Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: Atlas Shrugged (Read Along (#AtlasRAL) – Part Three)

Atlas Shrugged PT 3

It’s the summer of the chunkster! A group of us decided to read Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) this summer and we have hit our last milestone which was to complete the book by August 15th. I am happy to say that I finished it a week before the deadline. Yes!

“You don’t have to see through the eyes of others, hold onto yours, stand on your own judgment, you know that what is, is–say it aloud, like the holiest of prayers, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
— Dagny Taggart

First, a few thoughts:

  • Of the three parts, this last part was my least favorite. Much of it seemed a little far-fetched and the romantic undertones were overly dramatic, in my opinion.
  • In the previous parts, we have the build-up of what’s about to go down to look forward to, but in this part, we see it happen and was it just me, or was it a bit anticlimactic? Maybe because we all knew what was coming?
  • THE BIG SPEECH, which is super long and everyone warned me about, was not all that long or maybe I was more into it than I thought. I had no problems with it and didn’t even skim.
  • There is one character in the book, a much liked character who doesn’t fare all that well by the end of the story. This made me sad and was a little surprising.

Atlas Shrugged RAL

It’s really hard for me to sum this book up because it’s so many things. While reading, your mind can’t help but ponder the ideas presented. That no one should live or produce for the good of others alone. That art, be it science, music or industry should continue on with a focus on creation, not so much what it can do for another person. Facts are facts, no matter what one hopes or desires. It all makes sense, but it’s still hard to wrap the brain around. You know?

In the end, it was a remarkable book. Much easier to read than I thought it would be. It gave me lots to think about but that romantic thread! I really could have done without it.

For those who took a leap and read it with me… Guess what guys? We are done!

Click here to read what I had to say about Part 1 and Part 2.

Review: Summerlong


By Dean Bakopoulos
(Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780062321169, June 2015, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

A very dark look at marriage in the midst of a midlife crisis. Heavily laced with tension but so hard to look away.

The Rest of It:

See that cover? Looking at it now, I’d say it hints at the trouble lurking between its pages but I bet a lot of readers picked this one up thinking it was a fun beach read. It is SO not that.

Nope. This one is about a marriage falling apart during a long, hot summer in Iowa. Don has a secret. His failures as a real estate agent have taken their toll and due to the insurmountable debt he’s created, he’s about to lose his home. Claire, aware of their financial troubles but not fully in the know over just how bad it’s gotten, doesn’t take the news all that well and becomes attracted to Charlie, who happens to be in town dealing with some property after his father’s death.

One evening, Don takes a walk in the neighborhood and meets a young woman who goes by the name ABC. She’s young and vibrant but grieving over a loss of her own. She’s working as a caretaker for a pot-smoking pistol of a lady who’s seen a thing or two in her day. ABC invites him in to light up and what seems totally out of character for Don, suddenly becomes a regular thing.

Don and Claire have so many issues. As parents, they find themselves so completely absorbed with their own problems, that they both end up leaving the house one night only to realize the next morning that they left their kids unattended.

Surprisingly, ABC and Charlie also have their own issues to deal with. These four people hook-up with each other, sometimes in surprising combinations but they are all searching for the same thing. Love, acceptance, redemption, peace.

I didn’t like Claire. She’s self-absorbed, bitchy and intent on being miserable. She’s one of THOSE people but sadly, I could relate to some of what she was going through. As Don tries his hardest to make things right, she continues to push him away and I wanted to slap her for it. Yeah, I guess I liked Don a lot.

I really loved this book. It’s dark because it paints such a real picture of a marriage in crisis but in between the crusty bits there’s hope, too. I love how the characters play off of one another. It’s so natural and effortless even though as a reader sometimes I caught myself thinking, “No! Don’t do it!”

Summer is typically a time for lighter, fluffier reads but not for me.  I prefer to sink my teeth into something with a little bite and this book satisfied all my wants.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
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