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In Which I Play Catch Up: Snippet Reviews Part 1

June 15, 2011

In an attempt to get back into the bloggy swing of things, I’m going to work through my backlog with some ultra-mini snippet reviews. My feelings on these books in 5 sentences or less!

Digging to America by Ann Tyler
I had been expecting, and hoping, that this book would be about the effect international adoption has on families, as well as on extended and family friends.  Instead I found it to be about belonging, cultural identity, and family dynamics. I still enjoyed the book and thought it brought up some really interesting questions, especially about cultural and national identity. I also liked watching the two families as they grew together – the insecurities, misunderstandings, and, finally, friendships that developed. Overall it was okay, but I don’t feel a burning need to read all the rest of Anne Tyler’s books.
My rating: 7/10

Swoon At Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter
I’ve been putting off writing about this book because I don’t really have much to say other than “I was not a fan.” I couldn’t sympathize with Polly whatsoever, she was self-centred and just not very nice. She was supposed to be a smart, top-grades girl, but she didn’t come across that way to me. And the narration, which attempted to sound teenager-ish, drove me nuts, with all the ‘you knows’ and ‘ums’ and ‘not that I’m noticing hims’ and ‘whatevers’ interjected everywhere. If you’re looking for a YA summer read, I would suggest skipping this one.
My rating: 5/10

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James
After reading Jane by April Lindner and re-reading Jane Eyre during the last few months, I was itching to read something about the authoress herself. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte started off a bit slow for me, it seemed like Syrie James was trying too hard to imitate Charlotte’s voice and it felt a bit awkward. But this is not a negative review, I promise – as the story progressed I found myself more and more wrapped up in the lives of Charlotte and her sisters. By the end I was very curious as to what was fact and what was fiction and it made me want to read more historically acurate biographies of the Bronte family. I very much recommend The Secret Diaries to fans of Jane Eyre who want a little taste of Charlotte’s life story.
My rating: 7.5/10

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
There were two things I really liked about this book. First off, I pretty much always enjoy a book that shows the development of a relationship over many years, and Kristin Hannah does that wonderfully in Firefly Lane. Secondly, unsurprisingly, I loved the use of music and how songs were used as a theme for each decade and stage of Tully & Kate’s lives. Unfortunately I wasn’t fond of either main character and it lost points for me there. That being said, I did enjoy Firefly Lane over all and am looking forward to reading more of Hannah’s stuff.
My rating: 7/10

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 6:33 am

    GREAT catch up!

  2. June 15, 2011 9:31 am

    i wish digging to america was more about the effect of international adoption. i have a few friends who are considering adopting and that would of been interesting to read. regardless, i think i may have to add this book to my wishlist and get to it when i have time. it sounds interesting enough.

  3. June 15, 2011 1:38 pm

    I love the Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte too–I am reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of her right now. Charlotte’s father and husband commissioned the work and Ms. Gaskell is a peer of Charlotte’s. It is very interesting.

  4. justbookreading permalink
    June 15, 2011 3:40 pm

    I haven’t read Ann Tyler in a few years and this one sounds good. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte also sounds great!

  5. June 16, 2011 6:07 am

    I definitely understand what you mean about Firefly Lane. Both ladies went for what they wanted, but them they both ended up so unhappy and miserable about it. You kind of just want to kick them and tell them to be grateful for what they have.

  6. June 16, 2011 3:58 pm

    I haven’t read Digging to America, but I urge you to try another Anne Tyler book. I absolutely loved The Accidental Tourist with its quirky characters and I’ve got a couple more of her books waiting to be read on my shelf. I hope you won’t write her off too quickly :)

  7. June 17, 2011 2:10 pm

    i like the idea of snippet reviews–i need to do a few of those myself. i saw firefly lane on another blog and seem to recall it didn’t garner rave reviews there, either. sometimes you just have to do ‘snippets’ of the ones that were *meh* and call it a day. have a great weekend!

  8. June 23, 2011 6:11 am

    These are all great reviews. Thanks for posting.

  9. June 24, 2011 4:43 pm

    I still haven’t read anything by Anne Tyler. Sounds like I don’t have to rush out and read one of hers. I read Firefly Lane a while back and didn’t love it; it was my first and only Hannah novel to date. I like this short review format for catch-up!

  10. stacybuckeye permalink
    June 26, 2011 8:12 pm

    I’ve really liked the Anne Tyler books I’ve read and even have this one waiting on my shelves. Too bad it was a little disappointing. Don’t let that stop you from trying others. Patchwork Planet & Breathing Lessons are two of my favorites.


  1. In Which I Play Catch Up: Snippet Reviews Part 2 « alita.reads.
  2. In Which I Play Catch Up: Snipped Reviews Part 3 « alita.reads.
  3. In Which I Play Catch Up: Snippet Reviews Part 4 « alita.reads.

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