Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Cure for Grief by Nellie Hermann~★★★

Author: Nellie Hermann
Title: The Cure for Grief
Release Date: August 5th, 2008
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Ruby is the youngest child in the tightly knit Bronstein family, a sensitive, observant girl who looks up to her older brothers and is in awe of her stern but gentle father, a Holocaust survivor whose past and deep sense of morality inform the family's life. But when Ruby is ten, her eldest brother enters the hospital and emerges as someone she barely recognizes. It is only the first in a startling series of tragedies that befall the Bronsteins and leave Ruby reeling from sorrow and disbelief. 
The disarmingly intimate and candid novel follows Ruby through a coming-of-age marked by excruciating loss, one in which the thrills, confusion, and longing of adolescence are heightened by the devastating events that accompany them. As Ruby's family fractures, she finds solace in friendships and the beginnings of romance, in the normalcy of summer camp and the prom. But her anger and heartache shadow these experiences, separating her from those she loves, until she chooses to reconcile what she lost with whom she has become. 
Nellie Hermann's insightful debut is a heartbreakingly authentic story of the enduring potential for resilience and the love that binds a family."

Taryn's Review: Throughout this book, I felt something was off and I had a hard time figuring it out. I was reading and just not connecting to the characters when it hit me: dialogue! I needed dialogue!

The story was sad as Ruby Bronstein's family experienced horrible tragedies, but the author really lacked in having them interact with one another enough for the reader to feel a connection to the family. As the story was told from Ruby's perspective and her thoughts, only a sentence or two of dialogue was thrown into the paragraphs. We were left with Ruby's view most of the time, no one else's, and that made the book very narrow, especially with Ruby being a child.

I did not emotionally connect enough in this book to actually feel the pain and sorrow that Ruby suffered through. I hated that I was reading such a sad book and felt nothing. Again, I feel like the lack of dialogue played a large role in this for me. I really didn't get a sense of who any of Ruby's family members were and what they were thinking as things progressed.

The book itself did hold my attention, but I often skimmed the descriptions since I felt like so much time was spent highlighting things that weren't important to the story. While I liked it enough to finish it, the emotional investment in the story wasn't there. If for some reason I wasn't able to finish the book, I don't think I would have felt I lost anything by not finishing it.

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