December Reads

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book 44:
"Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly
Plot: "Lilac Girls" is a story about World War II and the Holocaust, namely about the medical experimentation on Polish women at Ravensbruck. The story is told through the perspectives of three different women – Herta, a German doctor conducting the experiments; Kasia, a Polish teenager drawn to the underground resistance movement and eventually captured; and Caroline, a New Yorker working at the French consulate and organizing care packages for orphaned children.

Thoughts: A nicely researched and well-written book. I enjoyed the different POVs and seeing them cross paths. One thing I especially liked was that at the beginning of each chapter/POV switch, Kelly made it clear where you left off before. In books with multiple POVs, I’m often flipping back to see how that character’s previous chapter had ended, but I didn’t have to do that with this one.

Two things holding me back from a higher rating are that I would have loved to get more from Herta's perspective and her justification of her actions. Also, Paul's letters, anyone?

Great story overall.

Rating: 3.5/5


Book 45:
"Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
Plot: The book begins with the Richardson family's house burning down, and three of the four children are confident that Izzy, the youngest, is responsible. From there, the story rewinds to explain how we got there. Mia moved to cookie-cutter Shaker Heights with her daughter Pearl, living as tenants in a house the Richardsons are renting out. Mia is an artist, and she's never stayed in one place for long. When an adoption-turned-custody-battle grabs headlines and divides the community, pasts are dug up, secrets are revealed, and reputations are broken.

Thoughts: I first heard about this book through a “Plan a Cozy Night In and We’ll Give You a Book to Read” Buzzfeed quiz, and then I saw that it won Best Fiction, so I wanted to see what all the hype was. I thought I would be more wowed by it than I was. The beginning intrigued me but took a while to get into.

While I didn’t find the book to be predictable overall, I did feel that once something was hinted at, once a plotline started, it was easy to tell exactly where it was going, which was disappointing. I’d rather be more surprised. Also, I wish Ng had gone deeper into some of the characters. Mia’s backstory was so elaborate that I was almost bored, but the Richardson children weren’t spotlighted as much as I would have liked.

Overall, good, not great.

Rating: 3.5/5



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