Monday, May 23, 2011

Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris

This was a book club pick about a girl growing up in occupied France during WWII.  She returns to her childhood home as a widow hoping no one will recognize her as the young girl who's name she no longer uses because of the scandal that occurred with her Mother.  It's been a week since I finished reading AND participated in the book club discussion and I still don't know exactly how I feel about this book...  I really liked the story but there was so much anticipation and suspense built up around this big secret the main character had kept hidden forever that when I finally learned the truth it was almost a let-down.  I read this book (vs. listening to it) and I found all the french in it distracting.  I feel like I missed whole pieces of the book between not knowing all the food references and then not being able to interpret the sections in french or even know what some of the names of the characters should sound like in my head.  That alone was enough to knock this book from four stars down to three.  However, if you're looking for a book that keeps you guessing until the end with interesting characters this is still a book I would recommend for a quick and light read.

One thing I really liked was how the author showed us things that done by an adult would be appalling but when done by a nine year old child seemed almost harmless.  And the added layer of character development getting to see the same child grow to adulthood and look back on the role she may have played in her own Mother's actions was fabulous.  I loved the book club discussion and took away may other insights I hadn't come up with on my own - as always!

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