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Customer Comments

Sharon Bryan has commented on (5) products.

Testimony by Anita Shreve
Testimony

Sharon Bryan, January 21, 2010

"Testimony" is the powerful story of a sex scandal at Avery Academy, a small private school in Vermont. Shreve opens up the majestic gates that loom before Avery separating (or possibly protecting) its students from the rest of world and exposes an eruption of emotion, sins, corruption, greed, desperation, anger, and even love. The scandal soon becomes a tragedy, and its consequences reach almost every character in the book. The brilliance of the book is the way the author tells the story from many points of view, about 20. In so doing, she peels off layer and layer of the story, and gives another aspect, another perspective to consider. The writing is gripping, and the story fascinating. But the real genius is how Ms. Shreve takes this story poses questions, always and keeping the reader thinking and questioning the morality, innocence, and guilt of the characters, and possibly even of him or herself. A powerful read.
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The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy
The Romantic

Sharon Bryan, January 20, 2008

Writing a novel about the nature of true and consuming love is no small task, but author Barbara Gowdy does so with such an acute and enticing style that it avoids any cliches that one might equate with a Fabio-covered, bodice-ripping book. In "The Romantic" I found a complex, intelligent, character driven story that gives unique insight into the nature of love in all its many forms. The story follows the relationship between Louise and Abel as it evolves from childhood to adulthood; and the constant, fierce, and occasionally fractured, destructive, and consuming love that haunts Louise. Abandoned by her mother as a young girl, Louise is left in the care of her well-meaning but somewhat lost father and marginally mute housekeeper. Young Louise is drawn to her colorful new neighbors, The Richters. From this infatuation a deep and lifelong bond is formed by Louise and the Richter's son, Abel. The narrative jumps from different times in Louise's life: from child to teen to woman, adding depth and insight to the layered story. Louise is certainly no ingenue, nor is Abel a noble hero. But the truth and flaws of each character, the skilled writing style, and the understated plot draws the reader in to a smart and vivid story. "The Romantic" is no typical romance, to be sure, but it is a satisfying exploration of the nature of coveting, the struggle of finding one's place in the world, the damage we do, the act of forgiveness, and the constant pull towards love--imperfect but beautiful as it may be.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



Undressing the Moon
Undressing the Moon

Sharon Bryan, December 12, 2007

"Undressing the Moon" is the story of a woman dying far too young who recalls her life as a 14-year old, a pivotal time in her life that is not only a turning point for her, but to all those who are close to her. What makes this book outstanding is the beautiful, lyrical voice of the writer--pure poetry at moments--as well as a unique and fascinating insight into the mind of a Piper, as both a teenage girl and a woman in her 30's. When Piper was 14, her brilliant but stifled mother leaves--a fate that Piper had always known would come to pass. In her absence, Piper takes the shards of her life and tries, with much difficulty, to piece them together. She engages in a verboten but fascinating affair with a teacher, deals with her father--a cowardly and pathetic man, takes care of her older brother, and without complaint bravely faces in a world that can be both cruel and beautiful. Greenwood's writing hits the mark, and is free of any cliche as she delicately pieces together Piper's life, and the fragments long forgotten that she must reconcile before she dies. A searing, honest and memorable gem.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



Dirty Little Altar Boy
Dirty Little Altar Boy

Sharon Bryan, May 14, 2007

"Dirty Little Altar Boy" is the story of a 13 year old in the throws of the surreal world of junior high, Chuck Norris worship, puberty, family, and--strangest of all--the 1980's. These short stories read deeply rooted in truth and honesty, and from that the characters and situations are effortlessly relatable, connecting the reader to not only the protagonist, Brandon, but his colorful cast of characters. Some stories are laugh-out-loud funny, some are endearing, some are wistful, some are awkward and humiliating. The stories mesh together nicely, creating an entertaining, amusing, and rich story of a 13 year old boy that we can't help but root for. A strong debut novel.
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(7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)



Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Sharon Bryan, May 14, 2007

"Fun Home" is a brilliant, funny, intriging, and deeply moving graphic novel. Ms. Bechdel gives her readers a rare and bold memoir that is ripe with brutal but beautiful honesty. Even in the most painful revelations, she never loses the humor and awareness of the ironic or absurd. Her illustrations add charm and intimacy to the story, and compliment her well-crafted words perfectly with detail and a keen eye. Her observations on the complex nature of her family is sapient and engrossing. This is the perfect union of word and image.
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(30 of 60 readers found this comment helpful)



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