Book Reviews · Other good stuff

Book Reviews: A Gentleman in Moscow, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and The Boy Who Loved Too Much

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If you’ve read any of these I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Also tell me about what you are reading now.

 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

CaptureIt is 1922 in Moscow when young Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in the attic of a luxury hotel for having “succumbed irrevocably to the corruptions of his class.” While I was not bored, I found the first third of the book to be slow. When I reached the halfway point though, I perked up and did not want to put it down as I neared the end of each chapter. I realized then the story had just been paced to follow a man under house arrest for decades. With a cast of characters that come and go and an ever changing political backdrop, in his confinement the Count finds a fulfilled life within the walls of The Metropol.

This ended up being a book that I hurried to finish and then was sad when there was no more. It left me feeling satisfied, and I thought about it several days after I finished it. I’d also like to add that my good friend Rhonda at a Thankful Heart recommended this. She is an avid reader with great taste. You should follow her blog if you don’t already.

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Capture5 years ago I was sitting in a waiting room during my third trimester ready to see my OBGYN. I was flipping through some magazine and saw this book listed as a must read for the summer. I had a baby and didn’t read it that summer or several after. Recently though I read a review (again on Rhonda’s blog) of a different book by the same author that reminded me that I had never gotten around to Where’d You Go, Bernadette? So when I got off work early the Friday of Labor Day weekend and the kids and my husband were all engrossed in their own projects, I snuggled in to finally read it.

It is uniquely written because it is told from different perspectives via documentation. I realize that sounds like it would boring or confusing (or both) to read. It wasn’t though. Through notes, emails, reports, chat messages, and more we learn about an oddball mom and her eventual disappearance.

About the middle of the book there were a handful of hilarious miscommunications between Bernadette and her husband. I wish the story would have continued down that road. Instead it took a slightly more serious turn. It was still a fun read though. I particularly liked and appreciated that Bernadette’s character is a modern day woman cut from a different cloth.

 

The Boy Who Loved Too Much: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness by Jennifer Latson

CaptureWilliams syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes those who have it unable to distrust. People with Williams are friendly, cannot detect sarcasm, and have lower social inhibitions. A majority of people born with the disorder have lower IQs and specific health issues. Journalist Jennifer Latson followed and wrote about a single mother, Gayle, raising her son, Eli, who has Williams syndrome.

The topic itself is interesting. Latson does an amazing job or intertwining scientific information about Williams syndrome with Gayle and Eli’s personal story. So we get the text book type information but in a context that is related to actual people.

This was a pick for the month by one of my book club members. In true book club form this is not a book I would have chosen to read myself, and due to timing this was a hard read for me. Several months ago my son was diagnosed with autism. While I have been reading about autism, it has mostly been about signs, symptoms, treatments, the more clinical stuff.

The Boy Who Loved Too Much shows Gayle as she is looking for answers, gets the diagnosis, struggles with accepting it, and after. I could only read this book in small bits at a time. Parts were too close to what I was going through and too raw for me to read too much at once. Yes this book explores Williams syndrome, but at the heart of it, it is really about a mom trying to do what is right for her vulnerable son.

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11 thoughts on “Book Reviews: A Gentleman in Moscow, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and The Boy Who Loved Too Much

  1. Thank you, Lacey! This is awesome. 🙂 I love your book reviews – this is the first blog post of yours I’ve seen with one. Must’ve been a great way to spend Labor Day weekend … particularly love that one. Blessings my friend! Debbie ps – sending smiles your way 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lacey– The Boy Who Love Too Much does sound like a challenging book to read. But I loved your bottom line analysis that it is about a mom doing what is right… That’s what we do– deeply love the children we are given and do what is right. And I agree on the Bernadette book– I wish the story would have continued too. Even though the premise was a little wacky and the characters far from people I know well, I really cared about what happened to that family and it would be good to know they moved on well! Sequel?? Fun to be your book idea buddy– We had book club tonight– talked through The Little Paris Bookshop– mostly thumbs down. OK, happy reading friend! xox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rhonda, about the Boy Who Loved Too Much.
      Ohhhhh, I’m so dense I didn’t even think about a sequel! Yes I bet you are right.
      Okay good to know about LIttle Paris Bookshop. Simply based on the title I would have probably given it a try. Since my precious reading time is limited I am pickier about what I start to read.
      Thanks for the book ideas and stopping by Rhonda. I love have you as blog buddy!

      Like

  3. Hi Lacey! Glad to have discovered your blog! Some interesting books you have on here, and I especially liked the one about the Boy Who Loved Too Much – sounds fascinating, yet very touching at the same time. I’m currently reading (okay, well, I’m listening to) Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, and I’m finding it to be absolutely fascinating!

    I got the audiobook version because I can only keep up with one physical book at a time and I’m already in the middle of reading Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I love audiobooks because it really makes commutes or chores so much more interesting! Are you a fan of audiobooks?

    I hopped over here from Susie’s and I’m glad I did 🙂 I’m going to be following along for the ride, and looking forward to more of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank for stopping by!
      I haven’t gotten into audio books which is really weird because I used to have a very long commute. Someone else suggested I try out audio a few days ago. Twice in the same week makes me feel like I should try it.

      Are you liking Sapiens?

      Like

      1. You’re welcome! That’s really cool, definitely a good sign that you should try it. Audible actually has a free trial, and at the end of it, you get to keep the book if you decide not to continue, so it’s completely risk free.

        Sapiens is a fantastic book. It’s an interesting combination of history and philosophy and really gets you thinking. At first I thought it would be dry and tough to get through but it explains a lot of the world we have around us and things start making sense in a very different way. If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes!

        Liked by 1 person

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