Thursday, September 6, 2012

Love Anthony, Lisa Genova

Title: Love Anthony
Author:  Lisa Genova
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books / Simon and Schuster
Edition: eGalley
Setting:  Massachusetts
Source: Edelweiss
Date Completed: September/2012
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend:  yes

As a fan of Lisa Genova's Still Alice, a moving novel about a woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. I was anxious to see how she tackled the topic of Autism in, Love Anthony which releases later this month.

The story itself was more about the curve-balls life sometimes throws us and how sometimes if we pull ourselves up, it is possible to rebuild our lives and become stronger because of it.  The story takes place pretty much over a summer on the island of Nantucket. It involves a chance meeting of two women who are each dealing with a painful situation in their life.

Beth Ellis, is a wife and mother of three young girls who has experienced life dissapointments before. Her mother died several years earlier of breast cancer, just before Beth married Jimmy.  Now Jimmy has moved out and has been involved with a younger woman. Beth is trying to deal with situation by focusing on her girls. At times she drinks a bit too much, she spends time journaling and decides to try to write a novel. For her novel Beth decides to write about a little boy with autism.  It isn't until later that realizes that her inspiration came from a mother and her young boy that she had witnessed on the beach in Nantucket years earlier.

Olivia Donatelli is separated from her husband and has taken up photography while living on Nantucket. She is trying to ease the pain she feels with the loss of her son Anthony at the young age of 8.  Anthony was autistic, and years earlier it was Olivia and Anthony that Beth had seen on the beach. It was this mother and son who inspired Beth to write her novel, and it is through Beth's novel that the reader hears the unspoken thoughts of a little boy with autism, a little boy who never verbalized his thoughts when he was alive.

At the heart of this story we find two women trying to reach a point of acceptance in their lives given their current situation. Beth's character seemed a bit superficial to me, and I found it hard to connect with her story.  Olivia's story was more compelling. she was a mother seeking answers to the question, "what was her son's purpose here on this earth". "Why was he born with autism and then taken away at such a young age?"  I will admit that hearing Anthony's thoughts through Beth's book were touching. The epilogue did make me tear up a bit as well, and to me it was one of the best parts of the novel.  Love Anthony, is a good story, but I did have some issues with it. The biggest issue for me was that the novel, at times, had almost a almost chick-lit feel to it. Despite this it is still a story that many readers will be happy they read.

23 comments:

  1. Hm, I'm surprised this felt like chick lit. I've yet to try Genova's work and will probably give this a try.

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  2. Like Kathy, I have yet to try any of Genova's books. She sure goes for the heavy topics!

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  3. I now have her last two books to enjoy. I loved Still Alice..it quite literally broke my heart. I'm anxious to get to this one.

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  4. I still need to read Left Neglected by her, but do own it,

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  5. I loved Left Neglected....I only skimmed your review of this book by Genova since I just started writing one for it myself after getting it from Amazon Vine.

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  6. I'm also behind the times with Lisa Genova; I need to catch up! I love the Boston area and my husband is from there as well, so I guess that's why I'm always drawn to books set in the Commonwealth.

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  7. I loved Still Alice...was less impressed with Left Neglected...not sure abou this one.

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  8. I love this author's works. STILL ALICE was so very touching, but I had personal experience with dealing with Alzheimer's. LEFT NEGLECTED didn't hit me quite as hard, but I learned about a neurological condition that I didn't even know existed. Autism is certainly a timely topic and I look forward to seeing how Ms. Genova presents it to us. I'd probably try anything she'd like to write. :-)

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  9. I definitely got an impression of atthevery least, "women's fiction" from your review. I really have to be in the right mood for that!

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    1. Yes,women's fiction definitely. don't get me wrong it's still a good story but just a departure from what I like to read most for me.

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  10. Sounds like a very moving story. The cover reminds me of my friend Hilary at FeelingBeachie.com

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  11. I had read "Left Neglected" by Lisa Genova. Her writing is powerful and she isn't afraid to tackle the tough subjects.

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  12. I will be reading this book. I am sure it will be emotional as I held on to a friend as she came to terms with her son being autistic almost 20 years ago and since then have had two other friends deal with the same diagnosis.

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  13. I've heard this one is quite different from her other books, and for that reason I haven't made it a priority on my reading list.

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  14. I loved 'Still Alice', but this sounds a little too chick lit for me.

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  15. I just finished this too and I did feel it was a departure for Genova -- more "novely" than "clinical" like her other books. Plus there was the woo-woo factor that didn't always work for me. Still, I think she did a good job writing about autism from the point of view of the person experiencing it -- I think that is where she excels. I suspect that Still Alice will always be her best book but I admire that she is trying to grow as a writer.

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  16. Not what I expected at all. I thought it would be about raising a child who happens to be autistic. Thank you for telling about the other facets. I'm so not interested. It sounds like the type of book I run a mile from.
    Thanks for your great review.

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  17. This one sounds mixed to me. If I could read one part of the story (Olivia's) I think I would enjoy it, but not so sure about Beth's.

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  18. Are you still on a blogging break? I miss your Saturday Snapshot.

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  19. Even though I have had Left Neglected on Sparky for quite awhile, Love Anthony was my first Genova read. I enjoyed it....and now can dive into Left Neglected, knowing I am in for a treat.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  20. I finished this last month and haven't had a chance to write my review, but I went ahead and read yours to see what you thought. Yes, it did feel a little more like "women's fiction" than her previous novels. And the coincidences that revolved around the real Anthony and the fictional Anthony were a bit of a stretch, but I loved his "voice" in the Beth's novel. I think Genova does a remarkable job educating her readers about those suffering from various brain injuries, diseases or conditions. I can't begin to guess what her 4th novel will entail, can you?

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  21. Am reading my first Genova book,Left Neglected, now and am enjoying it so far even though I am only about 1/4 of the way into the story.

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  22. Sounds like an interesting novel. I just loved Still Alice, but haven't had a chance to read Genova's two newer novels.

    Thanks for the thorough and well-written review, as always!

    Sue

    Book By Book

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