and enjoying that as well.
Anne Lamott is a wonderful writer, and I have read and loved all her other books. This one suffers from incessant references to church, the bible, prayers, G-d's will, etc-- not that there's anything wrong with that, but they appear disconnected from the story. Perhaps this is an attempt to fit into the category of "Christian fiction"-- which, if you like that genre, you will probably like this book. If you check out the reviews of this book on Amazon you will see a total split among reviewers, where the Christian fiction readers love the book, and almost everyone else hates it.
Even though I experienced this novel as tedious and boring, I still wanted to finish it to see what happened next. The characters were interesting and enjoyable and some of the dialog, when it wasn't between people talking about Christian subjects, was not vapid and formulaic-- but witty and real, as Lamott's other books have been. In this book, it's like Lamott has developed a Christian form of Alzheimer's, and only flashes of herself as a talented writer appear throughout the book.
I found this book totally captivating, probably because it was written in the first person (at least I think this is the correct label-- as in the author was writing to the reader (and stating this directly). It follows the fine tradition of telling the story from several different viewpoints, and the story unfolds both quickly but also with exquisite anticipation, a hard line to follow.
This was a surprising read in many ways, with the focus on a group of college friends who reconnect in their early 50's, after having had very little contact except through a "circle" journal. In this journal, each of them lied about some important aspect of their lives to their others, and they "fess up" on a weekend trip back to their college town. Not the stereotypical "friendship" novel, but it shares common themes of friendship and being open and honest in relationships. Some surprising twists in each of the character's lives keeps it a fast and enjoyable read.