Julia A. (New York, NY)
More enjoyable than expected
I enjoyed this book a lot more once I stopped trying to see the parallels with The Great Gatsby. I'm quite sorry the publisher chose to promote it that way. No One is Coming to Save Us stands alone as the engrossing story of a family beset by the problems that so many families face: failed relationships; death of a family member; a changing economy leaving some of them behind; infertility; unfulfilled expectations; and always wishing for just a bit more. For me, the character JJ (Jay) Ferguson was my least favorite. He's, of course, the "Gatsby" character. The women, especially Sylvia and Ava were much more resonant with me and made me keep reading to see what would happen to them next and how they would resolve their inner and external conflicts. So, forget the publisher's marketing ploy and enjoy the book as a family saga.
Molly K. (San Jose, CA)
One of the most beautifully written books I have come across in a long time. Special kudos for the conversations: realistic, interesting, and an amazing reflection of the characters' insights into themselves and others. The writing style and the conversations together make this story worth a 5.
Yet, somehow, the plot left me wanting more. No highs, mostly lows, with little growth in characters' behavior regarding each other and their place in life.
I liked the characters and would no doubt enjoy a conversation with each of them. I just wanted more story.
PS: I have never read Gatsby, so I can't comment about the similarities.
Marci G. (Sicklerville, NJ)
No One is Coming to Save Us
This book! I had so many things to do but I didn't want to stop reading. This is book of life for a African American community . New beginnings, endings, truth, lies and all that come between in one complicated mess. Well developed characters yearning for the joy and sorrows of the past and questioning the future.Jay coming back to his home town he builds a big house on the hill, a success story looking to save his first love Ava. Ava has desires of her own. Ava's mother, Sylvia who life has disappointed tries to keep life together. I am looking forward to Stephanie Powell Watts next book!
Diane H. (Leawood, KS)
I was sorry to reach the end of this book as I had become so involved in the lives of the characters.
"No One Is Coming To Save Us" is, in my opinion, a book that will be read and studied for years to come.
The themes of the book, failure, shame, grief, and disappointment, are highlighted in each of the characters.
On the one hand the reader sympathizes with the characters and , on the other hand, you find yourself hoping and cheering for them.
I was deeply touched by this book and look forward to reading more by this author.
Karna B. (Long Beach, CA)
No One Is Coming to Save Us
Using The Great Gatsby as her model for telling the story of black Americans in the mythical rural town of Pinewood, N.C., Watts has created a fascinating tale. Her sense of place is superb and you can almost smell the trees and see the house where Ava, one of the protagonists, lives. The characters come alive too and for me it was Sylvia, Ava's mother and the matriarch of the family, who stands out for her wonderful idiosyncrasies. Certainly a book that deserves to be read.
Darrell W. (Hillsboro, OR)
No One Is Coming to Save Us
Stephanie Powell Watts has written a warm and sensitive story about a segment of life in small town North Carolina. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. She delves into the hearts and minds of an extended family to expose their inner tensions, their success and/or failures at love and their search for a place to call home producing an absorbing story. However, some of the parts belie the strength of the book as a whole. Occasionally a paragraph will start on one topic and end far a field. She interrupts the rhythm of lovely prose with aside comments. Mini essays explain too much with over-burdened sentences. However,this slow moving narrative is artfully established is established in the last third of the story. I heartily recommend this book to book clubs as it is ripe for discussion.
Sylvia G. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Didn't save us
I had such a mixed experience with this book. After finishing the first three chapters, I put it down and read something else. When I went back to it, and the character of Sylvia was no longer the focus, the book became much better. There are brilliant individual sentences that stand out, but this books comparison to Gatsby is a real disservice. The characters seemed fuzzy and pretty much unlikeable in various ways. I think her writing has potential, maybe her next book will be great.