Reader reviews and comments on Plainsong, plus links to write your own review.

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by Kent Haruf

Plainsong by Kent Haruf X
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1999, 301 pages
    Aug 2000, 320 pages

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There are currently 26 reader reviews for Plainsong
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Taryn R. (01/17/11)

It's life
Incredible book. I don't see why so many people are rating it "1" out of 5. Yes, there are graphic scenes, but that is life. People can't seem to handle the virtuosic novel and all of the facts it gives. It is so simply written that it makes you wonder how such a simple life can exist: but then you realize; you live it.
DJ (08/16/10)

Good book
Okay, here's the thing. This book is called Plainsong. I think that there is a point to the whole thing with no quotations and minimal punctuation. This book was real, and it takes maturity to read it, which is why I'm glad it was an option for my high school's summer reading for incoming Juniors. There were a lot of sex and drugs, but that gave the book more reality than most. I'm sixteen and I enjoyed this book. There were some elements that I didn't love, like the awkward threesome situation with the red-headed boy and his girlfriend and other friend.. That was weird.. But I loved the part with Victoria. I wish the author explained more about Ike and Bobby's mother, and I didn't get why the old woman specifically told Ike and Bobby not to smoke but the author made a point that they did smoke.. Overall, I enjoyed this book, though, and I would recomend it.
Rachel (07/24/10)

How in the World Did This Trash Get Published
My younger sister had to read this book for a school assignment, so I decided to take a look at it. What a mistake, this book is a nightmare to read. Mr. Haruf does not seem to like quotations, or any form of punctuation for that matter. This book is filled with run-on paragraphs. The plot is non-existent and the characters are unlikeable and underdeveloped. The book is also filled with poorly written sex scenes and profanity, which came across as an attempt to hide the books lack of a developed plot. I can't fathom how this mindless drivel was nominated for an award, and I wonder how many people Mr. Haruf had to bribe to get this immature, disgusting piece of trash published.
Noel J. O'Neill (05/01/10)

A very smooth read....
In my travels I listen to many books on CD. Since I am in a couple's book club, I was really on the alert for a good conversational book that we all might enjoy. Finally after reading Plainsong, I knew this was the one I would pick. From my perspective, there isn't a wasted word in the story. This tale has all the themes that we all face, though in our urban complex lives, the issues aren't always so clear. Having grown up around Gregorian chant I can say I have a feel for the simple rhythm that this book generates. Well done by Haruf and I would recommend it to anyone with a desire for something a little deeper that speaks to the soul. A rich read!
Anony Mouse (09/05/09)

Approved Porn
NOT, by me. I did not like the book. I had to read it with my child as a school project. I can understand why the teacher who was later fired for sexually harassing a student chose this book. It was the Jerry Springer show in a book. [spoiler removed] It's been a while since I read it and what stands out in my memory was way too many words spent on describing the sun. Ya, I spelled that right. The big yellow sun that gives off heat. Words wasted on describing penis's which was unnecessary. One thing that did keep my interest was the 2 brothers whose parents split up but it had a uninteresting ending. I do not recommend it.
Bronwyn Davis (01/15/05)

I've been retired from teaching high school English for a few years now, but were I still teaching, I would seriously consider assigning Kent Haruf's "Plainsong" to my Junior and Senior classes. It has all of the elements of a true literary classic: memorable, well-drawn characters; vividly depicted setting; well-constructed plot; timeless themes; exceptional writing style. From reading the reviews posted here, it is obvious that more mature readers are better equipped to appreciate the subtleties of Haruf's skilfully crafted novel than are younger readers. However, I applaud the teachers who risked the all-too-predictable censure of unenlightened critics to expose their students to this wonderful work. Any student who makes an honest attempt to read this book will come away, as I am certain all readers do, uplifted by the acts of kindness, courage and generosity performed by the main characters. These more than compensate for the cruelty, small-mindedness, and selfishness of the lesser characters and leave the reader feeling that there is indeed hope for the human race.
Whit (05/27/04)

I too had to read this book for English class. The book to me and nearly everyone else in the entire school that was told to read it seemed to think it was an approved form of porn. I read a shocking part to me out loud to another girl in my reading group in the hallway in the school and I was stopped by an adult hall patroller and brought me into the office. When they found out that it was a book for class they first felt stupid then they left. There are also parts of this book that I know there is symbolism behind it, but made no since what-so-ever, including the entire story line about Ella, Bobby and Ike's mother. Haruf spoiled every story line by adding sex, drugs, drinking, smoking, or violence when most if not all of the plots would have made a bigger point to a group as a whole. We would have spent less time fighting and debating about the inappropriate content of a school novel, because that is what they are teaching us not to do, and more time devoting about the message behind the story which is blindsided by all of the horrid content that is a required read. How did this book be a National Book Award Finalist?
DJ (04/28/04)

Many people, including myself, read Plainsong in an English class. It turned out to be very controversial, and soon everyone in the town was either for the book, letting it be read in a public school, or against the book, finding it offensive. The book was then banned, by the school board, to be part of the school's curriculum.

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