Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

Book Review: The Twelve Lives of Samuel HawleyThe Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti
on March 28th 2017
Pages: 480
Published by Dial Press
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.

Both a coming-of-age novel and a literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley explores what it means to be a hero, and the cost we pay to protect the people we love most.

My Takeaway  “Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough.” Hannah Tinti, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley is beautifully written, enjoyable and worthy of reading. It touches on a father and daughter’s fierce love, acceptance, sacrifice, and survival. Samuel Hawley is a…

Book Review: One of the Boys

Book Review: One of the BoysOne of the Boys
by Daniel Magariel
on March 14th 2017
Pages: 168
Published by Scribner
Genres: Mystery/Crime
Goodreads

The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.

My Takeaway  One of the Boys, is Magariel’s debut novel and he is a heck of a writer. I read the gripping novella in one sitting and although some parts were difficult to take in, I found myself wanting to read more. However, this somber, dark story is not…

Book Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

Book Review: My Name is Lucy BartonMy Name Is Lucy Barton
by Elizabeth Strout
on January 12th 2016
Pages: 193
Published by Random House
Genres: Literary Fiction
Goodreads

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.

My Takeaway  “Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” Elizabeth Strout, My Name is Lucy Short novels have to capture the reader’s attention quickly; My Name is Lucy Barton…

Book Review: The Stranger in the Woods

Book Review: The Stranger in the WoodsThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
by Michael Finkel
on March 7th 2017
Published by Books on Tape
Genres: Non-Fiction
Goodreads

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries.

Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

My Takeaway  “Modern life seems set up so that we can avoid loneliness at all costs, but maybe it’s worthwhile to face it occasionally. The further we push aloneness away, the less we are able to cope with it, and the more terrifying it gets.” ​Michael…

Book Review: The Roanoke Girls

Book Review: The Roanoke GirlsThe Roanoke Girls
by Amy Engel
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 279
Published by Crown
Genres: Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller
Goodreads

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

My Takeaway  “Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.” Amy Engel, The Roanoke Girls The Roanoke Girls is an entertaining and fast read (read most of it on a plane ride). Engel is the author of the young adult…