Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL)
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
I felt this book was mediocre at best and would have put it down after 50 pages had I not been committed to reviewing it. The main characters did not engage me at all nor did the descriptions of Arcadia, the Utopian community in NY where Bit and his parents lived. The story jumped 10 years without explanation and I found that frustrating. I would not recommend this book to either of my book groups.
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Don't miss a visit to Arcadia
I began Arcadia with great anticipation, as I loved Monsters of Templeton. I was disappointed in the beginning. It was very lyrical, with some beautiful imagery and language, but fragmented and often murky. Then about 50 pages in, I became hooked and was turning down pages to mark absolutely gorgeous and wise writing. The best book I've received in the First Impressions program. Memorable, haunting, meaningful, this would be an outstanding book club selection. Filled with unique, flawed and fully realized characters, Arcadia travels in time from a hippie community to the future and is filled with great compassion and wisdom.
Language vs Story
The language in this book is absolutely lovely. Almost every line has a musical, poetic quality and the details and descriptions are both spot-on and unique. The problem, for me, was that I cared more about the writing than the characters and I didn't find the story/plot all that interesting or compelling.
Aprile G. (Florence, MA)
A mesmerizing trip
This book really grabbed and held me; it is deeply involving and lyrically written. Told by a single character over four stages of life (childhood, adolescence, maturity, and old age), this is an absorbing tale filled with memorable characters. The story charts the rise, fall, aftermath and return to Arcadia, both a real place (a hippie commune in NY state) and a sense of connection among those who lived there. I think I will remember and muse on this book for a long time.