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Goldengrove: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 16, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Choosing this book to review from the Amazon Vine Program was an utter gamble on my part, for I never heard of Francine Prose and wasn't sure if I was up to a book on grief (especially having lost my first husband to leukemia).
What I discovered while reading Goldengrove was an author who had the extraordinary ability to paint subtle word pictures that animates sunlight, dust, song, shirt, fireworks, ice cream, pond scum and other surroundings normally overlooked on a given day. But arguably author Francine Prose's best gift, at least in this book, is offering an unflinching, accurate portrayal of the way individuals differ in handling grief.
I won't provide you plot details, for others have done so and I don't want to spoil your experience.
What I wish I could communicate (but words are failing me) is the uncanny ability the author has for getting under your skin--making you sympathize and squirm, exult and panic--by writing a book that appears to have a straightforward plot: a girl drowns, and her family and the dead girl's boyfriend attempt to deal with it.
While Goldengrove may sound like a depressing book, it's not. Sobering, yes...it catapulted me into a very contemplative mood for a day ("Gothic" my husband remarked).Read more ›
GOLDENGROVE is an exquisitely written, insightful, short novel with many well drawn and sympathetic characters including Nico and Margaret's aging hippie parents, Elaine a single mom of a handicapped child and her son Tycho a quite realistically drawn person with autism. Prose references many things from history and pop culture such as the 19th century cult the Millerites, the 60's pop singer Nico, and Hitchcock's movie VERTIGO all of which sent me scrambling to the internet to find out more about them. This is a good choice for both adults and teens who want a story with strong and ultimately life affirming themes.
"Goldengrove" is the kind of book that I can see many picking up eagerly. It makes sense. The subject matter is dark, mournful, and intriguing - dangerous boys and death. What could be better for some readers? Well, premise is fine and all, but a book needs to live up to it. And "Goldengrove" simply does not. While tastily written (in that Prose's prose is elegant, swift, and descriptive), the plot (surprisingly reminiscent to teen counterpart "Saving Zoe", minus the murder) is bland. Almost all the characters sound the same. Another reviewer blasts the "fantasy" in that the teens like old movies. That part is fine. It's the unconvincing tone of 13-year old Nico that disappoints (even I didn't speak like that then). It's the way every character sounds the same, how no character other than Nico ever gets even slightly fleshed out.
"Goldengrove"'s premise rang false with me too. This is the umpteenth book with this premise I've read, where the glamorous beloved older sister dies and the simpler younger one deals by trying to live her sister's life. The teen (+murder) version of "Goldengrove" is "Saving Zoe" by Alison Noel. And while that book too had its flaws, it at least felt vaguely real to me. "Goldengrove" felt overdramatized, with that gasping incompleteness at the end. It didn't touch me emotionally (as one would expect) and it simply failed to convince. The one thing it had going for it was the clear, lucid writing. Beautiful, yes. Meaningless? Yes.
Ultimately, "Goldengrove" is lacking in a number of regions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Been too long since I've read it but as I remember it is a good book. Seems as though I've read it twice.Published 13 months ago by Carol Dunson
This is the first book I have read by Francine Prose, but it won't be the last. I really enjoyed this story, and could not put this book down to go to sleep.Published 19 months ago by cmlk14
Audiobooks are hit and miss with me. The story could be the greatest one ever told, and still be ruined by the narrator. Read morePublished on September 11, 2012 by Pamelicious
I was really engrossed in the first half of this book. The last half was lacking in a way, but nonetheless, was found to be slightly disturbing as it developed.Published on June 24, 2011 by Zippee
This book puts feelings into words I didn't know existed. Prose is able to describe human emotion that made me yell a resounding "yes!" as I listened... Read morePublished on June 7, 2011 by Gracie A.
I started reading this book expecting a lot. I'll be honest, I read this because I wanted a good cry. I wanted to be emotionally connected to the characters. Read morePublished on May 6, 2011 by Sherry A Peschong
This book was rather boring; I kept waiting for something to happen (like a plot). I have no idea why this book was so highly touted. Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by pelegoddess
This book takes a good look at surviving family members and provides some interesting points about grief and how people relate to one another and to the world during and post loss. Read morePublished on January 17, 2011 by AshnOK
This book is slow and meandering like a teenage phone call. Just right for a 14-year-old, but not for adults.Published on September 2, 2010 by William M. Doolittle Jr.