Mimi Jones Hedwig

Writer, Editor, Animal Advocate

Book review blog

I have often thought that if over-reading were ever identified as a pathology, I would have to class myself among the most afflicted. I'm reading all the time - newspapers, ebooks on my Kindle or iPhone, audiobooks while driving, hiking, cleaning, cooking or knitting, and, still, print books which remain my favorite. I have recently discovered the world of podcasts and look forward to exploring that medium. 


Writing reviews of what I read or listen to helps me sort out my thoughts and absorb what each work has to teach me, as a writer and as a human being. I'm with Pliny the Younger, who said, “No book is so bad that something good cannot be got out of it." 


I hope you'll enjoy my reflections on current and classic books. If you want to let me know your own thoughts, please use the "Contact" tab to send me a message.   

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The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Posted by mhedwig on November 15, 2017 at 2:30 PM

3 stars for apparent depth of research and vivid writing, but I bailed on this soon after beginning Part II. The brutality, the lack of heart sickened me, especially in the light of recent evidence that this culture wants to blow ours off the face of the earth.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Posted by mhedwig on November 15, 2017 at 2:25 PM

I came away from Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach respecting the author's diligent research into women divers during WW II and what it's like to survive at sea after a shipwreck, and I always find much to admire in Egan's writing. But the book's plot lines--the stories of the 3 major characters and how they intertwine over decades --did not cohere for me into a satisfying whole.


None of the characters came fully to life. They all seemed like vehicles to show the variou...

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Lincoln in the Bardo - by George Saunders

Posted by mhedwig on August 10, 2017 at 9:25 AM

From Wikipedia: "Used loosely, 'bardo' is the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that a...

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"Girls" in Danger -- A Roundup

Posted by mhedwig on August 7, 2017 at 2:15 PM

My late mother’s reading tastes were very specific: “I like any book with a picture on the cover of a woman running away from a castle.”


I inherited this predilection for spooky, Gothic, or suspenseful stories about heroines in danger. My favorite of all time is Dracula, with its innocent paragon of virtuous woma...

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RESCUING PENNY JANE: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes, by Amy Sutherland

Posted by mhedwig on August 7, 2017 at 1:10 PM

This review is reprinted from my blog, aheartforshelterdogs.com:


When writer Amy Sutherland and her husband, Scott, adopted Bumble Bee, an extremely fearful young dog, from a Maine shelter, they thought that their love would heal her. They also thought that they knew a lot about dogs; each had had dogs individually, and together they had raised their genial Australian shepherd. In addition, Amy was a devoted and experienced volunteer dog walker at the shelter where Bumble Be...

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Anything is Possible, and My Name is Lucy Barton - by Elizabeth Strout

Posted by mhedwig on August 6, 2017 at 8:00 PM

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE is brilliant, but it is not a novel, though some reviews and ads have represented it as such. It is, in fact,  interconnected short stories or novellas, most centering on the same small Illinois town and its inhabitants (with one far-fetched digression into the story of a tangential character, Annie Appleby). Each story is discrete, each with its own arc and its own  resolution. There is no through-line of plot; only the character of Lucy Barton, former outcast ...

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - a novel by Arundhati Roy

Posted by mhedwig on August 6, 2017 at 7:20 PM

Audiobook: Not recommended; too many characters with exotic names, and too complex a chronology to absorb from listening

Print book:  Highly recommended. A masterwork that repays close attention


Where to begin to detail my intense reactions to Arundhati Roy’s first novel in the twenty-odd years since her prizewinning THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS? Where to start trying to summarize its complex story?


I’ll begin by saying that ...

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S-Town

Posted by mhedwig on July 3, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Highly recommended. Not for the squeamish. Spoiler alert.  S-Town is short for "Shit Town," which is how John B McLemore describes his small Alabama hometown (otherwise known as Woodstock)  to Brian Reed, a radio serial producer. John B, as everyone calls him, is trying to get Brian and crew to come down and investigate a murder, freely confessed to and even bragged about by the murderer, who has never been charged with the crime. 


...
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Mormama - a novel by Kit Reed

Posted by mhedwig on July 3, 2017 at 2:50 PM

Not recommended.  I was drawn to this because of my lifelong love of ghost stories, but  you could say this one left me...dispirited. 


A decrepit old mansion in Jacksonville Florida holds 6 lives, and one spirit, captive. Three of the occupants are elderly sisters, children of the house's original owner, a greedy, loveless woman called "little Manette." The other three inhabitants are, more or less, drifters: Lane Hale and her son Theo, who are actually...

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Grief Cottage - a novel by Gail Godwin

Posted by mhedwig on June 17, 2017 at 3:40 PM

Recommended. A ghost story, a family story with a mystery at its heart, a testimony to the redeeming power of nature, art and friendship. I enjoyed this more than any other Gail Godwin book I've ever read. 


Its young hero is 11-year-old Marcus Harshaw, recently orphaned. His hardworking single mother -- a furniture factory worker in North Carolina -- went out for pizza for the two of them one night and was killed in a car cras...

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