01-30-2009 09:25 PM
01-31-2009 03:15 PM
I've posted my review: http://my.barnesandnoble.com/communityportal/revie
I found the book difficult to enjoy. If I lived in New York, or had one to Oberlin, or had tried to make it in New York, I might have found it very enjoyable. Joanna is a talented writer. I hope she chooses a more universal theme for her next book.
01-31-2009 08:26 PM
02-01-2009 11:26 AM
02-02-2009 10:02 AM
02-03-2009 01:12 PM - edited 02-03-2009 01:15 PM
02-04-2009 09:46 AM
Posted 12/17/08: I thought the characters were interesting and true to life. They had a life of their own. The writing style was original and excellent.It was so stimulating to read something with an original plot. This is my first time reading this author but in the future I will look for more of her books. I found it to be a page turner.
A new fan
02-09-2009 02:12 PM
I recently finished “A Fortunate Age” by Joanna Smith Rakoff. This book follows a handful of characters from after college into their early thirties. Each character has a chapter and the chapter shares aspects from their early family life, their introduction and ties to the group along with their personal insights on life, love and others in the group. As the book progresses the individuals lives change and each character takes on a “calling” unique to their current status in society and personal goals. Their lives continue to intersect due to random events along with planned functions, as the pages turn.
Overall this novel is a collection of individual stories that when tied together make up a larger story. A story about growing up, finding ourselves, being true to ourselves and about what friends bring and take from relationships. I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants to escape from their daily functions into a world that is not so much unlike their own, yet is not their own. If you think of the sitcom “Friends” this book is along those lines yet with more depth into the individual characters.
I hope that Joanna is planning to make this book a part of many, for I find myself missing and wondering about these characters, long after I read the last page. To me that is mark of a great story!
02-09-2009 02:33 PM
I found A Fortunate Age to be a little stale and monotonous at times. I managed to enjoy the overall plot but was highly disappointed with the ending considering many of the questions that surfaced throughout reading the novel remained unanswered. I, also, got confused throughout the story because the author would speak about one girl and would then go onto the next and never come back to the first. I constantly found myself forgetting about the early characters.
Despite the book's imperfections, I found the novel still pleasing to read since I have many fond memories of New York and Joanna Smith Rakoff's descriptions of New York recreated them in my mind. Through it all, I probably would recommend it to selected individuals who have been to New York. I'm sure they would enjoy the backdrop.
- C.S. Lewis
02-11-2009 06:08 PM - edited 02-11-2009 06:10 PM
This debut novel attempted to combine a novel's heft and gravity with short story nimbleness. We meet six highly educated, upper-middle class friends from Oberlin. The book starts when they reunite at Lil’s wedding, and ends when they attend her death by suicide. Since each chapter, like individual short stories, focused on one character at a time, I anticipated that the accumulation of their individual stories would result in a novel full of social realism, similar to those of 19th-Century George Eliot. I expected an ironic and socially biting look into the self-absorbed 20th-century lives of these characters.
The author's love for Brooklyn and its environs is palpable; the social mores of high-priced coffeeshops and gentrified factory lofts are brilliantly realized. But Smith is not always successful in other areas: she succumbs to melodrama, for example, in her treatment of the bride's Jewish relatives, who are not so much characters as vehicles for many contradictory impulses of feminism and New York City liberal political posturing. She squeezed too much hipness into these characters’ mundane lives, and unsuccessfully linked their personal tales with the historical force of 9/11.
With so many characters, this novel could have used a central figure. I had a difficult time distinguishing Beth from Emily, or Sadie from Lil. No one character served as tour guide as I tried to negotiate past the author’s restless shifts in point of view.The finished product turned out to be all simmer, but not a hearty Manhattan chowder. The relentlessly changing perspectives, and the awkward pacing of story development, carried more weight than plot itself.
I became frustrated with the directionless drift of their stories. I finished the novel more out of a sense of obligation. Although I’m glad for the opportunity to have read it, this is a book that I will not reread.
"I am a part of everything that I have read."
02-16-2009 02:18 PM
I absolutely agree. The character development was very good but, there were no threads or relationships or some sort of connection that would have made the characters richer and more three deminsional.
I did enjoy the book, read it very fast and am going to read it again. This is something that I always find a richer experience. The "First Read (no pun intended) occasionally becomes "How does it end"...yes I did read ahead in grade school.
02-19-2009 12:14 AM
03-02-2009 08:23 PM
Posted 03/02/09: I read this book as part of the First Look Club. I found the book interesting, especially because I could relate to the characters. It was hard adjusting to life after college. I really liked the characters and it was interesting to watch them develop but I would have liked to have see the characters interact more. The author writes sections from each characters point of view but you really don't get much input from them again after their section is finished. I would also have liked to have gotten to see what some of the other secondary characterst thought or felt. Especially the husbands.
0 out of 0 people found this review helpful.
03-14-2009 07:43 PM
Here is my review:
~ Joseph Addison ~
"Reading lets you visit the world of another"
03-16-2009 09:26 PM
03-24-2009 10:51 AM
Though quite late, I wanted to add my review of the book below: