Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

 The three van Goethem girls: Antoinette, Marie and Charlotte live in late 1800s Paris. Their father suddenly dies, leaving them in the care of a mother, addicted to absinthe, and with only her pittance wages as a laundress. Desperate for money and with very few options of work for teenage girls, they turn to the Paris Opera where they have the opportunity to pursue their passions and gain a few meager francs per month. The Opera brings to the girls both opportunity for progress and for their destruction.

This insomniac's opinion:

Paris. 1878. Sounds lovely and romantic, doesn't it? While there are bits of beauty in the novel, this is most certainly not a novel about living the Parisian dream. Quite the opposite. This novel is about the desperate fragility of poverty. The things we must do for mere survival.

This novel was so achingly beautiful. It was the best of historical fiction in that it was perfectly descriptive and made you aware of the time period, even feel as though you were there. It erased in my mind the romantic ideal of Paris, and showed me the gritty, dirty, desperate underbelly of Paris in the late 1800s. I felt deep compassion for the girls, who were thrown into a world and responsibilities meant for adults. Even as terrible things happen and the girls seem stuck in a downward spiral, I always felt hope and could not stop devouring the novel. It is truly a masterpiece.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Absolutely. This is a do not miss novel for fans of historical fiction!


 5 stars

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.

I gratefully received this novel from Goodreads Firstreads in exchange for an honest review.

To summarize the novel: The protagonist in this novel is Ron Currie- a mix of both fiction and fact(the author's life is interwoven into the story and we never know what is truth or fiction). This part fiction/part reality Ron writes a novel within the book.At first we believe that he is writing this novel(not the novel within the book, but Flimsy Plastic Miracles)after his death, then we realize that he was never dead at all.  He(very curious if this is real or fiction Ron) believes that someday computers/technology/robots will take over the world and mankind will no longer exist. His father died, impacting his life forever.And, the core of the novel- he has a sick, twisted relationship with a woman that he can't seem to get out of his mind. The novel just flips constantly between these topics in a non-linear fashion.

I know, I know- it's a bit confusing. There is no way to describe this book with a traditional synopsis.

This insomniac's opinion:

As far as this novel is concerned- I am Switzerland. Completely neutral.

There were many things that I enjoyed about this novel. I liked that it was not written in conventional form. There were no traditional chapters- each page had anywhere from one sentence to a couple of chapters, then on the next page a new topic would be addressed. Therefore, the novel read very quickly. I also was surprised several times when I was reading it, and that is something that I always appreciate. I'm fairly confident that no one else will ever write anything similar to this.

There were also many things that I did not enjoy about this novel. Primarily, the freaking idea about robots/technology taking over the world. It was a persistent topic in the novel and even after finishing the book, I am utterly unsure what on Earth it had to do with the rest of the story. The novel was also constantly flipping between topics and times. It was hard to keep my bearings-I felt as though I was on a ship in a storm and had to stay alert so that I didn't get knocked off my feet.

So, while I appreciated the novel and the quirky writing style, I remain unsure of my feelings.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Read the above and then decide for yourself!

Rating: 3- absolutely, unequivocally Switzerland.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry

 I gratefully received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and T.S Poetry Press in exchange for an honest review.

In this novel we meet Ben and Marian, a married couple living with their daughter Johanna. Marian had years before given up a son, Adrian, born out of wedlock. She had hoped for a good life for her son, but finds out that he has lived his life in an institution. She sets out to unleash old secrets and find a way to bring her son home.

This insomniac's opinion:

I truly hate to write a negative review. Sigh. But, this novel was tedious. It was incredibly slow moving and nearly every character was unlikeable and selfish. If I had purchased this novel or gotten a library copy, I would not have finished it. Now, the writing was fine and I have no desire to burn it in a sacrificial fire. could have been worse.

Worth staying up all night to read?


Rating: 2 out of 5 stars. I surely didn't like it, but others might.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt

I gratefully received this advance reader's copy from Net Galley and Algonquin Books. This book will be released in May of 2013.

In 1956, when divorced working-mom Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a Boston suburb, the neighborhood is less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the era of the Cold War, bomb scares, and paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.

Lewis never recovers from the disappearance of his childhood friend. By the time he reaches his twenties, he’s living a directionless life, a failure in love, estranged from his mother. Rose is now a schoolteacher in another city, watching over children as she was never able to watch over her own brother. Ava is building a new life for herself in a new decade. When the mystery of Jimmy’s disappearance is unexpectedly solved, all three must try to reclaim what they have lost.

This insomniac's opinion:

This novel was so beautifully written. As a mother, I dread seeing the photos of missing children that are constantly in the news. I wonder how a family can continue to go on as the years pass without answers to what happened after a child never comes home. This novel covers the stretch of a decade after the disappearance of young, beloved Jimmy. The story was beautiful in the same way a terribly sad song is: you can admire the beauty of the sadness, even feel enveloped in it, but are so grateful to be on the outside and not experiencing the tragedy yourself. I fell in love with all of the characters and wanted for them to be able to move on with their lives and find peace. And- Jimmy, oh how I wanted them to find sweet Jimmy safe and sound, even though I knew from the book synopsis that this would likely not happen. At the end of the novel, we get the answers to Jimmy's disappearance that everyone has been seeking. Unfortunately, there may never be closure in something as horrendous as the disappearance of a child.

If you deplore endings that are a bit open, and don't really leave you with a concrete sense of what will happen to the characters,then you may not like the ending to this novel. But, I loved how the reader gets to decide for themselves just what will happen to the characters. I choose hope, happiness(if guarded) and love-for all of them.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes! It has a little bit of everything- drama, mystery and even romance. Sadly, almost desperately, beautiful.


5 stars

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Groundhog's Day + Mean Girls = Before I Fall

This insomniac's opinion:

What the above synopsis does not tell you is that Samantha(Sam) and her clique of "popular" friends are snobs and use their popularity to bully other kids at their school. Maybe if I was reading this as a teenage girl(and it is a YA novel, so I imagine that is the core audience) I would have identified more with the egotistical, living in the moment nature of Sam and her friends. Being the mature(most days) adult that I am, however, I was disgusted by her behavior. We begin the book with what seems to be a typical day for Sam- bully, bully, bully, booze it up, bully, bully, bully. At this end of this day, she dies. Here's where it gets interesting-she gets seven chances to relive her last day on Earth to make amends. My God did the changes in her personality/life come slowly. Only on the seventh and last day did she really seem more human than Satan's spawn. And, lets talk about the obvious: this was an over dramatized, teenaged version of the movie "Groundhog's Day". Thank goodness they mention the movie in the book, because we all know that it must have inspired the novel to some extent. In fact, let's just scratch the entire above synopsis and write what this book really is: Groundhog's Day + Mean Girls. Yep, that's just about spot on, my friends. In fact, I'll just go right on up to that synopsis and fix it. There- that's better.

Worth staying up all night to read?

I do enjoy Lauren Oliver's writing and the premise, while done before, was interesting. So if you don't mind teenage drama, give it a whirl.

Rating: 3 stars - readable, good(not necessarily likeable, but good) characterizations but definitely more for teens than adults.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I received this novel from Net Galley and and PENGUIN GROUP Viking publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis:

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

This insomniac's opinion:

See the picture of the cover up there? Yeah, that one- the frilly pink cover with the shadow of a girl setting a bird free. Disregard that image. There is also another cover that is bright red with swirly letters. Disregard that cover, as well. Because this book is not a swoony, oh-I-can't-believe-how-romantic-he-is novel. It is a novel about love, but not conventional romantic love. And, there certainly is no Sleepless in Seattle ending, my friends.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I must tell you how much I loved and adored this novel. Yes, there were moments that reeked of Velveeta cheesiness. But, very few of those. It was full of ups and downs and revelations about each other- just like in any other romance. The characters were likeable from the start, but by the end of the novel I was rooting for their happiness as surely as if I actually knew and loved them. And, oh my, the ending. It is the ending you know is coming, but desperately hope will not happen. Luckily, I had just opened a new box of tissues. I used quite a few of them and will probably have a puffy face for the rest of the day. Tears aside, it was an unforgettable end to an unforgettable novel.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes!Yes!Yes! Once you start, you will voraciously read until the end.


 5 stars

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

I gratefully received an advanced reader's copy of this novel from Net Galley and Gallery publishers in exchange for an honest review. This novel will be released on July 2, 2013.

This novel is set in 1963 Mississippi. Nine-year-old Starla is being raised by her very strict grandmother. Starla feels that she is being treated unfairly and sets off on a journey to Nashville to find her mother. Starla meets Eula, a black woman, and the two become unlikely companions on their sometimes dangerous journey.

This insomniac's opinion:

I loved the characters in this novel. Starla is spunky and unafraid to stand up for what she believes is right. But the real star of this novel was Eula. When we first meet Eula, her actions made me dislike her greatly. But, as the novel unfolded, we came to realize what true bravery and compassion  is through Eula's actions. Throughout the novel, Eula frequently talks about how scared she is, how she could never be brave. The truth, in fiction and real life, is that the bravest of us never realize just how brave they are.

Favorite quote of the book:

"My Daddy says that when you do somethin' to distract you from your worstest fears, it's like whistlin' past the graveyard. You know, making a racket to keep the scaredness and the ghosts away. He says that's how we get by sometimes. But it's not weak, like hidin' . . . it's strong. It means you're able to go on."

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes! I loved it!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This novel begins in 1962, when an Italian innkeeper meets a mysterious American woman. Fast forward to present time Hollywood, where the Italian innkeeper searches for the American woman that he never forgot.

This insomniac's opinion:

I don't seem to have much of an opinion about this novel. The writing was fine. The plot was fine. But it didn't really hold my interest. There is not a single character in this book that I will remember weeks from now(or, possibly even days from now). It just didn't resonate with me. There was certainly not anything wrong with the book, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Not for me.

Rating: 3 stars - wasn't great for me, but someone else may enjoy it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 This novel is written as a series of letters from "Charlie"(we never learn his real name) to an anonymous adult(we never learn whom the adult is, either). The poignant novel follows Charlie through fairly typical teenage awkwardness and some deeply personal revelations about Charlie and those around him. Charlie meets a group of friends that change the very way he perceives the world.

Random note: The Kindle version of this novel that I read actually had the movie version of the cover and, even if I like the movie, I deplore movie adaptation covers and have been known to pay more for an original cover. Therefore, I pictured the original cover so as not to have to look at the movie cover again. I know-I'm quirky.

This insomniac's opinion:

So, yesterday was a The Perks of Being a Wallflower day at my house. I saw that the movie was available in the Redbox as I was returning our Saturday night rentals. I couldn't resist and snapped it up(I love Emma Watson!). I have a rule about always reading the book first and knew that the book was already sitting on my Kindle, ready for me to read. So,after putting my children to sleep, I read the novel, finished around 11 pm and popped in the movie!

I adored this book. It takes place in 1991, so it was just a couple of years before I would have had my own freshman experience. I am a person who happens to be very sensitive to others, so it felt nearly as if Charlie was my twin. I loved the closeness of his group of friends and wished to meet them all(except Mary Elizabeth!). There were many moments that I just wanted to reach into the book and give Charlie a hug and assure him that, although high school can be rough for those who do not wish to fit the mold, college and life beyond is often kind to quirky people.

I wondered throughout the entire novel if we would find out the identity of Charlie and the person he is writing the letters to. But in the end, I was glad that we did not. It seemed as though Charlie was writing the letters to me, and I was deeply honored to get to read them.

Favorite quote of the book:

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes, I loved this book so very much. It was a very quick read, as well.


 4 stars

*If you are curious, I liked the movie, as well!*


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh

I gratefully received Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh from Goodreads Firstreads in exchange for an honest review.

In this novel, we meet Albert Honig, an elderly beekeeper. Albert is rather obsessed with his bees and for many years has not had a much of a life outside of his hives. When his former friend and neighbor, Claire, is brutally murdered, Albert finds himself recounting his history with Claire to the detective investigating the case. In the course of the investigation, Albert will come to realize many truths about Claire and, also, himself.

This insomniac's opinion:

I truly love learning about new things. Beekeeping certainly isn't one of my passions, but is something that I do find mildly fascinating. In this novel, each chapter begins with a definition of a word or term pertaining to bees or the keeping of bees. Of course, the word or the definition of the word often heralded to what was about to happen in the chapter. I found this to be charming. However, at least half of this book talked about beekeeping and not always did it pertain to the underlying story of Albert and Claire. There is only so much about beekeeping that can hold my interest.

I did love the story of Albert and Claire, but it was lacking substance. I didn't quite feel that their relationship was important enough for an entire book. What I did love about the book was Peggy Hesketh's writing. It was written in such a descriptive manner that I could taste the honey and smell the orange grove. I read the book in one evening and did very much enjoy the story.

Worth staying up all night for?

I don't know if I would lose sleep over it, but I did enjoy it.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

In The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, newlyweds Tom and Isabel Sherbourne are the lighthouse keepers on Janus Rock, nearly a half day's journey from other people. Life on this solitary place is idyllic, except for the fact that Isabel has had two miscarriages and one stillbirth and is desperately wanting for a child. It seems as if her every wish has been granted when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a healthy, living baby. Isabel chooses to claim this child for her own. After two years, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland to discover that their choice may have brought them joy, but has brought others great grief.

This insomniac's opinion:

This is M.L. Stedman's debut novel. You would never know that from this beautifully written novel, however. Somehow, the writing beguiled me into feeling such compassion for all of the parties involved that I was unsure how I wanted the novel to end. I was deeply moved by the plight of Isabel in her desperation to have a child. Even though I knew that keeping the baby without looking for her family was wrong, I understood how seductive a baby washing up would be to a mother who just gave birth to a stillborn baby two weeks before. How it would seem as though God, himself, had given you what you had been praying for. I found that I could not judge her for this. Even as everything comes apart for this family, I still managed to have complete compassion for her.(While also realizing that if someone stole my baby from me, all bets are off and they, of course, must die.)

Worth staying up all night to read?

Absolutely. Bring your tissues for the end.


4.5 stars

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk

I have no idea what to write in the synopsis for this novel, there was just so much going on. Let's just say that in Darling Jim by Christian Moerk, there are LOTS of twists and turns. A strange man (Jim) comes riding into town on his motorcycle and three sisters and their Auntie, along with half of the women in town, fall in love with him. This dark and secretive man will soon be the ruin of the entire family.

This insomniac's opinion:

It was very appropriate that Gillian Flynn wrote a recommendation for this novel, because Christian Moerk writes in the same brutally dark and twisted manner. However, this book was not quite as sharply written and arresting as a Flynn novel.

So, this book is in a special category of mine that I call the "what the ****(insert whichever four letter word that you like to use and doesn't offend you here)!" books. As in, throughout reading this book there were consistently twists, turns and ragingly screwed up developments that had me crying out "What the !?*#?????" Over and over and over again.

I did very much enjoy the consistent surprises, as I love when a book surprises me. I could not, however, read this book straight through. It had so very many characters. I was continually frustrated during the first half of the book by the fact that the author briefly mentions a character and expects you to remember them ten chapters down when he mentions them again. The story became very convoluted with too many characters and subplots, that I felt that I needed to write up an outline to keep track. The second half of the novel was much better, though and became focused on the main story line and had me chomping at the bit to finally unravel the story.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Do not, I repeat DO NOT read this book at night, especially if you are alone. But, it was an interesting read.
I'll just skip the recommendation and leave it up to you, my friends, to know if this is your cup o' tea.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Want to add this to your Goodreads shelf?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

The Silver Star is the first fiction novel by Jeannette Walls, the author of The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. This novel is set in 1970, following two sisters, "Bean" and Liz Holladay. When their flighty mother, Charlotte, takes off to "find herself", Bean and Liz find themselves on a journey to Virginia to live with their Uncle Tinsley, a man they have never before met. In Virginia, Bean and Liz find the kind of stable life they never had with their mother, yet find themselves in a completely different kind of dilemma.

This insomniac's opinion:

Disclaimer: I ADORE Jeannette Walls! Others may peruse People magazine for pictures and news of their favorite musicians and actors. Me, I anxiously await the next novel from my favorite authors and swoon at its arrival at a bookstore near me. So, when I received this advance reader's copy of this new book of Ms. Walls, I actually did a happy dance(Thank you Net Galley and Scribner!). Let me tell you, I was not disappointed!

The characters in this novel were so spot on, I began to wonder if this was another of Ms. Walls fabulous non-fiction books. They simply felt real. I especially loved the small town characters in the small Virginia town that the girls moved to so that they could live with their Uncle Tinsley. I thought that the author did a great job of talking through some of the civil rights concerns of the time, such as segregation, without me feeling that she was telling me about it from a soap box. The only aspect of the novel that I didn't truly love was the ending. I felt that there was still more story to be told.

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes! A very enjoyable read. This novel will be published on June 11, 2013 and I highly recommend reading it.

Rating: 4 stars

Want to add this to your Goodreads shelf?

Note: I received an advance readers copy of this novel from Net Galley and Scribner Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers follows three women whose lives are unknowingly intertwined by a child. Tia is the mistress to a married man(Nathan) who becomes pregnant with his child. Juliette is the wife of Nathan whose life is turned upside down by the affair. Caroline is the hesitant adoptive mother to Tia and Nathan's child. Their lives intersect when Tia contacts Nathan five years later with pictures of the child, throwing all three women suddenly together.

This insomniac's opinion:

I found this novel to be compulsively readable and enjoyable. I was grateful to finally read a novel that doesn't gloss over the negative effects of infidelity and truly shows that infidelity is not a "victimless crime" especially when children are involved. I thought the three narrators all had distinct voices and were easy to relate to.

Worth staying up all night to read?

I did enjoy this book, but it isn't likely to make any of my must-read lists this year. If you enjoyed Randy Susan Meyers' former novel The Murderer's Daughters, you will like this one.

Rating: 3.5 stars (rounded up to four on Goodreads)

Want to add this to your Goodreads shelf?

Note: I gratefully received this novel from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

In The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian we follow Elizabeth, a Boston nurse, on an epic journey to Aleppo, Syria to aid the refugees of the Armenian genocide in 1912. Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has lost his wife and daughter in the genocide.A forbidden love blossoms that will change the course of their lives forever.

This insomniac's opinion:

I adored this novel! I have read and loved several of Mr. Bohjalian's(I am so glad that I am writing this and not having to pronounce his name, which I am sure is lovely when I am not butchering it) novels. What amazes me the most about his talent is that every novel is such a unique journey. He doesn't have a formulaic writing style `a la Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks, which I very much appreciate.

The love story in this book just took my breath away. I admit that I am a sucker for love that blossoms during war. Beauty in the middle of ugliness. A rose in the desert. Ahhhhhhh, I love a good, non-cheesy romance. But this novel was about far more than simple romance. I had never heard of the Armenian genocide of 1912 and was horrified to hear the details of the tragedy. There were so very many stories in this novel that ripped my heart to shreds. As a pediatric nurse, I wanted to jump into the story and help tend to the suffering women and children. How can human beings do these things to others and rationalize it in their minds? I will never understand.

Worth staying up all night to read?


Rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty follows Cora Carlisle, a thirty-six-year-old Wichita,Kansas woman who decides to chaperone fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks(based on the real-life silent film star) on her trip to New York City. Cora is hoping to discover in New York the answer to who she really is. Louise, on the other hand, is hoping to find a permanent was out of Witchita and into the spotlight.

This insomniac's opinion:

I loved this book! Laura Moriarty always does a wonderful job of immersing you completely into the time period in which the characters live. This book was no exception. Both in Kansas and New York, you could see the fashions and hear the music and the hustle bustle of the crowds. I was fascinated by both Cora and Louise- two very different women struggling to find common ground.

My favorite aspect of this book was that there were some small twists and surprises that I did not see coming. As an avid reader, I find that it is rare that I am truly surprised by a plot twist. I have become accustomed to figuring out exactly what is going to happen at the end of the book(it's Colonel Mustard! In the library! With the candlestick!!!!). So, when I am surprised by something, I am delighted!

On another note, add the 1920's to my list of eras that I have a complete fascination with. If you have a great book set in this time period, let me know!

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes, and I sure did!

Rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5 on Goodreads, because it deserves it!)

Want to add this to your Goodreads shelf?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

I was privileged to receive a copy of this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Synopsis: Grace McAllister is a 36 year old career woman who has chosen not to have children. Then she falls in love with Victor, who has two children of his own. After making a life with Victor, his ex-wife dies suddenly, leaving Grace to become a caregiver to Victor's two children. Grace becomes thrust into a role that she never wanted-that of a  mother. Along with this new role, Grace begins to uncover that things with Victor's ex-wife weren't all that they appeared to be.

This insomniac's opinion:

You know what is worse than a mediocre book? A mediocre book that you thought you would LOVE! This is the third Amy Hatvany novel that I have read, and I really enjoyed the other two. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to get an advance reader's copy of this book. And, don't get me wrong- I did enjoy it. Just not nearly as much as the other two.

It just didn't seem as though there was really enough going on for an entire book. A short story, maybe. But not an entire novel. Most of the book is day to day dialogue: the kids are fighting, Grace is chatting with her girlfriends, etc. There just isn't much happening. I kept waiting for a twist, or a big plot reveal, but everything that happened was utterly predictable.

I also have to voice an opinion here. The main character is adamant that she does not want kids. Yet, we all know when their mother dies that she is going to step in and fall in love with the children. At first, it's going to be rough. But then, she will realize that this is the life that she always wanted, she just didn't know it. For the rest of eternity, because she is now a mother, life will be all rainbows, butterflies, unicorns and glitter. It's like a bad Lifetime movie of the week. Now, I'm a mother of three and adore being a mother. But, not everyone wants to be a mother. Not everyone should be a mother. And, that doesn't mean that anything is wrong with them or that they had a childhood trauma. Let's all say it together: It's okay to choose not to have children! Ah, I feel better now! *steps off soapbox*

Worth staying up all night to read?

It really is a nice, quick read. However, too slow moving to read in bed, you might fall right to sleep(hey, maybe that's exactly what you want to happen- if so, read away!)

Rating: 3 stars - liked it but didn't love it

Want to add this to your Goodreads shelf:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I was lucky enough to receive an advance reader's edition of this novel through Goodreads Firstreads.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a novel very loosely based on the life of Anne Lindbergh, wife of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

This insomniac's opinion:

I found this book to be incredibly fascinating. Although I realize that this book is fiction, it was fun to get an inside peek at the lives of the infamous Lindbergh family. They certainly lived a life that was out of the ordinary!

Before reading this book, I admit that I had never given much thought to Anne Lindbergh, other than a compassionate tug of my heartstrings whenever I imagined the kidnapping and murder of her son, Charles, Jr. I was surprised to find that Anne was an aviator herself and that she accompanied her husband on nearly all of his flights after their marriage. I have to say, though, as fascinating of a character as Anne was in this novel- I did not like her. She was a very clinical, detached mother and I found it impossible to like a woman that would parent like this. They followed the Watson method of parenting. Gag! Boo! Hiss! Look it up, my friends, it was a real freaking method of parenting. This douche bag, John B. Watson, wrote a book called Psychological Care of the Infant and Child in 1928. This (insert your favorite expletive here) book championed a businesslike and casual relationship between the mother and child. The infant was not to be held or given any affection. He also thought that human beings should stop procreating for twenty years or so until he could come up with a perfect method of child rearing. Again, what a douche bag! Okay, that's enough of this Watson character. But, Anne, at Charles' suggestion, followed this method. Their first child, Charles Jr. was raised according to this method. Anne also spent most of her time traveling with her husband and little at home. So poor Charles Jr.(Charlie) gets to be raised by nannies while Mom and Dad have a gay old time traveling the world. Ugh.

I almost held my breathe reading the section about Charlie's kidnapping and death. Really, I had to remind myself to breathe. Every mother's worst nightmare come true, and knowing this was based on truth was almost too much to bear. Anne's grief almost had me liking her character-almost. The remainder of the book after the kidnapping mostly deals with the family's struggle for any kind of normalcy following the loss of Charlie.

This book really was an interesting glimpse into the lives of truly unforgettable characters. And, while I did not like the characters of Anne or Charles, I found myself cheering for them and wanting them to find a better life for their family. I did really enjoy the book.

Worth staying up all night to read?

This is definitely worth reading, but you may not need to stay up all night to finish it. After all, this is based on a true story- you already know what is going to happen!

Rating: 4 stars

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