Saturday, April 28, 2018

2 reviews - The Ninth Hour; Alice McDermott and The Nest; Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney


The Ninth Hour; Alice McDermott
Macmillan Audio - 2017

After reading a book by this author for my book group last year and enjoying it, I wanted to try another one of her novels.  The Ninth Hour is her most recent release (2017) and, although it was a beautifully told story, it was also quite depressing.

After Tim, a young Irish immigrant is fired from his job in Brooklyn, it's more than he can endure. Already unhappy with his marriage, he recently learned that his young wife is expecting their first child.  On a bleak, February day, he sends his wife to the store, opens the gas valve on the stove and takes his own life.

To comfort and asset his grieving wife, Sister St. Savior, of a local Catholic order of the sick and poor, enters the picture to help the widow, Annie. The Sister gives Annie a job in the convent laundry where her young daughter Sally is born and will grow up.

Set in the 20th century, I enjoyed reading about the roles these nuns played within a needy community at this time.  If you don't mind a sometimes downer of a story, try this one as it is beautifully rendered.  This would make a good discussion book.

Rating - 4.5/5

The Nest; Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Ecco - 2016


I actually read this book when it was first released and thought it was okay. So when my book group read it in the month of April, I just skimmed my notes and decided to reposted my review. (below)
The majority of my group, all senior aged women, really enjoyed this story and the in flawed characters behaving badly.

(may - 2016 review)

Grown siblings behaving badly is the central theme upon which, The Nest, has been built.

The four Plumb siblings, Leo, Jack, Bea and Melody have long thought about "the nest" they would inherit when Melody, the youngest, turned 40 and, that day is just months away. The watched the stock market soar and made plenty of plans for the money. They'd pay off mortgages, fund college tuitions and enjoy life more. However, as the saying goes, "don't count your chickens before they hatch."

Truth is Leo, the oldest and perhaps most irresponsible of the Plumb clan has chipped away at their inheritance, with the permission of their mother, Leo loves women, booze and drugs perhaps a bit too much. As the story begins he crashes his Porshe causing his young nineteen year old companion to lose a foot. This accident costs him plenty including money from "the nest" that the others were expecting. Now they expect Leo, the irresponsible, golden boy to pay up.

The characters are both quirky and unique and come alive on the pages as we learn about their drama and baggage. Their issues: parenting, relationships, finances, substance abuse etc. make some of them more likable than others. Some of their situations were funny, others seemed unrealistic. Perhaps I just don't have a clue about rich people who live beyond their means and then expect to be handed a golden spoon really behave.

I thought the set up for this story was great but, I found most of the characters either shallow or annoying. Family dysfunction is a topic I generally love to read about and I was enjoying the Plumb clan but, I felt a huge disappointment by the way this novel wrapped up. 

Rating - 3.5/5 stars

14 comments:

  1. I like the sound of both. I think I'll see if my library has the first one.

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  2. Vicki, it was a good story, just sad at times.

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  3. Diane, thank you for sharing your thoughts about these two books. I am more familiar with The Nest. I hope you are enjoying the weekend!

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    1. Yes, The Nest has been hotly discussed in all reading circles. Hope you have a nice weekend as well.

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  4. The Alice McDermott sounds really good; that's a tough time to write about, but if done well it is so captivating.

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    1. It really was a different time. This author really writes well.

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  5. I think I'd like The Ninth Hour and my mom would too.

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  6. One pretty good and another not too bad, sweet!

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  7. Both of these sounds good. The Nest has been on my radar for awhile but I missed The Ninth Hour so I'll be adding that too!

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  8. I enjoyed The Nest in print, maybe a little more than you did. The Ninth Hour sounds good, too... adding to my list.

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  9. I have read and love some Alice McDermott books and have The Ninth Hour on my lists.

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  10. Your thoughts on The Ninth Hour reminded me a bit of when our book club read Lilli De Jong a few months ago. So much to talk about but so depressing. I bet my book club would love it, lol!

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