The Help: Kathrynn Stockett

So I’m like the zillionth person to recommend this book, but it’s true what they say. It’s a great book. It will make you cringe and shudder when you realize what black people went through just 50 years ago. It’s crazy and insane to think this was “normal”. So incredibly sad. But I think it’s a must read for people and it’s a great story. It flips between 4 people’s points of view and I must say, it’s fantastic. You need to read it! I haven’t seen the movie yet as it hasn’t come out here in Belgium yet, but I’m planning on it.

Anyways 5 stars and recommend it!

Summary:
In writing about such a troubled time in American history, Southern-born Stockett takes a big risk, one that paid off enormously. Critics praised Stockett’s skillful depiction of the ironies and hypocrisies that defined an era, without resorting to depressing or controversial clich√©s. Rather, Stockett focuses on the fascinating and complex relationships between vastly different members of a household. Additionally, reviewers loved (and loathed) Stockett’s three-dimensional characters—and cheered and hissed their favorites to the end. Several critics questioned Stockett’s decision to use a heavy dialect solely for the black characters. Overall, however, The Help is a compassionate, original story, as well as an excellent choice for book groups. 

Paperback: 544 pages Publisher: Berkley Trade; Mti Rei edition (June 28, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 0425245136

The Knitting Circle: Ann Hood

I read this book because I was going to join in on a book club while I was in Texas. This didn’t happen, but I still read the book.

Sheesh, it was sad! It was one of those books where you really delved into the characters and the overall sadness they were experiencing. Each person involved in the knitting circle has a deep tragedy they are dealing with and knitting helps them get through it somehow. Or really, having each other to lean on does.

Anyways, it’s a good book though pretty sad and dark at times. I’m still glad I read it and I recommend it with 4 stars.

Summary:
While mourning the death of her daughter, Hood (An Ornithologist’s Guide to Life) learned to knit. In her comeback novel, Mary Baxter, living in Hood’s own Providence, R.I., loses her five-year-old daughter to meningitis. Mary and her husband, Dylan, struggle to preserve their marriage, but the memories are too painful, and the healing too difficult. Mary can’t focus on her job as a writer for a local newspaper, and she bitterly resents her emotionally and geographically distant mother, who relocated to Mexico years earlier. Still, it’s at her mother’s urging that Mary joins a knitting circle and discovers that knitting soothes without distracting. The structure of the story quickly becomes obvious: each knitter has a tragedy that she’ll reveal to Mary, and if there’s pleasure to be had in reading a novel about grief, it’s in guessing what each woman’s misfortune is and in what order it will be exposed. The strength of the writing is in the painfully realistic portrayal of the stages of mourning, and though there’s a lot of knitting, both actual and metaphorical, the terminology’s simple enough for nonknitters to follow and doesn’t distract from the quick pace of the narrative.

Paperback: 352 pages Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st Norton Pbk. Ed edition (January 17, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 0393330443

Water For Elephants: Sara Gruen

So I need to be honest. I have a huge crush on Robert Pattinson (as any good Twilight Girl does) and when I saw that he was going to be in a new movie with Reese Witherspoon called Water for Elephants AND I found out it was a best selling novel, well I just had to read it.

Now this book was very interesting and I felt it was a great read.

HOWEVER, definitely not suitable for young readers. It’s quite naughty in many parts, but I thought the entire story and all the back information on circus life in the 1930’s was SO interesting!

I definitely recommend it TO ADULTS and give it 4 stars.

Amazon Summary:
With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen’s romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[…] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show’s star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena’s husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story’s ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book.

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (April 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565125606

Her Daughter’s Dream: Francine Rivers

This was my first forray back into reading and I must say, it was the BEST idea ever! 🙂 Thanks to Kimber who kept encouraging me to read it with her, even though I was a little afraid that it would still make me sick.

So anyways, I was so, so, so, pleased with the conclusion of this duet. Her Mother’s Hope was such a great book, and so I was really excited about this one. And I must say that I was blown away by the intensity of emotions. I have a great relationship with my mother, yet I still was wrapped into this story like it was my own life.

I think this is such a wonderful book about healing relationships and how the way you say things can be received in a totally different way and how entire lives can be affected because of the power of words.

SUCH a great book and you need to read it STAT!

5 stars and totally recommend it.

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414334095

The Handmaid’s Tale: Margaret Atwood

Now this was an interesting book.

It’s all about what would happen if the extreme, religious right took over the country and for the “woman’s own good” began to strip away her rights to where within 10 years or so we were basically back in the Puritan era.
But then mix it up with the fact that because of all the pesticides, nuclear power plant explosions, etc the majority of Americans can’t conceive and 3 out of 4 babies are born with abnormalities, it’s just does not bode well for women.

This is a story, sort of like an oral diary, of a “Handmaid” which is just a nice way of saying birthing slave.
Also her personal tragedy is just heart breaking. I totally mourned for the loss of her life and her loves.

I enjoyed the book, although it has some mature content in it.

It was the kind of book that really got you thinking.

recommend it.

Summary:
In a startling departure from her previous novels ( Lady Oracle , Surfacing ), respected Canadian poet and novelist Atwood presents here a fable of the near future. In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist’s nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the “morally fit” Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: “of Fred”), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman’s Library (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307264602