Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pride and Prejudice voted Britain's Best Read

Britons' 100 favourite books - I've actually all of them except for the "His Dark Materials" Trilogy by Philip Pullman:-) It used to be I'd get these lists and maybe have read one or two. I must be getting old!


Jane Austen Season!!

A Jane Austen season including remakes of Northanger Abby, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park will be shown this spring in Great Britian. Lucky for us, these movies will be coming to PBS on Masterpiece Theatre this fall. As well as a BBC remake of Sense and Sensibility. YEAH!!! I love Jane Austen films!! For a sneak peek, please view the link above.

Nacho Libre

I know what you are thinking . . . Nacho Libre does not seem like a Laura kind of movie at all. Ben really wanted to watch it, and it was his birthday so I watched it with him. Having no expectations at all for the movie, I found myself pleasantly surprised and entertained. It was definitely not the world's best movie, but it was an enjoyable movie to watch - and one that you could enjoy with your whole family.

The movie tells the tale of Nacho (Jack Black) who was an orphan raised at a Mexican monastary. He grows up and becomes a cook and friar, but dreams of being a wrestler. He also has a forbidden love for a nun.

If you watch this movie, don't expect a masterpiece, but do expect to be entertained.

New Star Trek Movie!

The new Star Trek movie has a release date of Christmas 2008. I am so excited! It is being directed by J.J. Abrahms - one of the creators of Lost so I am VERY excited to see what direction he takes it in. It is going to be about Kirk and Spock in Starfleet Academy and then on their first mission. It's been rumored that Matt Damon will be Kirk. I was bitter about this for awhile since he is too old to be a young Kirk, but Derek Stewart pointed out that he does have that baby face and is a good actor - so I should be willing to go with it:-);_ylt=Ai9UBgtVD6clUaJzWCmgt_5xFb8C

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Boy Next Door by Meggin Cabot

I started this book yesterday . . . and finished it today. And I've been super busy with work! It's an enjoyable fast read chick lit novel that is really hard to put down once you get into it! The Boy Next Door is a novel told exclusively by emails - kind of like an old novel that is told by letters. I was wary of the format at first, but it actually worked out quite well.

I also enjoyed the Star Wars quotes in it, but they assigned the quotes to the wrong movie! The famous, "I Love You," Han Solo, "I Know" Princess Leia occurs in Empire Strikes Back, not Return of the Jedi! I know it's chick lit, but you think someone would have checked that during editing:-)

What is this book about? Here is the Publisher's Weekly summary of the story:

In her debut adult novel, Cabot (known for her extremely successful young adult fiction series the Princess Diaries, published under the name Meg Cabot) relies entirely on highly amusing e-mails to tell a fetching meet-cute story. New York City gossip columnist Melissa Fuller is known for being obsessive about Winona Ryder, dating the wrong men and being tardy for work. Arriving particularly late one morning, she explains to her colleagues at the New York Journal that she was detained by the attempted murder of her elderly next-door neighbor, Mrs. Friedlander, who is in a coma. Always the good girl, Mel has volunteered to take care of Mrs. Friedlander's many pets until the neighbor's nephew Max, a famous fashion photographer, can be reached. Her co-workers warn her about Max, a notorious lady's man. Contrary to the gossip, when she meets Max he is down to earth, funny and kind. Despite the strange fact that he likes to be called John and appears to be between photo shoots, she begins to date him and learns that he shares her love for Stephen King novels and natural disasters. It doesn't take long for her to fall head over heels, or for Mel's mom to write, "Get a ring on your finger before you uncross those legs, sweetie." When a mysterious e-mail arrives explaining that there is more to her beau than meets the eye, she is duly upset and uses the power of her pen to get even. But when Mrs. Friedlander's attacker returns, will Mel and Max be able to put their differences aside to catch a killer? Full of clever e-mail banter and tongue-in-cheek humor, this cheeky novel should be enjoyed in one sitting.

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

Since I was on a mystery/Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys kick from my last book club meeting, I thought I'd read Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women who created her, a non-fiction book that's been on my to-read list since it came out last year.

I liked this book, it was very interesting. It tells the story of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and how it started such classic children's book series as the Bobsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. Specifically the book tells the story of Harriet Statemeyer Adams, a housewife who became the CEO of the Syndicate in the 1930's after her father's death, and also Mildred Wirt Benson, the original ghost writer for the Nancy Drew series. Both women were extradinary women for their times and I had fun reading about them.

It was also interesting that there is or ever has been a Carolyn Keene. Harriet, her sister, and her father came up with the names for the Nancy Drew novels and also the outlines for the storys. Mildred then wrote in the story. Without both parts, you wouldn't have the Nancy Drew that we know today.

Also of interest was that in the 1950's and 1960's, the early Nancy Drew stories were edited and changed. They made them more PC by taking out racial slurs, and also more up to date by taking out antiquated expressions. It would be okay if they stopped there, but they also shortened the novels considerably - and in some cases, totally rewrote them. So the Nancy Drew stories that I read are not the same as what Grandma Arlt read! I'm really interested in reading both versions. You can buy the old versions online, but sadly my library system doesn't have them:-(

I've always wondered why they still sell the old Nancy Drew's as hardbacks. It turns out that in 1980, Harriet broke off from her old publisher, Grossap and Dunlap, and moved over to Simon and Schuster for a bigger pay check. I guess Grossap had not changed the rates maybe ever for the Nancy Drew books through the passage of time and popularity. There was a giant court battle and Grossap won the right to sell the old titles only in hard back forever while all new titles would be at Simon and Schuster. So that's why they are still hardback in our paperback world!

I enjoyed the book, except for a lag in the first quarter where the author was setting up the history of women's rights and society in general before the introduction of Nancy. I could see what she was getting at, but I really just wanted to read about Nancy!

It's a good book for anyone who ever loved Nancy Drew as a child.

BSG - A Day in the Life

I got a bit behind on my favorite show this week as Ben was out of town for work so I had to wait until he returned to watch it. This episode was another "slow" one that didn't have any Cylons in it, but focused on "a day in the life," or a "normal" day on the ship.

I liked the episode a lot, mostly as I think it apealed to me emotionally as a Mom. Cally and the Chief are having marital woes mostly to do with both of them working too much and not spending enough time with their young son. Chief assigns Cally to work with him on an air lock, which does not make Cally happy. (She'd rather be with their son). While they are at work, a leak is detected in the air lock and the doors are automatically locked. They slowly, and then quickly start losing air and it is up to the BSG crew to save them. SPOILER - I must say, the action sequence where they open the air lock to space and are able to get Cally and the Chief into the ship was pretty exciting. I was also touched when Chief had the baby and they were looking at Cally in the hypothermia chamber. They were a family together and it made the Chief realize what's really important in life. I was ready to cry (I've turned into my mother!), but didn't want Ben to see the tears so I held back!

The other storyline in this episode was that it is Adama's anniversary. He has his ex-wife Caroline in his head as he thinks about the problems with their marriage and goes about his day. I didn't really care for him talking to the Caroline in his head. It reminded me too much of Balter. An interesting development was that we learn from a heated conversation with Lee, that although we had assumed Lee had Daddy issues only in the past, it turns out he had Mommy issues too. Adama left Lee with Caroline and it turns out Caroline was an abusive alcoholic. This made me wonder about Lee's attraction to Starbuck. Maybe a bit of Oedipus syndrome?

Two points annoyed me during this episode even though I try not to be too picky. One was the fact that there was no safety overide on the airlock to allow for the even that people may get trapped in it. I know the airlock was in rough shape - but still - they made it out like this is the way it would always be even if it were working correctly. The other point was, why was Helo in the briefing room with the pilots? I thought last week he was the Mayor of Dog City? And before that he was working on the bridge. I am so confused . . . !


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lady in the Water

I watched Lady in the Water, M. Night Shymalan's new movie last weekend. I am a fan of Shymalan's previous movies, but I felt rather indifferent about this one. Ben didn't like it at first, but by the end, he enjoyed it - more than I did. The story just didn't capture me, which is strange since I usually like anything to do with fairy tales.

This movie was about an apartment superintendent that discovers a lady who he thinks is sneaking into the pool to swim. Instead he discovers that she is a nymph who inspires a writer and is part of a fairy tale that an all knowing Chinese lady tells.

If you liked this movie, why did you? Would you recommend I watch it again some other time or think about it in a different way?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada

I just watched The Devil Wears Prada over the weekend and enjoyed it. I had listened to the book on tape a couple of years ago when I was doing some rather boring HEC-2 (a DOS based hydraulic program) at work and needed to be entertained so I could stay focused. I really enjoyed the book on tape. The characters in the movie were not exactly how I pictured them, but I was willing to go with it.

This is basically the story of a newly graduated journalist, Andy (Andrea), who can't seem to get a job for any of the magazines she'd love to work for, like The New Yorker. She interviews for a job at a fashion magazine, Runway, and amazingly gets the job. The bad thing is, she is not actually writing any articles - she's an assistant to the boss from hell, Miranda Priestly. Much hilarity ensues. Andy (who is played by Anne Hathaway) eventually goes through a transformation from fashionless fun loving girl, to fashionista who's only life is her job. I did enjoy seeing her new outfits and look . . . but since it was Anne Hathaway, I kept thinking about The Princess Diaries during those scenes.

I must admit, I am not a Meryl Streep fan. She seems highly overrated to me. As I watched the movie, I was confused on why she got a best actress nomination. Then I got to the end of the movie. At the end, you finally saw the Ice Queen's vulnerable side . . . and her strengths. It made me actually like Miranda in a way (what a strong woman!), something I didn't do when only listening to the book. I was surprised!!

One thing I didn't like . . . it's the running joke throughout the movie that Andy is "fat" because she's a size six and all of the models are size 0-4. At the end, they actually have Andy lose weight and become a size 4 which one of the designer applauds her for doing. Hello - leave it that it's a joke that size 6 is not fat - don't have her cave in! And we wonder why people are anorexic!

Overall, it was a good chick flick. I watched it without Ben because it didn't really seem like a Ben kind of movie:-)

Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives is probably my third favorite TV show. During Season 2 it started to lose me, but Season 3 has been excellent. Did anyone else think that Sunday's episode seemed like the Season finale. I know they needed to ty up Marcia Cross' story line because of her pregnancy, but what do they do now that the mystery is solved? I loved the episode though, and I'm glad that Orson is innocent!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lost - "Flashes Before Your Eyes"

Lost really seems to be back on track! I enjoyed the last episode and was happy to see that they are going back to the characters that I love. The flashback (if you could call it that!) was about Desmond this week. It seems that when the hatch exploded, Desmond not only saw his life flash before his eyes, but he at least thinks he went back in time and was living in the happy days with Penny. In order to save the world though, a scary old lady told him he needed to live it the way he had originally, so he gives up Penny and chooses to go the same path. Back on the island, Desmond can now see the future. Surprisingly we find out he is not trying to save Claire . . . but Charlie from eminent death. NOT CHARLIE!!! I love Charlie. I hope Desmond keeps on saving him because I would really hate for Charlie to go.

I keep reading about Lost having lost it's ratings . . . the show is still one of the best shows on TV - I hope this doesn't lead to its premature cancellation. Hopefully they can either pick it back up this season or fix it next season (a la Desperate Housewives). I hate when producers screw with time changes, strange season break-ups, and a slow season fall start-up and then everyone cries when the ratings are down. Sigh . . . don't mess with something when it works!! And having 12 million viewers is not bad!!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

The Ruby in the Smoke is a Young Adult Mystery novel set in Victorian England. It is also the basis for a Masterpiece Theatre movie a couple of weeks ago starting Billie Piper (Doctor Who) as the young heroine, Sally Lockhart. I didn't want to watch the movie until after I had read the novel so I ordered it from the library [the Kewaunee library is small (a lot smaller than Milwaukee, but bigger than Union City) so I often order a lot of the books I want to read or movies I want to watch from other libraries through the interlibrary loan system].

I thought this book was very entertaining and had one of the best opening lines ever . . . "Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man." Sally spends the book trying to solve the mystery of her father's murder and the secret's of her childhood. The book deals with a mysterious ruby as well as the opium trade. I know I'm getting old when I get disturbed about a teenage book involving the opium trade! :-) I really liked this book and hope to read the next three in the series.

Has anyone else read any Philip Pullman books? I see that he is the author of The Golden Compass, which is a fantasy movie coming out in December with Nicole Kidman in it. Is that a good book?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Jane Eyre (2007)

I love Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Jane Eyre was on it last month in a two-part, four hour mini-series. I just finished watching it earlier this week (I had recorded it on my DVR).

I LOVED this new version of Jane Eyre and thought it was the best version so far. I thought Jane and Rochester were cast perfectly. And I like how it was four hours long versus a two hour movie so they could include most of the highlights of the book, including Jane's time spent with the Rivers. This mini-series didn't follow the book exactly, but I thought it's changes were good. I loved the passion between Jane and Rochester. I also liked how Bertha was portrayed as a beautiful, but mad woman. She looked more like someone that Rochester would have fallen in love with versus the usual scary looking mad lady you see in the movies. I also liked how the movie was tied together with the painting of the portrait at the beginning and the end of the mini-series. Jane was not part of the family at the beginning, but by the end she had her own family. Overall I thought this version of Jane Eyre was excellent.

If you missed Jane Eyre, the DVD is coming out next week (I think) and you can probably check it out at your local library after that point.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Hardy Boys #1: The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon

Why is Laura reading the Hardy Boys you might ask. Well, it's actually for my Kewaunee book club this month. John, one of the book club members, says that he's getting spring fever and is thinking about gardening therefore he wanted to read a quick mystery. When I look out the window and see the snow falling today, spring is far from my mind - but whatever! We had been discussing childrens' novels previous to that and found out John had never read a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novel. We thought that was a crime and decided to have "read any Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novel" this month.

When I was a kid, I LOVED Nancy Drew novels. Luckily the Union City library had all of the originals (and the paperback 1970's ones too) and I read them all. I also loved the updated (well at the time) Casefiles and read them too.

Although I loved Nancy Drew, I never actually read a Hardy Boys novel. So for my book club pick, I chose to start from the beginning and learn what the Hardy Boys are all about.

The Tower Treasure was an enjoyable book. I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot, and the innocence of the Hardy Boys. For those of you, like me, that don't know anything about the Hardy Boys, Frank is the oldest with dark hair and is 18, while Joe is 16 with blonde hair. Their father is the famous detective Fenton Hardy, and was once on the New York Police Force. Their mother, Laura, is a homemaker. They live in the fictional city of Bayport.

In this book, their first mystery, Frank and Joe are almost run over by a crazy driver as they ride their motorcycles on a mountain. They later spot this car smashed along side the road. The mystery driver then steals their friend Chet's bright yellow car, nicknamed "The Queen." The beginning of the book is focused on locating "The Queen," until a robbery at the Tower mansion. The owner of the mansion, Hurd Applegate, accuses his gardener, Mr. Robinson, of the crime and fires him. Mr. Robinson's son, Slim, is a classmate of the Hardy Boys. He is a smart guy and wants to go to college, but has to quit school to support his family after Mr. Robinson is fired. The Hardy Boys want to help out the Robinson family and win the $1000 reward from Mr. Applegate so they are on the case.

I enjoyed reading the novel, but I still think that Nancy Drew is better than the Hardy Boys . . .anyone else beg to differ? Also, does anyone else think that the picture of the Hardy Boys on "The Tower Treasure" makes them look like they are about 10 years old, not 16 and 18?

Doctor Who

Does anyone else love Doctor Who? Ben and I really enjoy it. We got a bit behind on watching Season 2 and just finished it up this past weekend (got to love DVRs - I know I wouldn't watch quite as much TV without it!). I love it's quarky British humor. I was a bit sad at the start of this season since there was a new Doctor and I loved the old one so much. The new Doctor though is pretty funny in his own way and I've grown to enjoy watching him.

Now my new sadness at the end of Season 2 is how the show is going to go on without Rose and her cast of supporting characters (Mickey, Mom, Dad). I loved Rose!! I know that Billie Piper wanted to move on, but what was not to like about becoming a star in England from being on Doctor Who? I love Masterpiece Theatre and I'm thrilled to see that Billie Piper is in a lot of different past and upcoming productions, but I would have much rather had her stay on Doctor Who. Oh well!

I guess it's a testiment for how good the show is that it can replace the lead characters and continue on, and I still enjoy watching it.

Are there any other Doctor Who fans out there?

Monday, February 12, 2007

BSG - The Woman King

Last night's episode of BSG centered on Helo (Karl Agathon) and his management of a cube city of refugees on Battlestar. Why are there so many refugees on Battlestar? Ben and I were not clear on that point and why more just keep on coming. The new round of refugee arrivals were Sagittarons, a group that seems to be generally hated by all other colonists. They do not believe in medicine and have brought a disease on board that can be cured if a shot is injected in time. There are not enough shots for everyone, so it is decided just to inject people with it after they start showing the first symptoms. Dr. Mike Robert is the civilian doctor who is working in cube world, and he has a racist attitude toward the Sagittarons. He also is one of the only people who has nice things to say about Helo.

Helo starts to suspect Dr. Robert may be killing the Sagittarons as different people start to complain to him about suspicious deaths Helo tried to tell Adama and Tigh and the fleet doctor, but no one believed him.

This episode dealt with racial issues and how people get along with different believes. I like the episode, but Ben did not. I think it's because I like Helo, and he does not. Even though Helo is probably not the best officer (since he's constantly disobeying orders), I like him for doing what he believes in. He loves Sharon even though she's a Cylon and sticks with her and their baby, Hera. I like that Helo stuck up for the Sagittarons even though he didn't like them himself, because it was the right thing to do.

Other points of interest in this episode - Caprica Six had a talking Baltar in her head, which was very amusing to watch. I can't wait to see how this plays out. Why does Baltar always see Caprica Six, and vice versa? I can't wait to find out.

Also although there were a few loaded stares between Starbuck and Apolla, the love quadrangle has been put to rest for now. I'm all for a good love story, but their story had been dragging on for too long without resolution. I'll admit, since the show started, I loved the sexual tension between Starbuck and Apollo and wanted them to get together. But then Sam came into the picture. He's a hot loyal husband, who is totally in love with Starbuck. I can't see why she would want to throw that away. The Dee and Apollo romance I'm ready to see thrown away as it just annoys me. Ben and I are both bitter that they killed Billy off just so that they could make the way for Dee and Apollo to get together. Billy and Dee had such a sweet romance. Anyway - enough about the BSG Young and the Restless.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Did others like it? Are others glad to see the romance getting "put to bed" for now? Why do you think Caprica Six has a talking Baltar and vice versa?

Lost - Entertainment Weekly

Lost is the cover story this week in Entertainment Weekly if you'd like to pick up an issue and find out more details about the show. I know I was just excited when I pulled it out of my mailbox!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Measure of Man by Sidney Poitier

I just finished Oprah's latest book club selection, The Measure of a Man, by Sidney Poitier. I must admit, I knew who Sidney Poitier was, a legend, but I have only seen one of his films, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. And I just watched that film for the first time this year while on maternity leave. One thing I like about Oprah's book club is that it introduces me to books I might not normally read.

This book is not a straight out biography. Mr. Poitier talks about his life in general and waxes philosphically on his thoughts about life, the universe, raising children, the duality of humans, etc. It was an interesting read. For Mr. Poitier and his father, the measure of a man is how well he takes care of his children - which is a good philosophy.

I think I would have liked the book better if I were a huge Sydney Poitier fan like Oprah. I would be happy if Oprah picked a classic book again for her next pick (as long as it's not Faulkner) and picked books at a quicker interval . . .

Has anyone else read this yet? If so - what did you think? Did you get more out of it then me?

Lost - DVD or "Live"?

Thoughts on Lost . . . do you think you get more out of it being able to watch new episodes back to back on DVD versus watching it on TV when there are giant breaks or periods of repeats (at least in the first two seasons)?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Lost - "Not in Portland"

Lost is my second favorite show (since you all know I LOVE Battlestar and it's my absolute favorite show) and I have a love/hate relationship with it. Season 1 was excellent, starting with the fantastic pilot. Season 2 I started to get kind of angry with the show. What was the point of the tailies since all of them ended up dying except for Bernard whom we never see? I felt like I got emotionally invested for no reason. Plus the back stories were not quite as interesting as season 1, especially Jack's.

The start of Season 3 seemed to be putting a nail in the coffin for my second favorite show. The first six episodes were slow and did not seem to be advancing the plot. They also focused on Jack, Sawyer, and Kate as they were being held prisoner by "The Others". Since I think Jack and Kate are two of the least interesting characters on the show, it really did not do much for me. Where was John Locke, Charlie, Sayhid, Hurley, Claire, etc.? I LOVE them and they never seem to do many back stories on them or even show them at all. Jack's back stories were very boring and did not seem to be integral to the plot as the season 1 back stories were. Plus they killed Mr. Ecko who was one of my favorite characters for apparently no reason. Luckily at the end of the six episode arc, they actually had an exciting finale where Jack is operating on Ben (the leader of the evil others) and has made a cut in Ben's kidney that will kill him in one hour unless "The Others" release Kate and Sawyer.

After a long hiatus, Lost was back last night with an episode entitled "Not in Portland." It was a great episode and it gives me hope that the show is back on track. The back story was on Juliet (one of the Others) and actually helped to advance the plot and answer some questions, more in the tradition of some of the great Season 1 back stories.

If you haven't watched it yet, do not read the following!

In this episode, there was much action and we learned a lot. Sawyer and Kate escaped with the help of Juliet, who was coerced into helping them by a concious Ben. In Juliet's back story we learn that she is a gifted fertility doctor who was easily cowed by her ex-husband. She is woed by who we think is the Hanso Foundation to move to Portland. She says she can't go unless her ex is hit by a bus . . . and then he surprisingly is later in the episode. Ethan and the other Hanso person come to get Juliet when she is in the morgue with her dead husband. They also tell her that it's not in Portland. . . which was a funny line. Juliet is also able to get her sick sister pregnant using stolen goods from a lab and asks if she can bring her sister with her. They say no.

Ben is able to get Juliet to help, but we can't hear what they are saying. At the end of the episode, Juliet tells Jack that Ben promised to let her go home . . . so we discover she is a captive too! Alex also helps Sawyer and Kate with their escape and we discover that she calls Ben "Dad." I'm assuming she just thinks Ben is her Dad as I thought she was the crazy French woman's daughter. Sawyer and Kate help Alex free her boyfriend in return for use of her boat. Her boyfriend is being held in some sort of mind altering room, my husband Ben said reminded him of A Clockwork Orange.

So what did we learn in this episode:

1. The Hanso Corporation recruited Juliet because she is a gifted fertility doctor and may have had something to do with Juliet's ex-husband's death.

2. Juliet is being held against her will on the "Others" Island.

3. Alex calls Ben Dad.

4. The Others have Mind altering techniques to brain wash people.

5. Mr. Friendly's name is Tom.

Did I miss anything? If so let me know. Also let me know if you think I'm wrong and Lost is not back on track!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a very good book - and a pretty fast read. I didn't have much time this past weekend to read with cleaning and cooking to get ready for the family coming in to town for Kile's 1st birthday party, but I somehow managed to squeeze in enough time to finish it last night!

This book has an interesting and different premise from most books. It starts in 1964 with a rare snow storm in Lexington, Kentucky at the same time as Norah Henry, the young wife of a bone doctor, David Henry goes into labor. David gets Norah to the doctor's office in time, but the doctor is unable to show up. A nurse, Caroline Gill, is able to make it to help David deliver his own child. Much to David's surprise, Norah not only delivers a healthy son (Paul), but a second child, a daughter (Phoebe) with Down's Syndrome. David panics seeing that his daugher has Down's Syndrome and sends her with Caroline to put her in an institution. He then tells Norah (who had been sedated during birth) that there daughter was stillborn. Caroline finds herself unable to put Phoebe in the institution and flees with the baby to Pittsburg and raises her as her own child.

After this riveting first chapter, the novel then tells the story of how Phoebe's absence affects that Henry family and how she enriches Caroline's life. The novel skips periods of five years or so at a time to advance the plot and ends in 1989. There were times when the novel seemed to be a bit slow and when I felt like I wanted to smack some of the main characters . . . and that is why I think of it as very good, but not great. But I figure any novel that makes me feel enough to want to smack a character, is pretty darn good.

I guess reasons why I got angry were why, why, why did David Henry not tell his wife about their baby? Why could he never open up about his past and let his family know the rough details of his childhood and other secrets so that he could also really let them know how much he loved them? I know Norah was sad about having a stillborn baby, but why did she feel the need to become an alcoholic or to have affairs? Caroline is supposed to be a good character for taking the baby, but I kept thinking, was it really good to take someone else's baby and not tell them? Why didn't she ever tell Norah? If she wouldn't have left with the baby, would David have changed his mind?

Although I think I liked David and Caroline's story lines the best, I did like Norah's evolution as a woman. In 1964 she just wanted to be taken care of, but by the 1970's, she was out trying to find a job and having a very successful career. I thought it was very interesting seeing how ideas and standards of living change over time.

This would be a great book club book with so many interesting things to discuss. If you've read this novel - let me know what you think!! What about it made you angry or did you especially like?