Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Book Reviews | Fiction

From a new-out-last-year to a classic to a children's book to a young adult novel, I've enjoyed some great fiction reading lately.

I first heard about An American Marriage by Tayari Jones from Ruth's review. This novel tells the story of Roy & Celestial, who have been married a year and a half when Roy is falsely accused and convicted of raping a woman. He is sent to prison, and their life takes a drastic and heart wrenching turn. Celestial's lifelong friend Andre, the one who introduced the two & the best man at their wedding, helps take care of and comfort her. After five years in prison, Roy's sentence is overturned and all three of them must make difficult decisions.

This story is told from the various perspectives of these all black characters, mainly Roy & Celestial's with a few others along the way. Roy's parents (actually his step-dad) were married 30+ years and his mom dies while he's in prison. This story is very well told, and well paced, although it is a difficult and heart wrenching situation for all of them. The conclusion was not what I was hoping for, but it's very realistic and somehow satisfying in the end.

After enjoying reading and discussing The Hobbit with my twin nieces earlier this year, we set up a similar system (once a week Facetimes) to discuss To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I always enjoy re-reading this classic (which I previously reviewed HERE), and it was especially enjoyable to discuss the antics of Scout and Jem and Dill as well as the implications of Tom Robinson's trial with these sweet teenage girls who had lots of great thoughts and opinions about the book!

So  much FUN to discuss books! In fact, both of the girls loaned me one of their favorite books to bring home after my visit earlier this year.

My niece Paige loaned me drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve. This is a cute story about 11-year-old Polly Peabody, who lives on a magical farm that grows rhubarb (Giant Rhubarb, regular rhubarb, medicinal rhubarb, and chocolate flavored rhubarb). It rains every Monday at 1pm ... until one Monday, when it doesn't! Polly has to figure out what's causing it not to rain, which involves talking (& spelling) bugs, an old library with ivy growing inside, a skeleton key, an emerald ring, and a host of interesting characters. This is a FUN coming-of-age story geared toward middle readers that I thoroughly enjoyed!

My niece Laurie loaned me her copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I first read this book over ten years ago and had forgotten that the narrator is Death. The story is set in World War II Germany, outside Munich. Leisel Meminger is 11-years-old when she finds her first book (and thus becomes a book thief) on the way to being placed with a German foster family. There's a host of great characters - Rudy Steiner (Leisel's best friend), Hans & Rosa Hubermann (her foster parents), Max Vandenburg (a Jew they hide in the basement), the mayor's wife (who has a library full of books).

This is a very well-written book that I highly recommend. (Robbie read and enjoyed it as well!) Here's the description from the book cover: 

It is 1939. Nazi Germany.
The country is holding its breath.
Death has never been busier and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger finds her life changed when she unearths a single object from the snow. It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident at her brother's funeral, and it is her first act of book thievery. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed An American Marriage; I read The Book Thief when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. I enjoyed both An American Marriage and The Book Thief (like you, I read that a long time ago, but haven't forgotten it.) And, of course, To Kill a Mockingbird is a fave!

  3. Always like book reviews. I think I would like to read Drizzle. I've read a couple of the other books in your review.


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