Monday, May 15, 2017

Love Anthony & Just Like Other Daughters - Reshelved Books

Hello everyone!  Today I am offering you all a 2 for the price of 1 book review.  These two books tackle the subject of disablities in the forms of Autism and Downs Syndrome, focusing on their effects on family relationships.  



Love Anthony by Lisa Genova tells the stories of two women, Olivia, who's son Anthony was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3 and passes away shortly after from causes the reader is not sure of until the very end, and Beth, a woman with three daughters who is struggling with the infidelity of her husband.   I had read an AR copy of this book so I'm not sure how the finalized published draft has or had changed.  However, the back summary on my copy of the book only mentions the storyline with Olivia, which I found to be interesting because the novel opens with Beth and the discovery that her husband had cheated.  What ties the two story lines together is Beth's writing of a novel inspired by Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, and who's main character is a boy with Autism.   While I enjoyed this book, I struggled to finish it.  This could easily be because I have been working long nights on cleaning and fixing up my new home.  I. Am. Exhausted. But honestly, the book just didn't wow me.  I found myself skimming through the sections of Beth's novel, and when I was more than halfway through, didn't really feel like I learned anything more about the characters than I had already found out in the beginning.  Up until tonight I was going to give this book a rating of 2.5 out of 5 Coffee beans, but once I got to page 250 the book did pick up.  I really did enjoy the ending.   So For the Love of Dewey Readers, for this book I am going to give 3 out of 5 Coffee Beans.  That being said, my Grandma also read this book and gave it 5.   

Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner... why did it take me so long to start this book?  I used to read 2 books a week.  What is wrong with me?  And this was a library copy for Pete's sake!...  This is the second book I have read and reviewed by Faulkner.  I absolutely LOVED Julia's Daughters, so was excited to give another book by Faulkner a try.  I was not disappointed.  Just Like Other Daughters is similar to Love Anthony, where character Alicia struggles with her daughter Chole's Down Syndrome.  It shows the struggle that Chole's diagnosis has placed on her family, contributing to Alicia's divorce from Chole's father, as well as a difficulty in her dating life.  Unlike Love Anthony, which gives the reader an inside perspective on the thought process of a boy with autism through Beth's fictional tale, Just Like Other Daughters allows the reader to hear the same story both from Alicia's voice and from Chole's.  One thing that really made this novel stand apart was how it explores the ideas of love and of romantic relationships between mentally disabled adults.  While reading this book, I had taken a break to skim through GoodReads reviews.  I wanted to see if other readers were loving this book as much as I was.  One review made me pause, it read, "This book angered me."  I know I shouldn't have, but I read the comments to that review and it sort of spoiled the ending.  While I didn't necessarily love the ending, it did not anger me.  This book really made me think about love, about relationships, and about life. Therefore, I am going to give a rating of 4.5 out of 5 Coffee Beans.     

Happy Reading!

~Jessica 

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