Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: We Were the Lucky Ones

We Were the Lucky Ones We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the invasion of Poland by the Germans at the onset of WWII, the Kurc family was forcibly scattered, abused, detained and imprisoned across Europe and Asia because they were Jewish. For the entirety of the war, most family members don't know the others whereabouts or whether they are dead or alive.

This was an epic family drama. Author Georgia Hunter vividly tells her family's history during the war. However, the written narrative didn't always excel at telling what was truly a remarkable story. The timeline was often confusing, as well as keeping track of each individual family member and where they were at any given point in time. One of my biggest literary peeves was the use of rhetorical questions, "Were they alive?" "Where are they?" "Would I ever see them again?" were repeated over and over again...

Initially I was only going to give this book 3 star rating -- but the ending was such that I gave it the benefit of the doubt based on the truly miraculous nature of the author's ancestry.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On New Year's Eve 1984, Lillian Boxfish decides to walk her Manhattan neighborhood and reminisce about her long life (she's now 84 or 85 depending on what date she's willing to claim). What transpires is a glorious narrative of accomplishments, family, friendships, travel, regrets, unhappiness -- everything you'd find in a life well lived.

I loved this book. I loved the writing - full of wit, repartee, reflection, emotion -- I would reread passages because they were so beautiful. I was so caught up in Lillian's life and her experiences that I felt like she was REAL, only to discover that this book was influenced by life and career of the late Margaret Fishback, a successful advertising writer prior to WWII. Now I'm dying to read Margaret's original work, only to discover that they are all out of print (all published in the 1930s, so that makes sense) and not available at the library.

This was an absolute treat to devour.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was unintentional that I picked this book, set in 1917, to read for the first time in 2017, but it ended up being the absolute right choice.
I loved everything about this book: Francie, her family, her home, her experiences, her hardships, her education, her employment -- I savored this book for three weeks, because I didn't want it to end.
An emotional, satisfying reading experience.

View all my reviews