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Mommyingtales

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A story of resilience and courage

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-21

Courage is not just doing heroic things, but also in facing your own fears and standing strong against them. The story of Paul shows how an aspiring, competent and genuine person faced with terminal cancer can still find meaning in life and go on to impact the life of others positively.

I liked how the story captured his journey and reason for getting into neuroscience and then his relentless efforts to make a positive mark in his field. When he is diagnosed with cancer, his resilience to fight it, to come back to surgery and to go on to create this book is truly infectious. The way Paul and Lucy struggle and support each other throught their relationship and events is also heartening aspect of the story. The fact that they bring KD into the world speaks volumes about their positivity.

A great book to lift your spirits up inspite of showing the fragility of life. Audible experience was good.

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Simple plot, intricate story, enchanting effect

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-03-21

This is my second Haruki Murakami book and first one from his fiction range. I absolutely loved the way he narrates the story and builds his characters and their storylines. While the plot seems quite simple to start with, the way he gets into the details of the personalities in his story is commendable. The characters Watanabe, Midori, Naoko, Reiko, Nagasawa, Hatsumi can be envisioned vividly through his words and you start relating to them, feeling for them and thinking like them once you get into the story.

Two best things about this book:
a) It captures all the small little things that are unique to the country/ city/ time/ culture it is set in. It makes you live the 1969 Japan through the series of anecdotes around city, political situation back then, weather/ scenery and most importantly the people and their lives. The last time I got such lively description of the far eastern culture was in Pachinko - another masterpiece.
b) The musical notes weaved in the story makes it truly sing to you. I got introduced to Norwegian Wood song after I started reading this book and for me the song captured the entire melody of this story. I couldn't continue reading the book without humming the music in the back of my mind. Kudos to Murakami achieving this.

Lastly, the narrator, Adam Sims does complete justice to the story and characters. I'm sure the audible experience made the book stand out even more.

A true representation of racism

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-21

This book unearths so many layers of racism and socio-economic divide within the characters of the plot. While such cases are happening all around us - intentionally or unknowingly, it is generally not noticed or outrightly ignored. The author has captured the essence of racism and discrimination in a great way - even affirmative action with being boastful about it is harmful and insensitive.

Absolutely loved how the author managed to show the emotions, thoughts and feelings of the characters. It's quite a detailed characterization for a debut novel - Alix, Emira, Kelley, Zara have been written quite memorably.

The audible version is brilliant too, with the narrator having done full justice to the story and characters.

An interesting take on time travel

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-02-21

I picked up this book because of its intriguing plot around time travel and also hoping to read more on Japanese life - after being swayed by Pachinko. While the book didn't do justice to touching on Japanese culture or life, the time travel bit of the story was decent.

I liked the way the author simplified the rules of time travel and focused on how it might impact you rather than changing anything else. It touched upon how letting go or accepting things can lead to so much positivity to your future. The story dealt with loss, relationship, hope, anxiety and it packaged everything quite well especially using a twist of time travel. Some parts like repeated apparation for the time travel could have been avoided to make it more crisp, but all in all a decent one time read. The Audible experience was really good.

A nice soul soothing story with great narration

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-02-21

Some stories just feel good and relatable, right from the get go. This book is one of them. It charts a high school final year journey of a young teen mother who is a life hardened girl, self-confident and curiously hopeful about her future inspite of all the twists and turns in her life. I really liked the way the characters are depicted and their lives intertwined. This plot can easily be turned into something to pity about. But the author has actually made effort to ooze in positivity in every character and relationship.

Also, being a foodies, I really liked how she has mixed the emotions with taste and ideas with recipes to highlight the beautiful side of culinary art. Few parts of the book sure did leave me craving for delicious soul soothing heart filling food. Hoping to go grab some artistic creations of eateries around. All in all a pleasant read with a great audible experience.

A long narrative of a sad childhood

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-21

I picked up this book as it had won the Booker Prize 2020. As it happens, the Booker Prize winning entries are often too sad to enjoy. The last Booker Price winning entry I had read was 'God of Small Things' by Arundhati Roy - another family story interwoven with grief.

This book captures the entire journey of the young boy Shuggie Bain from his age of 5 till he turns 15. The story travels through his interactions with society against the backdrop of his mother's struggle with drinks and men. The relationship between siblings - Leek and Shuggie, men and women - Shug/ Eugene and Agnus, as well as parents and kids - Agnes and her parents across multiple generations and times have been portrayed pretty realistically in this novel. But the highlight is Shuggie's relationship with his mom and his natural hope around her alcoholism. How can one give up hope when that is the only support one has in their life.

The author has penned down the emotions and characters with impeccable precision. Really makes you feel their hopelessness, small joys, big sorrows and the struggle to make it all work. Although a bit long, worth a read. The narrator on Audible has used multiple variations to depict different characters - a few of them aren't very legible, but otherwise a decent experience.

Complex relationship captured well

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-01-21

Normal People is a love story where the characters go in circles of misunderstandings. It is as complex as any relationship could be. The author emphasizes on the thoughts and background that leads to choices that the characters make. I liked the character building in the story - even side characters have enough depth to them. But I did feel that for some parts, the intent of actions was missing. Some things like Marriane's family behaviour were assumed and there didn't seem to be a legible background to it. All in all an ok read and a good Audible experience.

My first encounter with Haruki Murakami

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-12-20

This is a kind of book which leaves you introspective, thoughtful and blissful by the end of it. Coming across this book, during a phase of me trying to restart running was a great coincidence. This book doesn't give any tips on physical training for running but largely covers the most important aspect of it, the mind / will power. To have run for a quarter of a century and to participate in over 23 races is no small feat and Haruki Murakami makes it look a lot more easy, just like his life. A book worth going back to for tapping into an unrestrained source of energy pool. Audible version with Ray Porter's narration is brilliant.

A day in Pandemic 1918

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-20

Pandemic, uncertainty, despair, hope - The 2020 pandemic is just a sliver of what humankjnd has been through, over the past centuries of documented history. This book shows how impacting the 1918 influenza was, intertwined with the aftereffects of war, penned down from a lense of frontline medical worker - Nurse Julia Powers. The book takes you into the maternity ward of a small hospital in Dublin, Ireland of 1918 and puts you right in the middle of all the chaos and action. Absolutely loved the narrative and the audible version.

A perfect balance of content and entertainment

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-11-20

The characters - Kiva Lagos, Greyland, Nadashe, were always brilliant right from book 1. Also the style of the author to introduce mind boggling yet completely logical twists to the story, really accentuated this book. This series, in a strange way, can relate to the world of today where we need to find answers to limited and dwindling resources in the light of ever increasing population. Can't wait to see how the book 4 shapes up from here.