Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Five stars! I would rank this novel among the very top picks on my list. I loved reading the various points of view during a time in history after slavery but before integration and civil rights. Various perspectives are juxtaposed among the black help and the white female employers who are all struggling against their different forms of oppression.

I would highly recommend this book!

The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton

It took a while for this book to grab me, but when it did, it grabbed me hard. I was at first put off by the alternating points of view. I would just start to get comfortable walking in one character's shoes when I would be yanked out and forced into another's. But once I adjusted to this yanking around, I loved the story and the characters, though I did find the ending a bit predictable.

I would recommend this book.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Most of the members of my book club loved this thriller. I certainly couldn't put it down. But when I look back over the story, I find it reads too much like a male fantasy, kind of the opposite of romance fiction for women. We have a man who is able to attract a young and beautiful, albeit neurotic, woman whom no other man has successfully engaged. This same man solves an old family mystery that no one else can solve. He writes a story that immediately puts every other journalist to shame. And he is desired by all the women with whom he comes into contact, and these women do not expect commitment--they are merely grateful for the opportunity to share his bed. What a man you are, Mikael Blomkvist!

I recommend the novel with reservations.

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

This novel is the perfect combination of heart-strings and eerie. If you are a story-lover, you will love this one in that it glorifies books, authors, and readers. I found the narrator relatable and the woman she interviews titillating.  It reads like a ghost story while maintaining a strict adherence to realism. It's part twin story, part family saga, part ghost story, part mystery, and part metafiction. You won't want to put the book down.

I highly recommend this book.