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Book 42 Completed

July 14, 2010

That’s right — a ONE DAY turnaround on this book for Russia. I’m pretty impressed with how quickly I was able to read this too — I read during naptime, at the gym, and for a couple of hours throughout the day. If I can continue at this speed, then I’ll be caught up (and ahead!) in no time at all.

I thought that The Madonnas of Leningrad was an interesting little book. Considering that it deals with the siege of Leningrad and the starving occupants hiding out in the Hermitage museum, it’s pretty light reading. If you can take a book about WWII and a woman with Alzheimer’s and craft it into a summer beach read, without the entire book feeling dumbed-down or flippant, that’s enough to garner a positive review from my end. Maybe just lukewarm. But I certainly didn’t hate it.

Let’s be clear: This isn’t fantastic fiction. We all know that I am like Niagara Falls with the crying and this book, despite its subject matter, didn’t even arouse the thought of tears. Considering the general plot, Dean should have been able to make me cry at least once! I mean, seriously, it’s not hard. So, that level of detachment from the emotion of the story could be a sticking point for me. Also, (spoiler??) there is some odd scene where the main character Marina is wandering through the empty museum at night and the statue of Zeus comes alive and has sex with her. It’s a brief scene. And then she’s pregnant.

Dean tries to imply that she hallucinated the whole thing because of hunger and the baby is her husband’s child. But, um, it was strange. And can we PLEASE stop referring to semen as milk? These authors are going to throw me off of cereal forever.

The positives? I liked the current-day Alzheimer’s stuff; I thought the children’s responses were real. I loved the scenes with Marina’s husband trying to take care of her. The entire book was a quick read (obviously) and the plot was easy to follow — I knew what was happening and when. I LOVED the notion that as Marina’s Alzheimer’s got worse, she couldn’t differentiate between her own past and the paintings at the Hermitage. And, this is important too, I learned a little something about art.

I’d recommend this as a light read. For a first time novelist and an interesting premise, I’m pretty content with my day spent reading The Madonnas of Leningrad.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Toni Cole permalink
    July 16, 2010 9:52 am

    Glad the book lived up to my promise – easy read, interesting historical setting, vanilla story. At least you didn’t skip Russia!

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