Thursday, 10 February 2011


Author: Ann Patchett
Genre: Modern Fiction
Type: Kindle ebook
First Published: October 2009
First Line: "Bernadette had been dead two weeks when her sisters showed up in Doyle's living room asking for the statue back."

Synopsis: Bernadette and Bernard Doyle have one son and wanted to expand their family. After many years with no success they decide to adopt two African-American infant brothers. These boys are raised in a loving home but, sadly, Bernadette succumbs to cancer leaving Bernard to raise his three boys on his own. As the sons of Boston's mayor, the two brothers, Tip and Teddy, grow into great men with bright futures and opportunities while their older brother, Sullivan, struggles with his own future.

Their family bond hasn't been truly tested until one night a sudden accident occurs on a snowy Boston street. One of the boys, now of University age, is suddenly pushed out of the way of an oncoming SUV by a stranger who is then hit by the vehicle. This stranger, as the family finds out, is not just any stranger. Tennessee Moser has a link to this family that they could never imagine.

My Thoughts:
From the plot outline I thought that this book would be full of surprises, depth and emotion but sadly that wasn't the case. I found that I was forcing myself to finish it (which is never a good sign, is it?). I thought that with the issues raised in the book dealing with politics, race, class, adoption etc the storyline would be fast-paced but it fell flat practically from the start and never really took off. Many issues were touched on but never dealt with any depth which I found frustrating more than anything.

I think that the main problem was the characters. They were totally flat, boring and didn't bring much to the overall story. There were so many characters introduced into the book but the reader never really gets to feel connected with any of them. I was left wondering why certain characters (specifically the uncle/priest) was introduced at all.

Also, some of the characters were too unbelievable ... especially 11 year old Kenya. I have an 11 year old and I cannot see him delving into the deep thoughts and emotion that this young girl did. Plus I just didn't believe that an 11 year old child who had just witnessed her mother in a horrible, painful accident would be so composed ... even taking into account a period of shock. She never seemed to feel anything. Just too unbelievable. The only character that I really liked was the oldest son, Sullivan. I wanted to see some big change in his character ... but it never happened.

The storyline plodded along at an excruciatingly slow pace. The author kept baiting me with promises of some big 'ta-da' moment .... but it never happened. There was more time given to Tip's love of his research involving fish than to any one major issue in the book.

Overall, I don't recommend this book. It had such potential but didn't even come close to meeting it.

My Rating: 2/5 stars


Anonymous said...

Interesting to read your review of this, Laurie. I bought this as an audio book with the same expectations as you (I have a long commute to & from work and it feels like "wasted time" that I can't multi-task while driving!) and I ended up having the same reaction as you - I had to force myself to finish listening to it. It wasn't cheap so I was determined that I was going to see it through! It was my first try at an audio book and was so disappointing that I felt that it ruined my opinion on audio books! I thought that perhaps it was because it was in that format that it was bad, but after seeing what you said, I realize that isn't the case.
~Bonnie in Manitoba
PS Love your blog, glad you're back & feeling better!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Bonnie,
I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't love this book. It just felt really slow and didn't go anywhere.

As for audiobooks, I have listened to a few but only completed one audiobook (Anne of Green Gables, actually). I would download audiobooks on my iTouch and listen to them while I walked to pick up my kids from school. :) I think I'm a more visual person because I had to keep going back and listening to parts again and again. :( They are definitely expensive! I always downloaded them for free from our local library. Unfortunately the selection is not great.
I'm glad you like my blog. You cannot imagine how much I love to get feedback! It's hard to know how people feel about the work I put into the blog without comments. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I get a comment :)

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