I thought a book report was long overdue.
Now I have to make the disclaimer that I hardly ever "read" books anymore. Since I am in the car for long periods of time I tend to listen to books (love me some audible.com) more than actually read them. So some of my reviews will refer to the narrator as well as the story itself.
Julia Glass's other books are similar in format; the point of view shifts from character to character. Each is likable in his own way but I feel the pivotal character is the eponymous Percy - the widower.
He is living in his big old house in Massachusetts with its barn and pond and memories of his wife who passed away 30 years prior.
The story starts off with him allowing a pre-school to take over his barn - something he has allowed in order to give his daughter some focus in her life. It turns out to be the catalyst for many changes in his own life.
Julia Glass's gift is that she takes ordinary people, doing ordinary things and makes it interesting. Each character has a unique point of view and each ties into the other.
There are a number of different plot lines that develop on their own and then weave together in the end in a very plausible way.
The narrator did a fabulous job of keeping the characters distinct. Pretty impressive when you have a 70 year old Boston librarian, a 20 year old Harvard pre-med student, a gay preschool teacher and an illegal Guatemalan immigrant gardener.
Remarkable Creatures is the story the discovery of fossils on the beaches of South-West England and the effect it had on the world of science.
The two main characters - female fossil hunters from very different backgrounds have the same challenge of overcoming male prejudice in 19th century England.
I love an author that entertains me with a story and simultaineously educates me on a particular subject. Tracy Chevalier not only paints the picture of the two main characters and their unlikely friendship but also conveys the excitement of this particular time in scientific discovery.
One of the characters, Mary Anning, was an actual, real person. She is listed as one of Britain's Royal Society top ten British women that influenced the world of science. Her social class and the fact she was female kept her from being properly recognized, at the time, for her contributions.
This book was narrated by two different readers. Normally that distracts me but the two narraters did a good job of depicted the different social classes and personalities of the two characters.
I have enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews' other novels, in an escapist, chick-lit (ugh - hate that term) way. Hissy Fit seemed like a throw-away to me.
I will admit that I listened the abridged version (unabridged wasn't available) and that may have influenced my opinion.
Hissy fit follows the same formula but the characters are not as endearing or as interesting.
First of all they seem unreasonably dumb when it comes to their respective love lives. They are supposed to be smart, successful people and yet are so stupid about the people they are attracted to.
Secondly - the narration was grating in places. The narrator has done a fine job on some of Mary Kay Andrews other books and she does okay with the main character but her nasally version of the main character's gay neighbor was just plain annoying.
And finally - this may be an editing/abridgement issue - but certain characters and sub-plot lines would be introduced and then just sort of dropped or come to a quick resolution.
Ms. Andrews must have a decorating or house restoration background because that is a reoccuring theme in her books. And I do like that part of it (at least in her other novels). This particular book is about a woman, jilted on the eve of her wedding and the big decorating job she takes on afterwards - with the predictable, accompanying love interest.
I'd pass on this one.