Bronze Anthology Book Review Varina by Charles Frazier (Historical Fiction 2018) ISBN: 9780062405982 Overview From the author of “Cold Mountain,” comes a historical fiction novel about Jefferson Davis’ wife, Varina. This book is similarly set during the Civil War, as Varina is the wife of …
Bronze Anthology Book Review Circe by Madeline Miller (Fiction 2018) ISBN: 9780316556347 Overview For anyone that read “The Odyssey” in high school, this story is like taking a trip down memory lane. Unlike “The Odyssey,” it is a novel, but along Circe’s journey, many of …
The quote on the cover by Joyce Carol Oates, regarding Donna Tartt and Gillian Flynn, could not be more accurate – it is ‘The Secret History’ meets ‘Gone Girl.’ It is frustrating and unnerving, but only because the story grabs you and does not let go.
In Three Words
The writing is descriptive and clear, like Donna Tartt and Gillian Flynn. The story flips back and forth between the perspectives of the two main characters, Alice and Lucy, which enhances the foreboding and clandestine tone. It also flips between the present (1950’s in Tangier) and the past (a few years prior in Vermont). The back and forth between characters and times and places slowly reveals the pieces of the story and builds up to an unsettling ending, which for any good thriller book is ideal.
Our Bronze Star Rating
This is a fun read for anyone that enjoys a psychological thriller with a Casablanca feel; for example, it makes for a great addition to the poolside or while on vacation. It is not a good read for anyone who doesn’t have time to finish the story in a few days – it cannot be put down and picked up days later. Instead, set some time aside and become engrossed in the storyline. Overall, it is a four bronze star read; minus one star, because it is somewhat predictable, but again it is completely engrossing.
Bronze Anthology Book Review Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead (2018) ISBN: 9781501156601 Overview Mothers and daughters have relationships that change with age and time, which can oscillate between loving and fighting. ‘Laura and Emma’ covers the span of a relationship between a mother and …
Bronze Anthology Book Review Artemis by Andy Weir (2017) ISBN: 9780553448122 Overview If you were to live on the moon, where would you sleep? What would you eat? How would you earn money? How would you breath? What would life be like… up there? The …
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman (2017)
How do you respond when someone asks how you are doing? Do you say fine? Whether or not you are actually fine? That is Eleanor Oliphant. She is fine. She is really not fine – it is painfully clear that she is not fine – but that is the face she wants the world to see and the mirror to show. Hence, the following self-talk:
“I do exist, don’t I? It often feels as if I’m not here, that I’m a figment of my own imagination. There are days I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in the dandelion clock.”
“I have always taken great pride in managing my life alone. I’m a sole survivor – I’m Eleanor Oliphant. I don’t need anyone else – there’s no big hole in my life, no missing part of my own particular puzzle. I am a self-contained entity.”
How can someone feel both insecurely tethered and confidently grounded to reality? You can’t, which becomes abundantly evident as Eleanor Oliphant comes to see her true self.
In Three Words
It is not until half way through the book that you begin to connect with the main character. At which point, it is debatable whether the connection is because of the amount of time spent with her or a genuine understanding of her. To elaborate, she has several rants that are relatable, like the overall decline in communication (e.g. the use of acronyms like LOL and OMG), but there are even more situations that are painful, like her social ineptitude (e.g. gifting a playboy or a used bottle of vodka). Clearly the author developed a unique main character, but it requires a dedicated effort to appreciate that uniqueness.
Several positive messages emerged at the end of the book, such as facing the past and appreciating the present, but those messages are both fleeting and predictable. The majority of the book is spent on Eleanor’s whack-a-doo behavior and it is mildly alarming when, at about the halfway point, her behavior begins to make sense.
Our Bronze Star Rating
It is a good read for anyone that has felt isolated or misunderstood. It is not a good read for anyone that is disinclined to be patient with a fictional character. Overall, it is a three bronze star read; minus a star because it is not a book I would re-read given the predictable ending and minus a second star because of the struggle to connect with the main character.