Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Book Reviews: The Hour I First Believed and Midwives

In an effort to spend more time reading, I created a 2010 Reading Plan.

I'm happy to report that so far I am on track, reading one book a month so far (although I did shift the order a little bit.) So, I thought I'd bring you my first two book reviews of 2010.

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is the author of one of my very favorite books ever, "I Know This Much is True." Although I didn't like, 'The Hour I First Believed" as much as, "I Know This Much is True", I still thought it was a really good read.

The book follows the journey a fictional husband and wife as they experience several real-life events: the Columbine shooting, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, and many more.
The book is divided into two parts. The first section tackles the incredibly difficult and painful topic of the April 1999 Columbine High shootings and the personal impact that day had on the main character and his wife. The first part of the book is a study in the chaos and meaningless-ness of life.

The second part both moves the story for these individuals forward 9 years as well as in reverse over several generations of the main character ancestors through newly found family memorabilia. The second part of the book is the journey to find meaning and purpose in a seemingly chaotic life.

Overall grade: 4 stars (out of five)

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

The book is set in 1981 where Sibyl Danforth is a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont. One treacherous winter night, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby's life and performs an emergency c-section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. Soon Sibyl is accused of murder and because her assistant believes the mother was not actually dead. Sibyl stands trail for murder and faces the antagonism of the state, the hostility of traditional doctors, and even the demons of her own conscience.

I really enjoyed reading more about midwifery and homebirthing, since that topic has interested me a lot lately. Overall, the plot was very engaging, but I felt the courtroom scenes dragged on a little and were a bit predicable.

Overall grade: 4 stars (out of five)


acdc080109 said...

I read the hour i first believed a few months ago and enjoyed it too. I thought that the second half of the book was inspiring. They were able to get through so much!

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

I always love good book reccs, especially with a 10 hour car ride ahead of me this weekend! I have another Wally Lamb book lined up already, but I will have to check that one out. I think he's a great writer!

California Wife said...

Love your reading plan and book reviews! The Hour I First Believed sounds great, I'll have to add it to my list. I keep track of all of the books I have read, and a list of what I want to read using Shelfari. Have you ever used a site like that? It's kind of fun to keep track if you're a big reader.

Sara said...

I've read these botha dn really enjoyed them. It's been a long time though and I might need to revisit them.

Ink Obsession Designs said...

I thought both of these were great. Midwives is one of my favorite books!

LittleMissDreamer said...

the first book sounds really good.. but sad

Linda said...

I really like Midwives. I read it a long time ago. I've never read any of Wally Lamb's books mostly cause of the length. But this one sounds so good!

Brittany Ann said...

I really want to read Midwives! I read The Hour I First Believed. I totally agree with you summary of it, too!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

That first book sounds really good. I'm adding it to my read list!

Lucky in Love said...

I've had both those Wally Lamb books you mentioned on my shelf waiting to read since last year! I've been shying away from them because they were so long :) Ha! But I want to read them!!

Emily said...

hmm I think I need to read the first one:) great reviews my friend:)

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