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katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

Clive Stone is a lepidopterist - one of the most respected in the field. And, when she grows up, his daughter Ginny follows in his footsteps, first as his assistant, then as a renowned specialist in her own right. Clive’s wife Maud is his direct opposite - vivacious to his staidness, extravagant to his self-containment, warm to his reserved. And second daughter Vivien takes after her mother. One happy family divided right down the middle. . . Why then, having been expelled from prep school, does Vivi abruptly leave the bucolic 'if somewhat creepy', Victorian mansion that the Stones call home? As The Sister opens, that is the central question, because Vivi is about to return after an absence of nearly 50 years, most of it filled with silence. Narrated by Ginny, whom the villagers eye warily and refer to as “The Moth Woman”, as the story progresses, more and more questions emerge, usually heralded by a trenchant remark by Ginny. And chapter by chapter, the ambience grows menacing. Some of the turns and tangles that drive this plot are foreseeable, and some less so. But its mood develops increasingly gothic undertones, sinister and stony. It is obvious that Ginny is mentally ill, but what of the other members of this strange quartet? . . The Sister is not a comfy family saga, but despite it’s menacing aspect, the narrative sometimes grows too introverted and rather flat. The detailed information about lepidoptery in parts is repulsive. But its ending truly comes as a shock, an unanticipated solution to Ginny’s disturbed emotional state. To which sister does the title refer? I’m still trying to decide.

Also recommended: I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb The Collector by John Fowles
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Inspired Contributor
Bearsstar
Posts: 47
Registered: ‎01-30-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

"The Sisters" by Poppy Adams
5 Stars- Outstanding
 
For Poppy Adams first novel I felt it was very uniquely written, with very in-depth knowledge about moths.  While the first few pages were slow reading, she entwines the lives of Ginny, Vivi, Clive, and Maude with the right amount of suspense, twists, turns that gets you so engrossed as to what's going to happen next that before you know it you can't read it fast enough.  I am going to buy my daughter her own copy, will recommend it to my reader friends, and I'll bet we will be discussing "The Sisters" for months.
 
Thank you Poppy Adams and The First Look Book Club for letting me have the opportunity to read your first novel.  I look forward to your next one.
 
Other Recommendations:
     Dark Waters-Stuart Woods
     Birds of Prey - J. A. Jance

"...two people's recall of the same event can be unbelievably different, that even their perceptions at the time can be paradoxical." ~~from "The Sisters" 
Jeanne G aka Bearsstar
Frequent Contributor
pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers


Maria_H wrote:
Write your reviews of The Sister in this thread. From here, we'll collect your reviews and post them to the book's product page.

Here's how to get started

Reply to this message and include:
  • Your rating -- whole stars only, please:
    5-stars -- Outstanding
    4-stars -- Recommended
    3-stars -- Okay, but not great
    2-stars -- Disappointing
    1-star -- Poor
  • A headline for your review
  • Your review (for review guidelines, please refer to this page)
  • Other titles you'd like to recommend

We will use your user name in the review and we will *not* reveal your email.

Please do not include spoilers in your review -- as noted in our guidelines, "exclude from your review comments that may ruin the ending for others."

Thanks!

Message Edited by Maria_H on 03-20-2008 09:42 AM




I didn't know that this was how we would be collecting reviews, and I posted my review on the book page yesterday. I went to copy and past it here, but it is not there anymore. Do you know why it was pulled?
-Philip
Contributor
cheer4lvw
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

3 stars
This was an interesting read for me.  I found the characters interesting, but I was wanting more from them.  I found the plot intriguing, but I was wanting to learn more about some twists.  I found the mood mysterious, but I was wanting it filled out a little more.  The moth theme throughout was a neat touch, although it got a little much at times.  Some day I plan to read this again to see if I can catch more the second time around.  Overall it was a decent book that I would recommend to certain friends. 
Reader 2
phylbo
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

Three stars
 
I found this book to be extremely mind provoking.  It was very well written, and the imagery was very interesting. I feel that this book will be enjoyed more by selective readers rather than readers-at-large. I might have titled it "Through Ginny's Eyes." 
I appreciated the oportunity to be a part of this book club and wish Ms. Adams good luck with her book.
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kbbg42
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

Five Stars
 
Think,Think,Think;
 
This novel doesn't force feed you. It makes you think about your interpretations of the charectures. It makes you think about labels and why we feel the need to label everyone we meet. It is an intelligent look at how one persons memories can be so different from anothers,how ones interpretation of events can be askewed. It also shows how fragile a family can be.
 
Other titles I would recommend areas follows;
The 6th Lamentation by William Brodrick, While She Sleeps by Ethel Lina White, Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan.
Contributor
BethD
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

[ Edited ]
3 Stars
 
"The Sister" asks some interesting questions
 
While this novel contained thought-provoking, intelligent ideas, and intriguing concepts about nature vs. nurture, I feel there are ultimately too many unanswered questions at the end of the book, for my taste, to consider it a huge success.  While I understand that The Sister is "purposefully nonpresecriptive, and at times ambiguous" (according to the author), I personally do not find it effective when nothing is given a definitive answer, including situations that must, in reality, have one true answer.  (There are clues, though, so pay attention so you can form your own intepretation.)  It's like an equation featuring distance, time, and speed - you need two to figure out the third value; there aren't many fixed reference points to be found here.
 
The narrator, Ginny, is memorable; her sister, Vivi, is not.
 
I was fine with the moth-y content, particularly since the author drew elegant, important parallels based on what we learn about moths.  (But I truly enjoy learning about subjects about which I have no previous knowledge.)
 
This would make a good book club book, because it improves with discussion.
 
Other books I'd recommended:
 
Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver
Disgrace by J.M Coetzee
The World I Made for Her - Thomas Moran
City of Light - Lauren Belfer
In the Lake of Dead Languages - Carol Goodman


Message Edited by BethD on 03-21-2008 02:19 AM
Frequent Contributor
maryfrancesa
Posts: 57
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

4 Stars
 
Well written.  Poppy gave a good insight into sister relationships as well as family relationships.
The reader could develop their own assumptions as to what really occurred in this family.  I do believe that she did leave the reader with much to think about and digest.  I also think this book is better for a book club because everyone has their own perceptions about the characters and what really went on in the family and the dynamics.  I do not believe I would have gotten much out of the book if I read it myself without having others viewpoint. 
  
Inspired Contributor
Popper19
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

5 stars - Riveting
The Sister had me hooked from Chapter one.   It's one of the best books I've read in a long time.  I think Poppy Adams is a mastermind! 
Frequent Contributor
pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

4 Stars

Headline: Interesting Character Study Novel

The Sister focus on the reunion of Virginia (Ginny) and Vivian (Vivi) Stone after almost 50 years of estrangement. The story is told from the point of view of Ginny as she relates and reexamines their family history and secrets. The sisters have different recollections and interpretations of the facts, and this drives the tension of the novel to its chilling climax.

Serving as a backdrop for the story is the 'family business' of lepidoptery - the study of moths in which Ginny follows her father, Clive's footsteps. Some people may be turned off by the amount of technical detail given on this topic, but it does not require previous knowledge of the subject to appreciate the metaphor that the author uses.

Other themes that run throughout the book are alcoholism (and its effect on a family) and evolution in the context of free will. Adams presents these topics in a way that will allow you think about them beyond the context of the story itself.

All in all, this novel is for people who enjoy character studies and are not intimidated or turned off by detailed scientific content.

Also recommended: Now You See Him by Eli Gottlieb
-Philip
Frequent Contributor
pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers



pheath wrote:

Maria_H wrote:
Write your reviews of The Sister in this thread. From here, we'll collect your reviews and post them to the book's product page.

Here's how to get started

Reply to this message and include:
  • Your rating -- whole stars only, please:
    5-stars -- Outstanding
    4-stars -- Recommended
    3-stars -- Okay, but not great
    2-stars -- Disappointing
    1-star -- Poor
  • A headline for your review
  • Your review (for review guidelines, please refer to this page)
  • Other titles you'd like to recommend

We will use your user name in the review and we will *not* reveal your email.

Please do not include spoilers in your review -- as noted in our guidelines, "exclude from your review comments that may ruin the ending for others."

Thanks!

Message Edited by Maria_H on 03-20-2008 09:42 AM




I didn't know that this was how we would be collecting reviews, and I posted my review on the book page yesterday. I went to copy and past it here, but it is not there anymore. Do you know why it was pulled?




Well, I was able to find it this morning and copy and past it in. Perhaps yesterday was just too long of a day... ;-)

When does the next one start?
-Philip
New User
patkens
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

Two Stars
 
Difficult to find redeeming features.
 
I was very disappointed with this book which I so eagerly looked forward to reading.  Found the characters  just did not engage you or cause you to care about them in the least.  In fact, they almost seemed to pull you in just a bit and then go out of the way to repel the reader.
 
The best thing I can say for the book is the description of the house and grounds.  Certainly set the tone; depressing, corrupted, and claustrophobic.
 
Ending was disturbing, did not make a lot of sense, and seemed to be a convenient way quickly end the book.
 
Contributor
Margaret42
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

3 stars
 
An interesting novel set in England in the 1940's, about two sisters, their parents and many dark secrets.
The final chapters will put you at the edge of your seat.  This novel includes everything you ever wanted to know about moths, but were afraid to ask.  This is a wonderful debut novel.
 
Other recommendations: Sepulchre by Kate Mosse ; Behind the scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson ;
If you lived here by Dana Sachs
m a r g a r e t~
Distinguished Correspondent
JaneM
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

Rating:  2 Stars

Headline:  The Secrets of The Sister

This story of two sisters, their parents, and past secrets is hidden like the body of a moth within a cocoon of elusive references, a gothic tone and an unreliable narrator.  By the time the ending is reached, one would hope to find the moth emerging with wings outstretched.  Instead we, the readers, are left to create a mental image of the moth based on our own past experiences.  For those of us who like our moths finely detailed and complete, the fuzzy conclusion is disappointing.

JaneM

Jane M.
Inspired Contributor
abbyg7
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

5 stars
 
Intriguing, thought provoking.
 
Though the book started a little slowly, I became more and more involved in it the longer I read.  It is a story about two sisters that have been estranged most of their adult lives and now are back together for a weekend.  It is a mysterious, dark feeling book, with several twists and turns and an unexpected ending.  The book gives hints to the answers to several questions you might have while reading, but ultimately it leaves the answers up to you.  A great read, highly recommended.  I look forward to more books by Poppy Adams.
 
Other recommended books:
The Gathering  Anne Enright
The Birth House  Ami McKay
The Secret River  Kate Grenville
Suite Francaise  Irene Nemirovsky
 
Frequent Contributor
mwinasu
Posts: 149
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
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Re: Wonderful character development

The Sister is a very literate and different type of novel.  Like Ralph M. Trillipush from The Egyptologist, or Charles Kinbote from Pale Fire Ginny leaves you guessing.  And I really liked that.  WARNING:  Very intelligent people who rely on their intellect to come up with the right answers in every situation may become discombobulated.  Don't worry, it will pass.  It did for me..  Five stars.
Inspired Contributor
Tasses
Posts: 117
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

2.5 Stars
Poppy Adams, a documentary filmmaker, has ventured into the realm of fiction with her debut story of reconnection between two estranged sisters. Told in first person, The Sister opens with 70-year-old Ginny waiting for her younger sister, Vivi, to return home after nearly fifty years. Through tension and memories Ginny describes the sister’s youth and her own obsession with ordering the small world around her. Ginny has remained at their birth home and inherited her father’s love of all things dealing with moths (that’s right folks, moths…like butterflies). Vivi has ventured out into the world and even uses a cell phone and knows how to make pizza!

But under the surface of this homecoming lie secrets and a feeling of impending ruin. It isn’t long before the reader begins to realize Ginny’s unreliability as a narrator. Something’s just not right. She’s preoccupied with detail, time and order. We begin to ask ourselves which sister to like, because taking sides seems to be a theme in their family. In the end, there are no easy answers and many questions are left out to dry.

The premise of this book is an interesting one: an examination of the mind’s ability to misrepresent its own reality and the degrees of which our impulses over-ride free will. Yet, the telling gets so bogged down in scientific description (in an attempt at comparisons) it loses momentum. Ms. Adams overlooks that many readers want to be entertained by books. Yes, we like to learn. Yes, we like a good mystery twist, but we’re discerning when it comes to contrivance to fit a theme. And contrivance is a good word for this novel. It’s a heavy-handed attempt at building mystery. There’s too much description to keep the nuance going. Just as I’d get a good feel for the atmosphere in the home, some long scientific allusion would break the flow.

In the end, the wiz-bang came off as just a pop. I didn’t care which sister was the more reliable or less faulted or even whose version was correct. I’d long given up on Ginny and imagined far worse from her than the tale’s end.
See all my reviews at: Reading Rumpus and Many A Quaint & Curious Volume
MLS
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MLS
Posts: 46
Registered: ‎12-13-2007
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

4 Stars
 
I struggled to keep reading the first part of this book but on one page in one sentence something totally grabbed my attention.  From that time until the early morning hours... when I finished it... I could not stop reading.  I was feeling like I didn't like what I was reading and how haunting it was but I just had to keep reading so I could finally find out the point of this story!  I finished the book and realized I still had not figured out "the point".  I give this book 4 stars because it has been 3 weeks since I finished it and I am still thinking about it....very thought provoking on many levels. 
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

[ Edited ]


Message Edited by vivico1 on 03-21-2008 03:16 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Your Reviews of The Sister -- should not contain spoilers

3.5 stars
If you hadn't seen a family member in 5 years, do you think your memories and theirs would be the same? How about feelings? Now suppose it was not 5 years away from each other but 50 years and its your own sister!
In a story told over a period of one weekend, Poppy Adams has created an almost Gothic mystery of the reunion of two sisters who for reasons unknown, have not seen each other in 50 years. Ginny lives in the old home, a run down mansion where once she and her sister Vivi and their parents Clive and Maud lived. Vivi, her sister who has lived out in the world is returning home. Ginny has lived alone in her isolation for a very long time, but she feels safe that way. Why is Vivi coming home now? Are they both the same as the young girls they remember?

The story is told against the backdrop of Ginny and her father Clive's study of moths. What do moths have to do with the relationship of these two sisters? Time will tell. This is a story will make you question why we do what we do and question why some people seem a bit "out of the norm". It's an intriguing mystery, where the author is not going to spoon feed you all the answers but let you just feel the comfortableness that a thoughtful mystery will do.
Although at times, the scientific explanations of the moths may get a bit long and the reader wonder if the wonderful eeriness they are feeling about the sisters is worth wading through all of it, it is. As Ginny explores the behavior of moths we are exploring her behavior and wondering if she has no more choice than they do. Some readers will be trying too hard to figure out or label Ginny, rather than taking this weekend long ride with her, through her eyes, to a day of "emergence".
The mystery of all of the four main characters, will have you wanting to put them under the microscope just as one might try to dissect the make up of the moths. What emerges from these sister's "pupa soup" may be as surprising to you as what emerges from a moth's pupa astounds us.

Although, I can't give this first book of Ms. Adams 5 stars because of the over lengthy talk about moths (even tho the parallels are important to the overall story), I would say for anyone wanting to read a haunting mystery that will leave you thinking about the book for some time after, this is a really good read. If you want your mysteries all tied up with a nice neat bow at the end so you can walk away from it clean, this book may not be for you. But if you are are a real suspense lover and looking for a good chill from a book, this is it. Very good start for Ms. Adams.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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