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A fussy sort of book that plods along. I really do not understand the rave reviews. It was difficult to care about the characters. And I agree that the ending was too tidy to digest.
Moved Forward but went nowhere
I truly felt the characters went nowhere which is where the plot went as well! We got the most taste of Fenno and even he seemed terribly repressed. I didn't understand the purpose of Tony and Fern at all, they were like parsley garnish on a plate! The rivalry between the siblings was at most a yawn fest and why not tell us if she gets pregnant or not more when it was happening!
Too many loose ends
This book was very slowwwww. What bothered me even more was that there were too many loose ends....nothing ever came full circle. The family has a lot of good story lines that could have been further developed. Instead, new people were introduced and we never got to "know" them. I was not impressed at all.
This is my favourite book of the year. The author created characters so compelling that I was completely engrossed in their lives; Glass's insight into human nature is impressive. The plotlines made it difficult to put the book down, and the richness of detail, description, and excellent writing style made it a joy to read.
I liked this book a lot. It's true, as others have noted, that it's slow and thoughtful. What impresses me so much about it is that the writer seems to really get into the heads of others. More than that, she portrays so well the assumptions, miscommunications and unspoken wonderings we probably all have about people that we are close to. It made me think of all the questions, all the resentments and all the gratitude I will never express to my mother, my brothers, my father. Put another way, it is amazing how close and how far apart we can be in our connections to the most important people in our lives. Another facet of the book that I really enjoyed was the complexity, intelligence and self-doubt of the the main characters. For example, the strong, silent father actually has a rich inner life, silly infactuations and, most of all, always feels that he is somehow out of the inner circle of those who know, are sure, of how life is to be lived. This book is definitely not for those who want action, a plot driven narrative. It is for those who might be enchanted by a walk through the forest, enchanted by the play of light and shadow, by the distance songs of birds and by all the memories of all the other walks in the forest.
I disliked the book for the "jumpy" way it was written. I thought at first, that it would be written about the father, then the three children. However, the way in which it revolved around Fenno, the least likable of all the characters, killed it for me. It was very hard to get through. The only reason I finished it, is because I had just joined a book club and didn't want to be the only one that hadn't finished the book. As it turned out, every single one of us (six total) absolutely detested the book!
I can't understand why it is so popular, either. I couldn't make it beyond the middle of the book, and I really, really tried! The book never kept my attention, although I tried and tried to make it to the end, I just couldn't. Bor----------ring. Very few books have turned me off to this extent.
I do not know why this book is so wildly popular. I struggled finishing it because I was BORED. I disliked Fenno right from the start. Whiny, cry-baby, drama queen. His own choices in life drove him away from his family, then he takes it out on them? WHAT? I stopped caring about him and his self-created dramas midway through the second part. The rest was excruciating. Stupid twist with Fern at the end too. Leaves a very "22-minute tidy & neat sitcom plot" feeling in your brain.
Her writing style reminds me of the type of writing you would find in romance novels. Flowery and vivid., but not in a good way. No one speaks like that. The jumping around time-wise made the book feel like it was a collection of material written and then put together without any thought to continuity. It's almost as if she wrote the entire novel in chronological order, then cut and paste pieces all over the place.
This book did not work for me, and I am amazed at the accolades it is receiving.