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Original Essays | Yesterday, 10:00am

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445


Customer Comments

megan s has commented on (8) products.

The Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy
The Call: A Novel

megan s, January 4, 2012

Murphy's story is heartbreaking and heartwarming. In 200 or so short pages, she creates a family that you wish lived next door, that you won't be able to get enough of. You will be sad when it's over. You will certainly laugh, you might very well cry. You will be blown away by the story's simple wisdom, its respect for the joys of a simple life with a family you love, and its lighthearted, honest dealing with life's really hard stuff. The Call is the oddest sort of book. It's a quiet, understated story, not so very earth shattering at all, but every little bit of it leaps off the page.
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After You'd Gone by Maggie O'farrell
After You'd Gone

megan s, January 8, 2010

The novel proceeds in various tenses, voices, and points of view, peeling off layer after layer of Alice's story, showing us that things are never quite as simple as they seem. After You'd Gone is many things: a story about true love, about family, about loss, about grief, and about healing. All of these things are beautifully rendered in a style that deceives readers into thinking that maybe they aren't all that involved in the story only to find that they've been so wrapped up in the web of Alice's life, that the core of the story is all the more gripping and heart-wrenching.

It's hard to make me cry, especially for a book. This one did make me cry - not once but twice - despite my best efforts not to. Maggie O'Farrell has an astonishing grasp of emotions and the human condition. This novel is beautiful, heart-breaking, and not to be missed.
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fever 1793

megan s, June 14, 2009

Fever 1793 features Matilda Cook a 14 year old girl in Philadelphia in (you guessed it) 1793. Mattie's widowed mother owns and runs the Cook Coffeehouse where important men of the city come to talk politics and enjoy coffee and the fare prepared by Eliza, a free black and friend of the family. At the beginning, Mattie is a typical young girl - more eager to have fun and disobey her mother than to pull her weight at the coffeehouse. As summer is very slowly drawing to a close, disaster strikes as a deadly yellow fever epidemic sweeps the city. The city devolves into chaos and Mattie's life is torn asunder when her mother takes ill. The epidemic forces Mattie to grow up fast as she is left almost alone in a city that seems to be slowly dying. As the first frost comes, effectively ending the fever, and Mattie has still not heard from her mother, Mattie is forced to make some difficult decisions about her future and the future of the coffeehouse.

Mattie is an engaging narrator. It's easy to relate to her desire to leave behind the backbreaking work of the coffeehouse and enjoy her life. Halse Anderson does a fine job of portraying how Mattie changes during the epidemic and gains a new inner strength that she is able to draw upon to pick up her life once the epidemic has ended. Philadelphia in 1793 is realistically portrayed both in health and in sickness. Halse Anderson has obviously gone to great pains to maintain the historical accuracy of her story and succeeds admirably. Included at the end is a very interesting appendix that elaborates on the factual elements of the story. Fever 1793 is great historical novel about a girl transcending her very dire circumstances and finding out who she is in the process.
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(11 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

megan s, June 14, 2009

Honestly, my initial reaction to A Wolf at the Table is too depressing to be enjoyed. Why would any happiness seeking human being ever want to read something so utterly dispiriting?

On second look, though, it occurred to me that, whenever I could seperate myself from the unfortunate happenings inherent in this book, Augusten Burroughs is really a great writer. Despite its more depressing properties, I never once thought that I wanted to lay this book down and not finish it. From the very start, this book has a touch of brilliance. Burroughs brings to life his early childhood memories in a perfectly clear and surreal manner in which those memories tend to linger. They're filled with smells, textures, in almost photographic glimpses in which memories from such a young age seem to manifest themselves. Burroughs puts into words the essence of his childish enthusiasm for loving his father and the crushing and shameful disappointment he felt when he realized his advances never seemed to penetrate his father's, at best, indifference toward him. He pinpoints the exact moments when he began to understand, and in some measure accept, the most difficult truths about his father. He captures that tension between desperately wanting to be loved and fiercely hating the same person he can't help hoping will love him unconditionally. He insightfully contemplates what a father should be and whether he did or did not turn out to posess the worst qualities of his own father.

Now that I think about it, it may be because Burroughs' writing is so skillful that this book is so hard to read. We see and feel exactly what Burroughs intends for us to see and feel through his narrative. We come to know the youngster Burroughs was, to understand his deepest desires and to be just as disappointed, angry, and fearful as he once was. A Wolf at the Table is a painful, difficult read, but it is also a sort of cathartic masterwork of a very talented writer.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Sweetsmoke by David Fuller

megan s, June 14, 2009

In Sweetsmoke, Fuller spares no detail in his depiction of the Civil War era south. Though obviously carefully constructed with extreme care shown even down to the punctuation of the dialogue (quotation marks for the free, none for the slaves), the writing never feels forced or contrived. Instead, Fuller's Civil War south leaps off the page exposing a world populated with fragile southern gentility perched precariously on their clever, if oppressed, chattel. Through Cassius's eyes and Fuller's evocative writing, we can feel the heat of mid-summer in Virginia, smell the sweet scent of tobacco on the air, and even hear the sounds of a raging Civil War battle as if we were experiencing them first-hand.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)

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