Robin’s Reviews November

pretty duck 2Purity by Jonathan Franzen. Wow. What a book. What a undertaking. Franzen is prolific and if his other work is as intense as this, I really want to meat this guy! This is a long book. It is a complex story, with changing point-of-view in sections, slowly unfolding the intertwining lives of funny, eccentric, tragic characters. Purity, or “Pip”, a twenty-something young women finding her way in the San Francisco Bay Area (I loved the Berkeley and Oakland scenes! My hometown), leads us off into a world of all these characters including computer leaks and journalism and trips to Bolivia and flashbacks to Germany, and more and more and more. At one point the book became a bit sluggish, but I kept at it and was soon hooked. The real pleasure of the book was Fanzen’s perspective on the world we live in today. All those things you know about what internet and social media and marketing and corporations are doing to you, spelled out in all its seductive glory. Rate: 4.9 (I will read this book again. I think it will take twice to get all the subtle undertones)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (written in 1859!) I listened to the audio of this book, a long, long tale. Very well read, with multiple readers helping one to track the characters and multiple view points. The book is written as if each character is “telling” his part of the story as a  witness, which indeed they are. Very long descriptions, which I likely would have skipped if I had been reading (you know by now I skip those often). Anyway, an interesting and complex story, neatly tied up at the end, as stories used to do. It is a mystery and murder and corruption tale, which provides very interesting historical information as well. The strange part, it could have been written now. Rate: 3.9

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty  I am hooked on this author, in fact, so hooked I am reading all her books this month. I accidentally stumbled upon her when I ordered an audio book to listen to while I work out. I had to have more! Moriarty is an Australian writer, and some of the fun of her stories is the fact that the summer and winter are different! So when kids start school, the weather at holidays, the fall colors; all of these things are new to a United States reader. Moriarty is great at building characters. The three novels I have read are a bit similar in that the characters are every day people who hide big secrets. This book is the tale of Cecilia Fitzpatrick and Tess and Rachel. A perfect arc of the three women and how one secret changes things for all of them. Rate: 3.9

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty  The characters in this book are above and beyond. Funny, exaggerated, and totally entertaining. With tragic events taking place, this is still a comedy! I know, sounds crazy, but I loved the unfolding from various close third person point of view, the police interviews thrown in, even the chapter headings which led up to the day of the “murder”. Another everyday setting, a group of Kindergarten “Mums”, Madeline, Celeste and Jane work hard to keep life happy, in spite of the drama of school parent and student social interactions. Rate: 3.5

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. This is the book I listened to, and Wow!, what a great reader. As I listened to the prologue I realized that Moriarty was changing POINT OF VIEW mid sentence! Any one who regularly reads my reviews knows that changing POV is one of my pet peeves. But to manipulate it so skillfully that even when listening I totally got it, well! I actually checked the book out from the library because I wanted to see how Moriarty did this. (She used frequent … and paragraph breaks). This is the story of triplets, each different, each dealing with changing life events, their relationships with each other, love and more. Rate: 3.9 for the amazing audio.


  1. Thanks, Robin for the reviews. I love Franzen’s writing so glad to be reminded. I am intrigued with our comments about Liane Moriarty but surprised that you didn’t rate them higher. But I will check her out as soon as I see light at the tunnel of this pile of mail. I have missed reading these last 6 weeks so have three books going on right now!

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