Monthly Archives: June 2016

Book Review: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson


I love Marilynne Robinson and count her among my favorite authors, but this book did not do much for me. I feel like I would probably get more out of it if I were to read it a second time, now that I understand where Robinson was going over the course of 300+ meandering, metaphorical pages, but to be honest, I’m not in a hurry to re-read Housekeeping. It didn’t hold my interest, and in fact, because I kept putting it down out of boredom, it took me over seven months to finish (hence, for the #VTReadingChallenge, I am using it for “A book you have started but never finished.”)

Housekeeping is beautifully descriptive, but it would be more palatable if it had more dialogue, more plot, and more interesting characters. I never really got into it; I never identified strongly with any of the characters.

If you are already a Marilynne Robinson fan, you might enjoy reading this book, originally published in 1980, to see how she has developed as an author. But be prepared to be a bit disappointed.



Book Review: The Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O’Connor


The Edge of Sadness is the most stunningly well-written book I have read in a long time. I needed to read “a novel that won the Pulitzer prize” for the #VTReadingChallenge, and the title of this one intrigued me. I briefly glanced at a synopsis and discovered that The Edge of Sadness is about an alcoholic priest. I was a little concerned that the book might be too depressing  or creepy (for what it’s worth, it is not), but I decided to give it a try anyway, and I’m glad I did.

It is easy to see why The Edge of Sadness received a Pulitzer. It has much to say about the human condition: the search for purpose, the yearning to be known, the constant temptation to retreat into one’s self and become isolated….

(Those ellipsis points are a jesting tribute to Edwin O’Connor’s annoyingly excessive use of ellipses throughout this book. Sometimes I just wanted him to finish a thought, darn it, instead of trailing off. But that’s a minor gripe about an otherwise fantastic book).