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July 1, 2012

Books 16-20

My First Ladies: Thirty Years as the White House Chief Floral DesignerMy First Ladies: Thirty Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer by Nancy Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a pleasant surprise. Nancy Clark was the Chief Floral Designer at the White House from Carter through Obama. All the first ladies wrote short introductions to her chapters (except for Hillary Clinton), and her insight into their lives was fascinating. What I was particularly impressed with was even though Nancy had her favorites (Barbara Bush and possibly Michelle Obama), she never said a bad thing about any of the First Ladies.  It did seem like there were some first ladies that were more challenging then others (Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton), but the stories were told with such grace and respect it did not come across anything but honest. I was sad to see that Nancy recently passed away, but so glad that she wrote all her memories down for history to cherish.

*****

The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at WorkThe Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work by Chin-Ning Chu

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really did not enjoy this book. First, it was braggy. Second, I thought the author talked down to woman and made comparisons between men and woman that were completely outdated and inappropriate. Third, I don't think the author did a very good good job using Sun Tzu's Art of War and translating it to a context that would work for woman. This book just did not make sense. There are so many better books out there on this subject, this book is not worth reading even if you get it for free.

******

London Is the Best City in AmericaLondon Is the Best City in America by Laura Dave

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book I have read of Dave's, and I love her writing.  I think she has a great talent in capturing the normal and making her readers connect to those moments.  I was confused through a lot of this book regarding not only what I wanted to happen, but what I was a supposed to want to happen.  The story was complex, the characters were great, but the plot seemed a little sporadic.  The ending was abrupt and unfulfilling, but I didn't really mind because it seemed real.  I heard Reese Witherspoon bought the rights for the movie and I actually think it would make a great movie, but they are going to have rewrite the ending to make it more final.

******

The Divorce PartyThe Divorce Party by Laura Dave

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was really good! I think it is my favorite of Laura Dave's three novels. I enjoyed the foil of the two woman and their relationship troubles, and as always, I thought Dave's writing was great. I think this would make an excellent movie.  Reese should have bought the rights to this one!

 *****

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*spoilers* I know that this review is going to be met with a chorus of "boos" but I loathed this book. First and most importantly, talk about no resolution. Who cares about Sarah's son! The whole purpose of the book was Sarah's struggle and the author just killed her off. Julia was not the character your reader cares about, its Sarah, and to make her story so meaningless that you literally drop her as a narrator halfway through the book was baffling. 

Second, I hated the abortion sub-plot. So inappropriate as I do not think that subject mixed well with the underlying holocaust storyline. Not that it wasn't an engaging story, but it was not meant for this book.

How this book every got a movie deal is beyond me, but I am interested to watch the movie to see if it was able to make this horrible story any better.

2012 Books
-Books 1-5 
-Books 5-10 
-Books 11-15

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3 comments:

missris said...

I didn't read the book but the movie Sarah's Key was HORRIBLE. I mean really! What were they thinking?

Rachel said...

Your first book (the floral lady at the white house) sounds really interesting...I might be checking that out!

I also didn't like Sarah's Key, so I'm glad to see you felt the same way. So many people raved about it. Just wasn't for me. This is a REALLY easy read and I read it to my students each year, but the book Hanna's Key is everything that Sarah's Key could have been. It's a holocaust story about a little girl that flips between the past and present, but it's SO much better. You can read it in an hour or two, but it's excellent.

Amanda said...

I really want to read that first one! I'm a sucker for anything revolving around the presidency, even flowers :) I loved Sarah's Key, but that was in spite of its flaws. I think the primary reason I love it is because it reminds me of my time living in Paris. The school across the way from me had children taken as part of the vel d'hiv, the same as Sarah. It helps me remember them.

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