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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Holidays from Hell

Posted by mhedwig on June 18, 2020 at 2:45 PM

For lovers of stories about celebratory getaways gone fatally wrong, here are two books that may even make the reader see the upside of staying safe at home as we wait out the COVID 19 pandemic. 


The Return by Rachel Harrison is great fun, a praiseworthy debut in the grossout horror genre. Suspenseful and atmospheric. Four twenty-something friends whose post-college lives have taken them far apart from one another reunite in a quirky Catskill Mountain spa hotel. ...

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AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins

Posted by mhedwig on March 13, 2020 at 6:15 PM

I have followed the controversy over the author's "right" to write about Latinx migrants, the accusations of "cultural appropriation" hurled at her. I suspect that many of the protesters have not read the book. If they had, they could not have failed to find three-dimensional characters rendered with deep respect and sympathy, full humanity, and a level of detail that shows the author's earnest attempt to make every aspect of her story accurate.

 

The story itself is gripping...

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GIRL by Edna O'Brien

Posted by mhedwig on January 8, 2020 at 2:25 PM

Like her brilliant The Little Red Chairs, Edna O’Brien’s Girl tells the searing story of a young woman victimized by the political violence of men. In this case the setting is Nigeria, where Maryam is a schoolgirl captured and held prisoner for years by Boko Haram..

 

She becomes the “bush wife” of one of her captors, who is unexpectedly gentle; he dies, she bears his child, a little girl whom she calls only Babby and struggles to love wi...

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A BETTER MAN by Louise Penny (#15 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series)

Posted by mhedwig on September 8, 2019 at 5:20 PM

A Better Man sadly continues, in my humble opinion, the decline in quality of Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines series. I listened to the first eleven or so; maybe the problem with sentence fragments that bugged me so much in this book existed in the earlier books but it didn’t come across in the Audible narration:   “He saw her face as she fell, backward. Off the bridge. Arms pinwheeling. And then the splash.”


"And i...

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WHAT THE EYES DON'T SEE by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Posted by mhedwig on August 12, 2019 at 2:35 PM

A science story as accessible, fascinating and important as The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.


Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was a pediatrician and head of the residency program at Hurley hospital, a public hospital in Flint, MI, in 2015, when rumors and complaints of problems with the city’s water supply began to surface. She reassured her young patients’ parents that the local health officials had told her the Flint water was perfectly safe.


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ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman

Posted by mhedwig on August 12, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Thirty year old Eleanor Oliphant, living alone and working as a finance clerk in Glasgow, is at first an infuriating prig, judgmental, superior, utterly oblivious to her off-putting effect on other people. A good-hearted IT guy from her office persists in trying to draw her out, and because of his efforts she begins to develop interpersonal relationships for the first time in her life. But she remains lonely and deeply hopeless. Weekly phone calls from her emotionally abusive mother continual...

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AN ANONYMOUS GIRL by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Posted by mhedwig on August 12, 2019 at 2:10 PM

A diverting entry in the "Women in Peril" category that is my main literary indulgence and weakness. 


Kept me listening ( Audible version), but the opportunistic, morally compassless Jess and the monstrously manipulative Dr Shields were two characters who deserved each other. The plot is as twisty as a mountain road with some unbelievable coincidences (the good Samaritan guy outside the Met) and some needless kinks ( the woman boutique owner), but I hung on for the ride...

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THE FRIEND by Sigrid Nunez

Posted by mhedwig on August 12, 2019 at 2:05 PM





This review is reprinted from my animal advocacy blog, aheartforshelterdogs.com

Sigrid Nunez’s novel The Friend won the National Book Award for fiction in 2018, despite breaking nearly every rule that fiction writers today are advised ...

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EDUCATED by Tara Westover

Posted by mhedwig on July 21, 2018 at 10:50 AM

A stunning memoir of a young girl growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in rural Idaho. Tara Westover's father at first makes his living by running a junkyard, using his children as laborers in the dangerous business of processing scrap. There are frequent terrible injuries. Mother is a midwife and amateur herbalist, concocting salves and essential oils in her kitchen, making the house always smell like rotting fruits and vegetables. Whenever one of her children, or her husband, is brough...

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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.


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