Tag Archives: Book Review

Review: The Laws of Harmony

I received a copy of The Laws of Harmony from Jennifer over at Book Club Girl as part of Book Club Girl’s on air show with Judith Hendricks. To hear a recording of the show, click here.

Here’s the blurb from Barnes & Noble:

“Sunny Cooper has been running since she was eighteen—from the New Mexican commune where she grew up . . . and from the haunting memory of the freak accident that took the life of her younger sister. Now, at thirty-two, Sunny voices radio spots in Albuquerque while struggling to hold on to a floundering relationship. But when a second tragic accident—and the devastating truths that come to light in its aftermath—turns her world upside down, Sunny runs again.

In the town of Harmony on San Miguel Island, she takes a new job, learns to ride a motorcycle, and makes some surprising new friends. But the past is never far behind. A startling discovery—along with an emotional and revelatory reunion with her estranged mother—is forcing Sunny to step out from the shadows of yesterday to embrace an uncertain future.”

My thoughts:

Sunny is a likable character. Albeit a bit scattered and not quite sure where her future will take her, but she’s easy to relate to and she is far from perfect. The story is told in three parts. The first part gives you the current, here and now info and includes some flashbacks to Sunny’s childhood growing up in a commune in New Mexico. Part two focuses on Sunny’s new life in the small town of Harmony, the friends she has made, her new job and the entire “rebuilding” process that must take place after a tragic loss. The third part focuses on resolution and her coming to terms with her new life and it’s all about her not having to rely on other people for her happiness or well being.

What was interesting to me is that the most well-developed characters were also the most supportive ones to Sunny. The characters that did little to support her, were not as well fleshed-out. To me, that worked and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was intentional on Hendricks part. An example of this would be Michael, Sunny’s boyfriend. We don’t see many sides to him and we are left wondering why she was ever drawn to him in the first place.

I also enjoyed reading about the vastly different climates. The dry, desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico versus the lush, green (fictional) town of Harmony in the Pacific Northwest. They were both appealing in their own ways. When she arrives in Harmony, you can almost smell the sea air and feel the sense of renewal that it brings.

I really enjoyed this book. If you’d like to read more about Judith Hendricks, click here to visit her website.

Review: Dreams From My Father

My book club met last night to discuss Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. Many of us were very excited to see this make our 2009 reading list.

Here’s the blurb from Barnes and Noble:

“Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.”

Obama can write! I always knew he was a great public speaker but his writing skills are really quite impressive. This is a well written, honest account of his experiences growing up as a boy and his struggle with race. It really makes you think about race and class struggles and how far we have come as a nation. Someone in my book group said “it’s really a study on how to be human” and I would have to agree. We are humans first and we all tend to forget that.

Although the opportunity was there to discuss or push an agenda, this did not happen with my group. The discussion was lively and well moderated and everyone agreed that it was worth reading. Give it a try!