US of Books~ Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

 

 

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The United States of Books the State of North Dakota

Reviewer ~ Teri at Sportochick’s Musings


Love Medicine
by Louise Erdrich
 
 
~ Synopsis ~
The first of Louise Erdrich’s polysymphonic novels set in North Dakota — a fictional landscape that, in Erdrich’s hands, has become iconic — Love Medicine is the story of three generations of Ojibwe families. Set against the tumultuous politics of the reservation, the lives of the Kashpaws and the Lamartines are a testament to the endurance of a people and the sorrows of history.
 
~ 4 ⭐️ Review ~
Wow is all I can say because I was not expecting this to be such a good read. Having chosen to read this because I am part Cherokee and into anything that is about Native Americans, I found it filled with tradition and expansive descriptions.
 
In the beginning there was a point where I got confused with all the people in this book. Thankfully the author did a supreme job of keeping the reader clear in each storyline as the book wove through generations of these families lives with a family tree included in the book. 
 
As in all families there are twists and turns to the stories and the crossing of family lines creating great drama in each short story. What is obvious to this reader is the great care the writer takes in explaining with compassion and non-judgement the cause and effects of each characters actions through three generations. I never felt like judging their lives or criticizing their life decisions.
 
Reading this was powerful and filled me with many emotions and at the end of the book I can’t explain why but I want to cry and as I prepare this review I still feel like crying.
 
I give it 4 STARS and recommend you give it a read.
 
 
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US of Books~ A Death in the Family by James Agee~Tennessee

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A Death in the Family by James Agee

Synopsis from goodreads

Published in 1957, two years after its author’s death at the age of forty-five, A Death in the Family remains a near-perfect work of art, an autobiographical novel that contains one of the most evocative depictions of loss and grief ever written. As Jay Follet hurries back to his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, he is killed in a car accident–a tragedy that destroys not only a life but also the domestic happiness and contentment of a young family. A novel of great courage, lyric force, and powerful emotion, A Death in the Family is a masterpiece of American literature.

Review

This autobiography was hard to put down. It was well-written, gripping, and so sad. Even though this was a tragic story, it was so compelling, loving, and very relate-able to others. However, because this is a very sad and depressing book, it is important (I think) to take breaks and read this at a pace because this book is very emotional and full of anguish, it is easy to internalize the words inwards. The writing was sovereign and somber.

Yes, this is a good read, however, it is a depressing read.

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United States of Books-House Made of Dawn-New Mexico

 

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House Made of Dawn

by N. Scott Momaday

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of a proud stranger in his native land.

He was a young American Indian named Abel, and he lived in two worlds. One was that of his father, wedding him to the rhythm of the seasons, the harsh beauty of the land, the ecstasy of the drug called peyote. The other was the world of the twentieth century, goading him into a compulsive cycle of sexual exploits, dissipation, and disgust. Home from a foreign war, he was a man being torn apart, a man descending into hell.

Review:

This was a new kind of read for me. It was different. I’m still sort of reeling from the book. This book felt very political for me. Which I wasn’t expecting with in turn left a bitter taste in my mouth because then it felt that the author had an agenda that he wasn’t willing to divulge to his readers.

I wanted to enjoy the book, but it seemed mundane and wordy to me. I hope to read this again soon, and hopefully get a better feel, a deeper sense of what the author was trying to convey.

I did find it well written (minus the wordy-ness) and poetic, and even though this can be read in one sitting, I would recommend reading this more than once to better understand the contents, the quotes, the characters, and their relationships.

I do recommend this book.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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US of Books-Spartina by John Casey-Rhode Island

 

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This week takes us to Rhode Island with Spartina by John Casey.

Entertainment Weekly says – Dick Pierce works in Narragansett Bay, but his true passion is is the unfinished boat in his backyard. The tale may be standard, but Casey’s lyrical descriptions of the Rhode Island sea are anything but.

“If Rhode Island were a country, it would be part of the Third World. The largest employer is the military. Tourism is the major moneymaker, although most Rhode Islanders benefit from it only in service positions. The bulk of choice real estate is in the form of second homes or resorts run by absentee corporations. “There is a seafaring tradition, and there is—still—a fishing fleet. By comparison to the high-tech factory ships of Russia, East or West Germany, Japan, or the tuna clippers of our own West Coast, the boats and methods are quaint. But it is still possible—barely possible—to wrest a living from the sea.”

Spartina is one of those books that should be a total winner. Poetic writing, vivid descriptions, a real world to sink into.

A blue heron wading in the marsh on her stilts, apparently out for a stroll—suddenly freezing. An imperceptible tilt of her head—her long neck cocking without moving. No, nothing this time. Wade, pose. Abruptly, a new picture—a fish bisected by her bisected beak. Widening ripples, but the heron, the pool, the marsh, the sky serene. The clouds slid across the light, the fish into the dark.

Unfortunately, the main character Dick Pierce was just an ass. He was at first a crusty older man and I was fine with that. He had very much of a him versus the world attitude and believed that anyone from money was to be looked down at. He ran some cons and did a few shady deals, but he did it to support his wife and children. Nothing wrong with that, he was doing his best to survive. Then the story took an turn and I lost all respect for good ol’ Dick. He began to match his name and started a torrid affair with a woman in the neighborhood. First, I hate when adultery is used as a plot point. I have no patience with it and hate reading about it. Second, he had absolutely no remorse about his actions. He did not care if he was going to hurt the woman he promised to cherish or his children. Other stuff happened that was interesting, but I could not move past my hatred of Dick to enjoy the story. In the end he sadly did not get the comeuppance he should have and Dick continued to be just that as he sailed off into the sunset.

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USofBooks-Rabbit, Run by John Updike~Pennsylvania

For more information on the United States of Books (click here for details).



The United States of Books the State of Pennsylvania


Rabbit, Run

by John Updike



Reviewer ~ Teri at Sportochick’s Musings

~ Synopsis ~
Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty—even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler’s edge.
 
~ Review ~
Throughout the book I kept hoping that Rabbit would find himself and become a man, husband, and father but he just kept getting more confused. It was apparent that this man couldn’t make up his mind about anything and that he would drift forever lost. Also what was abundantly clear was that he had no conscience. He just couldn’t figure out what was right and what was wrong nor would he take responsibly for his part in any of the events that lead to his babies death, his wives destructive life, his son’s feeling of loss or his mistresses pregnancy.
 
Reverend Eccles was the one of two redeeming characters in this book. He tried really hard to help Rabbit but in reality Rabbit starts to lead him astray no matter how hard he continually tries to help. Ruth, his mistress, well she was someone to be admired. She understood who Rabbit was, stood firm and strong about them ending their relationship with her taking care of the baby they would still have.
 
The book ended just as I thought. Rabbit is so confused. STILL! Bye bye Rabbit! Keep running away from life but realize you will never have one you love till you confront yourself.
 
I give this 1 star. I just disliked the main character, Rabbit, too much to find any value in this book.