Read advance reader review of The Poet's House by Jean Thompson

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The Poet's House

by Jean Thompson

The Poet's House by Jean Thompson X
The Poet's House by Jean Thompson
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2022, 320 pages

    Jul 4, 2023, 336 pages


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  • Elizabeth D. (Apple Valley, MN)
    The body is a house. Who lives within?
    I enjoyed this book enormously and believe the characters will stay with me for a long time. I think anyone who's ever felt uncertain about their role in their own life or questioned what the future held for themselves, or how to think about what it means to determine their own vision of a successful and meaningful life, will enjoy this book. There are many different examples of ways people life their lives as the main character tries to figure out what it means for her to be happy and fulfilled, and whether and how her expectations align with those of her boyfriend and family members. I think many readers will be able to relate to Carla's experience of growing and changing with the result of it causing friction in her preexisting relationships. Her discovery of a new passion, even as its one she has to really work at to understand and appreciate, made me want to find such a transformative experience in my own life.

    In addition to those who could relate to Carla's personal journey, I think the book will also appeal to those who are thoughtful about the value of the arts in our daily lives and who may or may not be familiar with the business side of the arts. I appreciated that the book (mostly) represented the act of writing poetry as taking work and that it could be done by different types of people, as opposed to a divine inspiration/genius stereotype, and likewise, that it could be appreciated/felt in the bones by different types of people.

    Finally, I liked a number of the poems in the book, which I assume were written by the author.

    Thank you to Algonquin Books and BookBrowse for the opportunity to read and review this delightful and thought provoking novel.
  • Melanie B. (Desoto, TX)
    Well-crafted and Entertaining Novel
    This book was unexpectedly funny, sad, artful and poetic. The warm-hearted telling of Carla's introduction to the business and art of poetry through Viridian's seasoned literary experience and wise philosophy of life was not only entertaining but also funny and a look at the less-than-perfect aspects of being vulnerable in uncertain times. This novel was much more than I expected and it was a very satisfying reading experience.
  • Maureen R. (Alamo, CA)
    Poetry and Prose: A Perfect Union
    The Poet's House by Jean Thompson is a charming coming of age story about Carla, who in her twenties, has not found a comfortable nor assured fit with her life. In the space of one summer, Carla is embraced by the famous poet, Viridian and her poet friends; and a new world of experience opens. Like poetry, this book has many layers and unfolds in poignant and beautiful ways. Like prose, there is a plot and even mysteries that keep you turning the page. The Poet's House is a perfect blend of these two genres. As a resident of the Bay Area, I found the setting in Marin and San Francisco spot on. I connected with and loved every character and found the writing excellent. I highly recommend this book. I was first grabbed by the note that lovers of Lily King would like this book, and I am not disappointed. I hope to read more of Jean Thompson.
  • Helia R. (Goodlettsville, TN)
    Another gem from a favorite author
    Reading a Jean Thompson novel is like catching up with a friend you've loved for decades because she is witty and kind and endlessly curious about the human condition. She's unbothered by fads and writerly pretenses, and after spending time with her books I always feel refreshed and more hopeful about the human race.

    The Poet's House follows a twenty-something landscaper with a reading disability who discovers the power poems can hold and is consequently smitten with an elderly poet and her eccentric entourage. Her (very nice) boyfriend is less than thrilled by this development.

    Readers who like reading about writing will gobble this novel up in no time (we get to attend a writers' conference! For free!)-- but so will anyone else who enjoys fine, honest fiction.
  • Cynthia V. (New York, NY)
    A Truly Lovely Work of Fiction
    I am a Jean Thompson fan and was very much looking forward to reading her latest. It did not disappoint. The Poet's House is a very warm and welcoming work of fiction. The main character, Carla is lovably flawed. She has been trying to find herself, floating through life in a sort of contented state. This may sound like a cliched premise, but, in Thompson's hands, it is most definitely handled in a lovely, thoughtful way. I found myself reading quite slowly; I was savoring the subtleties of the writing, which truly flows and is unself-conscious. There is wonderful character development and a story that is immediately immersive. It is about the world of established and striving poetry writers, full of atmosphere and humor. However, I believe that I would be hooked regardless of that specific world. This book is a treat!
  • Barbara S. (Gig Harbor, WA)
    An intriguing look into a poet's world
    The Poet's House is a good title to read if you enjoyed Lovers and Writers or Groundskeeping. It brings the reader into the world of writers, in this case poets. I had some difficulty relating to the main character, but then realized that her nonreading habit was basically due to dyslexia and the author did a very good job explaining how the character related to the written word because of this condition. There were many intriguing characters and relationships in the book which would bring forth some interesting discussion, making this title a good pick for book clubs.
  • Arden A. (Longboat Key, FL)
    Poetry for Non-Poets
    I wasn't sure I would like this book. I am not a poet, nor do I necessarily enjoy poetry, or understand where it comes from within any poet. But I was wrong. I loved this book. Maybe it was because the main character was a young woman who is the antithesis of a poet, yet somehow found herself embedded in the world of writers and poets and managed to stumble through it and endear herself within that world, ending up with a clearer understanding of herself and who she really is. The characters were quirky, as is befitting the literary world, I think, and lovable in their own way. And the story moved along smoothly. This is the first work I have read by this author, who has written a number of novels and short stories. I will likely pick up another of her novels.
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Beyond the Book:
  Novels About Poets

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