Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 - Book Review

Since Noah was born, I haven't read anything for pleasure.  Lots of news and lots of parenting article/books/blogs.  Lots of emails and lots of facebook.  But nothing for pleasure.  Until last week!  And maybe the reason I enjoyed the book so much was simply the fact that I was reading it for me (because the New York Times critic who reviewed it didn't like it that much!).  I even gave up a 2 hour nap when every other person in this household was asleep yesterday so that I could lay on the sofa and finish my book.  Good stuff!  So here it is, for better or worse, my review of this book, should you be interested.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2008).
Fiction.  Read it for my book club's August book.

This is a story that mostly takes place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), about the lives of two boys who were born to an Indian nun nurse and a British surgeon.  Their arrival was a surprise to everyone around them (who didn't know about one night of a love affair); their mother died in birth, their father abandoned them moments later, and they were raised by an Indian couple who were both doctors at that same hospital.  They were actually conjoined twins who were separated at birth, but spent their lives having some kind of super phenomenal connection to each other.  The book has a lot of medical jargon in it, but I found that the writer's medical descriptions were actually quite beautiful.  I also thought the beginning was a bit slow and hard to follow at first.  But, I loved the description of life inside this little African hospital. I particularly loved the characters who raised the twins as their own.  Of course the story gets complicated and tells a somewhat fictionalized version of political/historical events in Ethiopia and Eritrea, but that too was interesting to read.  Most of the story was not predictable, until the very end (a bit of a disappointment), and I found it had much to do with the human spirit, faith and exploring the definitions of family.  There were lots of great quotes in it and I also liked that there were moments in Nairobi, NYC and Boston in the novel (all the places I've lived!).  I don't think it was the greatest book I've ever read, but something in there spoke to me and I really enjoyed it.  


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