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Customer Comments

MAA has commented on (117) products.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Plain Truth

MAA, August 24, 2015

Picoult is a very good writer.

I started with her Leaving Time, which I still think is her best.

I'd put Plain Truth as her next best, out of the others I've read.

Great story & characters, and a particularly good portrayal of Amish/Plain Folk life & the many challenges presented by the intense focus on community - which is all-encompassing. Rings true from other books & documentaries I've see. Good enough that I was even able to overlook & suspend my dis-belief at the role of the defense attorney. Having practiced law for over 3 decades, including courtroom experience on both sides of the bar, I'm a bit jaundiced about the over-the-top melo-drama one finds in many current crime/police/courtroom novels. I'd wish they'd get a bit more real.

So a demerit for the attorney/courtroom, but still a worthwhile read.
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The Pact LP: A Love Story (Large Print) by Jodi Picoult
The Pact LP: A Love Story (Large Print)

MAA, August 24, 2015

Picoult is a very good writer, and if this was the 1st of her books I'd read, I'd give it a higher rating.

That said, I first read her Leaving Time (LT), her latest - and LT is highly recommended by me.

The Pact, and a number of other Picoult titles were my 2d, 3d, and 4th reads, and although good they just didn't match the superb story of Leaving Time. From where I sit, Leaving Time shows her writing has developed & improved over time.

Having read a number in succession, her writing style in these older works seems more formulaic - alternating between past & present, his & her story, etc. This has become a typical format for many contemporary writers - rather than the more linear style of many others. Although it works in LT, it didn't seem as fresh somehow in these more 'realistic' novels.

And for this particular title, I came away feeling that this story wasn't quite as believable. And that's having read her more fantasy-extra-sensory oriented Leaving Time. I've practised law for over 3 decades, and some of the legal scenes seemed more than a bit melo-dramatic. I get that we need a bit of over-the-top behavior for more action. But I've seen this in too many other works as well, so it's become more old-hat - and tired - for me.

So ... a few demerits - one for being a notch off Leaving Time & being more formulaic, and another for a less-than-believable plot here.
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Rock with Wings LP by Anne Hillerman
Rock with Wings LP

MAA, August 24, 2015

Daughter Anne picks up from where her father Tony left off. Tony had a long string of superb books starring Lieutenant Leaphorn & Officer Chee, exploring life, history, and culture in Four Corners (the conjunction of the 4 states on which the Navajo Nation overlaps, and which borders on a number of other Indian territories). In this second by Anne she continues the character development of Bernie - a policewoman introduced by Tony towards the end of his series before Tony's death, and Bernie's relationship with her now-husband now-Sergeant Chee.

Anne gets good marks for further development of Bernie & Chee, but we were a bit disappointed with her move away from exploring Navaho & other Indian traditions, into a present drifting away from those traditions. Sign of the times, perhaps, but not quite the caliber of her father's works for us - those insights into Indian traditions was a major draw for us. And we found some of the plotline barely believable. For Chee's he seems to leap from some very obscure clues into startling conclusions. For Bernie's Anne resorts to what we've seen as far-too-dramatic rough-n'tumble scenes, a la Walt Longmire.

So down a few points from her father's high standards, but up a point for good characterizations - engaging enough that we'll probably read her next.
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Pirate Latitudes
Pirate Latitudes

MAA, August 24, 2015

Good read. I've enjoyed many of Crichton's other works, and found this a refreshing change. Reflects much research into the time & place, with many details that give it verisimility. Not only a good read, but a relatively short one - compared to his other works. I'm becoming more & more impressed by those writers who can capture engaging detail without getting bogged down in detail or diversion. Matched by my increasing distress at the length of far too many books now where writers seem to bolster the material to demonstrate how much they've researched, and how many threads/sub-plots they can weave. From where I sit now, seems trying a bit too hard to impress others, rather than laying out the facts (or plot, or characterization). So succinctness adds a point. Recommended.
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The splendid outcast :Beryl Markham's African stories by Beryl Markham

MAA, August 24, 2015

Beryl is a good writer - her memoir West with the Wind is superb & highly recommended. But the writing here is uneven. What makes some copies of this title worthwhile are the editor's comments, putting each of the short stories in context. We learn about the controversies regarding how much of each story is actually her's, or her husband's or various editors. And a number of these are romances written for WWII morale/propaganda purposes. So putting the stories in historical context elevates what might otherwise be a '3' to a '4', at least in my book.
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