Oh my, this was the first David Bergen books I read, recommended by CBC. I kept reading the book, hoping that something would happen to Hope, to the rest of the cast but it went no where. Hope walked down many roads, and each road she walked I waited for some joy, some pain, some learning, some decided direction but there was nothing. By the time I got to the last one quarter of the book, I just had to skim because it was so boring. And then even the ending provided nothing of substance. I would not read another of his books, because I would not wish to waste my time when there are so many good Canadian authors.
Bergen is a very good writer, but I found the character 'Hope' unlikeable and dull. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but her life just droned on and on. I am surprised that this book was a Canada Reads nominee!
Loved it. Very different from his other books.
I read all of the Canada Reads books before they were debated except for this one. I am amazed that Bergen has so much insight into an ordinary woman, her worries, flaws, few attributes, the relationship to her children and interesting relationships with other people. I am astonished that I didn't find it boring. I couldn't put it down. I could see parts of myself there. Maybe it was because I wasn't presented with someone perfect, or someone that inspired me.
All I know is that I want to read more of Bergen's books.
I agree with the comment by "mustard' below. This story does not have a lot of depth. Hope has done some brave things [helping woman get abortion] and some coawardly things, especially in her relationship with her husband. She does not take responsibility for this marriage, she just wears it, and when it wears thin she checks herself into a psychiatric unit. Her daughters are a tribute to her unexamined life. Yes, it is the lives of the mothers of the baby boomers. They are on the cusp of the Feminist revolution, YAWN!
Life's details make not the most riveting story - but I enjoyed the main character's self-reflection, and the pace allowed the reader to reflect on their own life at the same time.
Loved this book. Hope is my mother, and the mother of many others of her generation. Through these mothers their children had many options in life, including overcoming the circumstances of their upbringing as is evident through the lives of the four children born to and raised by Hope. Roy, the father, is realistically presented as a good father, husband and provider who 'fills' Hope's life. Not until his death does she begin to notice the space around her and tries to fill it through her own initiatives, sometimes succeeding, mostly questioning what her, a woman's life, is about. This is a story about an ordinary woman from adolescence to old age whose ordinary story is what constitutes the lives of all of us.
I read this book because it was a Canada Reads 2013 contender. It is the first book about a woman's life that has disappointed me in a very long time. It felt a mile wide and an inch deep. I love stories about ordinary lives and feel almost guilty that I couldn't warm to Bergen's depiction of Hope.
Hope, to the ages, of her young life of potential in a small Mennonite town of Eden, Manitoba, where she thinks she has made it big with a kind man and small brood of children to her experienced life as an elderly woman in big city of Winnipeg. But when life decides to bring her lemons and curtail it upside down. What will she make it, will she be able to find herself and happiness? The story spans seventy years from conservative standpoint of 30's, through the 50's to 70's, into a more liberal lifestyle/thinking of freedom and happiness, guess Hope will only know if she is truly happy in her passive nature.
Jan 6 2013, starting this one today, it is on the list for the debates for Canada Reads 2013. (in Feb.) Hope I like it as much as "Indian Horse". My son says it looks like "a Mom book!" I have to agree just by reading the cover!...........Jan 7, well, I'm on page127 (of 287) so I'm almost 1/2 way through in one day. I would say that I must be enjoying it, but I can't say why. I did watch the video from CBC with Don MacLean saying why he chose it. Was interesting to hear his thought process, check it out if you have time. It did make me more interested in the book than I would have been. All in all, so far the book is just about an ordinary woman's life, not really anything anyone would usually find too interesting, but I guess I do, as I'm almost 1/2 way through! She has done a few things that were a little out there.....but emphasis on the little. As far as the Canada Reads contest goes, my vote is still for Indian Horse, I just can't see too many guys wanting to read this book, certainly not the ones that I hang around with!...........Jan 8, was a busy day, but I still managed to get 3/4 of the way through, shut my light off at 3 a.m. but I could have kept reading. Let's just say, I like this book a lot more than I thought I would! (Hope might be ordinary on the outside, but she is funny and quirky on the inside, and she is not boring!).........Jan 9, just finished, I liked Hope and I'm going to miss her. I think I might touch base with her again in another 10 years. This book left me with a good feeling.
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