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Month in review

Reviews:
Bronte's Book Club by Kristiana Gregory
Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass
Destination Moon by Georges Remi Hergé
Doctor Who and the Three Doctors by Terrance Dicks
The Egyptian Box by Jane Louise Curry
Explorers on the Moon by Georges Remi Hergé
Fairy Glade and Other Enchanting Stories by Dawn Beaumont-Lane
Firehorn by Robert Reed
Fishing, for Christians by Tim Roux
The Girls by Helen Yglesias
The Glenn Miller Conspiracy by Hunton Downs
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Harriet's Hare by Dick King-Smith
I Spy Fantasy by Jean Marzollo
Land of Black Gold by Georges Remi Hergé
The Motorman's Coat by John Kessel
The Mouse, The Cat and Grandmother's Hat by Nancy Willard
Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman
Mysterious Magical Circus Family Kids: The Chocolate Cake Turkey Lip Crumb Trail Mystery Adventure by R. Hawk Starkey
Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
One Bright Star to Guide Them by Mark C. Wright
Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel
The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
A Rebel in Time by Harry Harrison
Retrograde Summer by John Varley
The Second Ship by Richard Phillips
The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
She and I: A Fugue by Michael R. Brown
The Vicar of Nibbleswicke by Roald Dahl
A Walk in the Rainforest by Kristin Joy Pratt
Warrior from Heaven by Kermit Zarley



Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Girls

The GirlsThe Girls: 07/16/09

The Girls by Helen Yglesias is about Jenny's trip from Bangor Maine to Miami Florida to be with her older sisters as they prepare for Naomi's death. The women range in age from eight to ninety-five.

The blurb in the book jacket says the book is here to fill the gap in contemporary fiction where there are no older woman as characters except as stock characters: the indulgent grandmother, the wicked witch and so forth. While that may have been the goal, I don't think The Girls succeeds.

My first problem I have is with their extreme age. I realize women do tend to live longer than men (and the brothers and husbands are all deceased) but it their age ranges just didn't seem believable for all they are doing. It seems to be trope in fiction that where there is one old character, he or she must come from a large and close family. The sisters from this book fall into that trope. Having Jenny coming to visit one, maybe two sisters, it would have been more believable than having a family reunion of four.

The second problem is Naomi's cancer. The odd thing about cancer is that the younger you are the more deadly it is. New, healthy cells mutate more in the presence of cancer than old and infirm ones do. Naomi at ninety five, may very well have breast cancer but it wouldn't be as well spread through body as it's described. Again, if all the sisters were fifteen to twenty years younger, the cancer would be a real and believable family tragedy.

The third problem is their attitude. I realize Helen Ygelsias was trying to create realistic older women by avoiding making them the old dearies that so often show up in fiction. Unfortunately she goes overboard in the other direction. For the entire book they bitch and mouth off at the world. They are rude. They are crude. They are bigoted. If the sisters hate the ethnic diversity of Miami so much why the hell are they still living there? Jenny is the only who can legitimately complain as she's the outsider. And complain she does, from the very first page to the very last page.

The only character I connected with at all and who truly struck me as a believable character was Eva. She's under medical treatment for something and the medicine has affected her appearance and her mental cognition. Despite all of this she's actually the nicest of the sisters. She genuinely cares for them and worries about them (although many of her worries are delusions).

While The Girls is a noble attempt at writing literary fiction with older women for an older audience I don't think it works.

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Comment #1: Thursday, July, 16, 2009 at 20:55:47

Anna

I don't think I'd enjoy this one. My gram is 91, and she only has one of 10 or so siblings left.



Comment #2: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 12:15:25

Pussreboots

That's the problem exactly. There might be one or two sibblings who have long lives but not every single one to such a long age. It would have been more belieable if the women in the book were 15 to 20 years younger.



Comment #3: Friday, July, 17, 2009 at 12:38:25

Kailana

Doesn't sound like my sort of read, but thanks for the review! If it were to tempt me I will know not to get it now.



Comment #4: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 12:19:03

Pussreboots

I liked the way Ygelesias wrote but I didn't connect with any of her characters or find the situation believable. If I come across another novel by the author I will give it a try.