Michelle (Orlando FL)
Amy Shearn has a knack for description. As I read How Far is the Ocean from Here, I could feel the heat coming off the desert pavement and could easily visualize the quirky cast. However, as much as I wanted to embrace the characters, I couldnt find any reason to particularly like them. Susannahs choices seemed selfish, and I never really found it in me to root for her. Despite my neutral opinion of the characters, the faster pace of the latter half of the book compelled me to continue reading.
Even though Shearn's way with words is engaging, I never felt the emotional connection to the characters that I crave in books. Therefore, I can only give the novel 3 stars.
Joan (Ellicott City MD)
A fun read
This was a fun read. The book included the humor of the movie Little Miss Sunshine. I could really picture the desert and the people on the big screen. Then there was the pathos of a collection of dysfunctional but likable characters. I could commiserate with Susannah's conflicted feelings about surrogateship and the people she could effect with her behavior. The most interesting part was the relationships developed between this divergent group of strangers.
I hope that my book club will choose this book. We are a collection of teachers, counselors, and parents of special needs children. We might need sleeping bags before we can finish relating all of our thoughts and opinions. I just could not give that fifth star because it was not one of the BEST books I have ever read.
Barbara (West Valley City UT)
How Far is the Ocean from Here
I thought the book was good. A little hard to follow at times. The ending was disappointing. The Author seemed to be in a hurry to finish the book.
Susan (Twain Harte CA)
Perception vs. Reality
I loved this book! This is a tale of ambivalence. What makes one a mother? What is "normal"? Who am I? Susannah, Julian, Frankie, Kim, Dicey, and Tim all deal with how they are perceived with others and how they experience themselves. The setting is remarkably described; I felt I was truly in the desert with them. This will make a great film.
Jinny (Fremont CA)
What were you thinking?
I would recommend watching out for future works by this author, but I can only halfheartedly recommend this book.
The author's use of language is poetic and compelling, especially regarding a sense of place. However, I never really felt like we got to know the runaway surrogate mother, Susannah, even though we tagged along with her halfway across the country. The tension of wondering what she was thinking kept me from losing myself in her misadventures.
I also had a sense that, as John Irving sometimes does, the author tried to pack too many quirky characters into one place. I will still watch for Amy Shearn's next work.
Debi (Charleston SC)
How Far is the Ocean from Here by Amy Shearn
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Not only did it introduce me to eight uniquely, different people, but it also made me realize how our decisions, thoughts and actions can impact the lives of the people around us. I liked the way Ms. Shearn was able to make me feel like I was right there, with everyone, instead of reading a book about them. I also agree that this book would make an excellent book club selection.
Sandra (Delray Beach FL)
In My Humble Opinion....
This is the first book about surrogate motherhood that I have ever read. How Far Is the Ocean from Here is very well written and thought provoking. The author captured, for me, the real feeling of the desert and the feeling of isolation within Susannah. I enjoyed this book very much although I was frustrated and sympathetic at the same time (confusing for me!) with most of the characters! It would make for a great book club discussion.