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.
|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...Read Full Post »
|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...Read Full Post »
|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...Read Full Post »
|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.
Read Full Post »
|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...Read Full Post »
|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...Read Full Post »
|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 to hew to: It’s sometimes rambling, it has no linear plot, itR...Read Full Post »
|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...Read Full Post »
|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.
|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...Read Full Post »