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"I think I loved Alice McDermott's At Weddings and Wakes for just the reasons many other (Amazon) readers panned it. Too wordy?..." I guess it's "diff'rent strokes," but sometimes I have to smile reading Amazon comments. I just finished EIGHTY DAYS, about the voyages of Nellie Bly and Elisabeth Bisland, and there were several complaints about the detailed, loving descriptions of Victorian-era life in the US, France, India, China, Japan, etc.! For me they made the book! I mean, would you read it just to find out who won?


I was a little apprehensive to read the novel as I had read some of the reviews prior, and I think actually more than once replaced the book on my bookshelf for that same reason--know that a number of other readers didn't like it and then it turns out I loved it. So, definitely a matter of different tastes in books! Those reviews can be great to sift through so many books, but I guess I also need to take them all with a grain of salt, too, as I don't know any of those readers or what their tastes are. I like those sorts of detailed descriptions as well--so for me Eighty Days would probably be something I'd like, too!


She sounds like someone who is definitely for me as well. The way the stories were interlinked seemed to have worked very well. Seamless.
It's odd about those reviews sometimes. Often the way a negative review is written will still tell me that that's what I will like about a book.


I think reading your review has piqued my interest in trying out Alice McDermott. This book sounds like something I might be able to appreciate, I think.
By the way, a very happy birthday to you, Danielle! Have a good one there.:)

Word Lily

I really liked her Charming Billy. I have this one on my shelf, but I haven't gotten to it yet.


Isn't wonderful when a book that has been waiting so long turns out to be so good? The structure sounds really interesting. Because it could be read as interlinked stories does that mean the voice and point of view changes from chapter to chapter?


I am so glad you liked this, as I loved the Alice McDermott novel I read. I thought she was a wonderful stylist, too. You remind me I wanted to read another novel by her and have yet to do so!


They are seamless the way they are linked and really am not even sure I would consider them short stories, but the book is definitely episodic. I think initially the Amazon reviews made me hesitate more than once to start reading the book, but I loved it. I don't always pay attention to reviews like that as I have no idea how closely the reviewers' tastes match my own and hate the idea of possibly missing out on a good read. In this case the negative reviews really did help me decide what I Did like about the book.


Hi Michelle--Happy Birthday a day late, to you too! I hope you had a great day. I was thinking I had read one of her other books, but a glance at her bibliography shows I haven't. Now, of course, I'll be looking for more of her books. I wonder why she's not written anything in a while.


And I have Charming Billy! :) So glad to hear you enjoyed it, as I will have to slide it up the reading pile now, I think.


Yes! It's one of those, why didn't I read this one sooner moments, but that's okay--maybe the timing was just right for it now. It's all written in third person, though you do sort of get the feeling it's all viewed from the vantage point of the children. It took me a while to figure out the structure--once I had realized it wasn't just a regular linear sort of story. Each chapter sort of focuses on a different family member. This is one I think I could easily read again and no doubt get more out of it later.


I remember when you read That Night (that is the one, isn't it?). She is a marvelous writer--just the sort I like really. Hmm. Maybe we could read one of her other novels later at some point together? Just a thought. :)

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