Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hour 4 Update and a Review

Title of book(s) read since last update: FINALLY finished The Empress of Weehawken
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 25
Running total of pages read since you started: 113
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!) 3 hours
Mini-challenges completed: Still just one
Other participants you’ve visited: Jessi, Dewey, Iliana, Angela
Prize you’ve won: None yet...

But I forgot to say that the other day I DID win a copy of Joshua Henkin's Matrimony from Megan at Leafing Through Life!!! I'm so excited, since I've been trying to snag a copy of this book for ages.

Okay, so. This book. It was sent to me by the publisher, Picador, through LibraryThing. A couple of months ago. I don't feel SO bad, since it was already released in the U.S. before I even received it, but here, finally is my review.

Overall, I have to say I'm ambivalent about this book. I didn't HATE it, but I didn't LOVE it, either. It was an interesting read, once I got into it, but there was nothing about it that drove me to seek it out. It was a solid 3 out of 5.

The story is narrated by Elisabeth Rother, wife of Dr. Carl Rother, a Jewish convert to Catholicism. It starts during the years just prior to World War II. The book is fiction, but the narrator does have a granddaughter with the same name as the book's author...hmmm.

Frau Doktor Rother is rather opinionated. Her opinions were ones I generally disagreed with, so maybe that's why I didn't love this book. I appreciated the sort of "insider" look at WWII through the eyes of one who lived through it in Germany, but wasn't a Jew. She did suffer some of the same indignities that German Jews did, since she was married to a former Jew, and eventually Dr. Rother did have to flee Germany for the United States.

The book does a good job of examining the relationships between the three generations of Rother/Dische women: Elisabeth, Renate and Irene. I found the way Elisabeth and Renate each chose to interact with her daughter to be strange: not the way I'd do things if I had a daughter. But those were different times, too.

Again, I didn't find the narrator to be terribly sympathetic, which I believe to be part of the reason I didn't jump for joy over the book. There is a lot more I could delve into (the book provides discussion questions at the end, so it might be a good choice for a class or book group), but I'm anxious to get back to my reading. I think I'll pick up a magazine now to let the last book soak in...

Happy reading to all!!!

1 comment:

SJ said...

You're doing great! Keep it up!!

Nice review! I always appreciate a straight-forward, honest review.