Best 2-star review I’ve seen yet!

More  book reviewers should be as honest, thoughtful, articulate and yet gentle as this one! She explains why the novel gets two out of five stars, yet doesn’t discourage readers from trying the book, nor does she show off how smart she is — at the writer’s expense — something those one- and two-star bandits notoriously do.
Susan, who are you? Please start blogging. This from a woman who has four thousand author-friends with blogs and reads only a few per week.
Pollyanna takes a ride on the Titanic  May 24, 2014 Review by Susan
This review is from: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic (P.S.) (Kindle Edition)
This novel is a tale about the early, 20th century life and times of Irish immigrants leaving their ancient home culture, in order to create a different world, in America. I am giving this book only two stars, since the writing skill is weak and the story line is a bit akin to a contrived Pollyanna theme. Even though the writing technique is “naive”, the sentiment is truthful and positive. There are parts of this story that can strike a chord in any reader’s mind and heart.

It seems that the author created this family saga by piecing together facts about the ancestors of a rural Irish parish who actually emigrated to America, on the iconic, disastrous maiden voyage of the Titanic. Through research of old, British, American and Irish documents and many interviews, the author creates a multi-generational tale about the gains and losses experienced by the most immigrants who eventually learned to thrive in their adopted homes, mostly through sheer faith in themselves and belief in positive possibilities for the future. This is a ubiquitous tale of how the human spirit can overcome many hardships, in order to create good from negative events in life.

The story line is logical, even though it jumps around from present, back about 80 years and eventually lands back in the present. The main character, Maggie, is an Irish country girl who miraculously survives the sinking of the Titanic. If one has seen the movie ‘Titanic’, then the reader can easily imagine the ship-at-sea segments of this book. The characters are real, if not a bit coerced to be stereotypical. One can not doubt the angst, dreams, terror, love, wonder, nightmares and yearnings of the models for this tale. Eventually the secondary characters are reunited with Maggie, in a bit of an overly-coincidental manner, before she dies a happy, fulfilled woman. The novel eventually comes out as a “feel good” tale, even though the denouement and conclusion lack imagination and originality and the language is stilted and quite repetitive wording.

What I did enjoy about the book was the descriptions of the old, Irish parish and its intertwined families, friendships and communities. The landscapes, both physical and psychological, are well-defined and give credence to the history of emigration and settling down in foreign lands. The author also builds a good, emotional characterization of what “true home” could mean for us all. If one enjoys a sentimental journey through an immigrant family’s history, then this book of for you. If one prefers very good, classic literature, this tale may be too “thin” and tediously unskilled to fully enjoy. However, this novel has its own message that can be respected and poignant to some meaningful measure, in all of us.

Reviewer ranking: #138,539 as of December 11, 2014
91% helpful votes received on reviews (41 of 45)

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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1 Response to Best 2-star review I’ve seen yet!

  1. Susan Sloate says:

    Carol–Funny, I reviewed the same book a few months ago. I think I gave it a higher rating than ‘Susan’ (not me), but basically thought much the same. (Guess I just grade easier.) Nice of her to give so much attention to a book she gave two stars to. How many words would she give to something she really loved??


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