Customer Reviews


532 Reviews
5 star:
 (173)
4 star:
 (95)
3 star:
 (77)
2 star:
 (75)
1 star:
 (112)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to author...
I have never read anything by Alice Hoffman before, so I am very pleased that Here on Earth ended up being such a good introduction. The writing was extremely well done, and the storyline was surprisingly page-turning.
Here on Earth tells the story of March Murray and her 19-year-absence from her hometown in Massachusetts. After living in California with her...
Published on March 31, 2003 by Dianna Setterfield

versus
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This had some great potential
I just finished "Here on Earth", and am usually an avid fan of Oprah's Book Club (Stones from the River is by far her best pick). Having never read anything by Alice Hoffman, I wasn't sure what to expect here. She's a very descriptive writer, which can be enjoyable, however, her character development was virtually non existent. Yes, I hated Hollis, and was...
Published on January 4, 2000


‹ Previous | 1 254 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to author..., March 31, 2003
I have never read anything by Alice Hoffman before, so I am very pleased that Here on Earth ended up being such a good introduction. The writing was extremely well done, and the storyline was surprisingly page-turning.
Here on Earth tells the story of March Murray and her 19-year-absence from her hometown in Massachusetts. After living in California with her husband, Richard, and 15-year-old daughter, Gwen, March is called home for the funeral of Judith Dale, the woman who took care of her as a child. Accompanied by Gwen, March is thrust back into her old life -- her friends and her old house. But something worse haunts her heart -- March's childhood sweetheart, Hollis, is still in town and is just as much a magnet to her as he was before. Before she knows what hits her, March and Hollis rekindle their romance -- but this time things are very, very different.
I was very surprised at the direction this story took, but I loved the twists! I started out with my feelings for certain characters pretty much set, then all these secrets start coming out of the woodwork and my emotions do a 180. I believe that when an author can evoke such reactions out of a reader, that is the hallmark of a talented writer. Here on Earth also had a fantastic supporting cast that carried the story well. Alice Hoffman surpassed my expectations, and I'll be sure to read another of her novels soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and spellbinding, February 14, 2000
I originally read this book because it was an Oprah Book Club selection. After reading it, though, I've become a big fan of Alice Hoffman, who, in this novel, has spun a dark tale about love, rebellion, passion, violence, control and domination in this book. When March Murray returns to her hometown with her teenage daughter for the funeral of her old friend and housekeeper, she reunites with her first love, a man named Hollis. It's a story one too many of us can relate to. In the marshlands of Massachusetts, we helplessly watch March sink deep into her lover's world, until there's nearly nothing left of her.
Alice Hoffman writes in the present tense, with an omniscient point of view-two qualities that I generally dislike. But Hoffman handles it beautifully, gliding from one character to the next in this story that captures the strands of each person's web, and ties them all together.
It would do all women good to read this story, because most of us have known a Hollis, and some of us have been a March.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This had some great potential, January 4, 2000
By A Customer
I just finished "Here on Earth", and am usually an avid fan of Oprah's Book Club (Stones from the River is by far her best pick). Having never read anything by Alice Hoffman, I wasn't sure what to expect here. She's a very descriptive writer, which can be enjoyable, however, her character development was virtually non existent. Yes, I hated Hollis, and was REALLY frustrated and disgusted by March - but it would have made all the difference if the author gave us SOME insight as to why these people behaved the way they did. The ending left TOO much to the imagination...am I the only one hoping that someone would take poor Hank to California with them? What happened to March, Gwen, Sister, Tarot? Any clue would help.. All in all, "Here On Earth" had some real potential to be an outstanding novel.. but it just left me feeling totally empty. Its almost as though Hoffman got tired of writing and just ended the book abruptly. It was a page turner, I must admit...I just really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful characters do not mean the book isn't compelling!, January 1, 2004
I can't call this a love story. At least, not the story of March and Hollis. It wasn't love, it was control and a deep seated hatred of humans on the part of Hollis. Hollis, the definition of "sociopath", which this book defines better than dictionary.com does, as "One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior" was detestible, yet brilliant. Anti-social was only part of this guy's problems. There was also his need to control, as well as maladjustment possibly caused by PTSD.
But I get ahead of myself.
I liked March and Gwen when they arrived in Jenkintown for Judith Dale's funeral. I even liked March's brother Alan. Getting into the story of the past, I was appalled by Alan's treatment of "the boy" as he called Hollis when he first arrived in their home. Hollis was well treated by the adults and March, but not by Alan and his friends. Still, he didn't seem to be broken then. I still liked Hollis when he was gone from March, because I didn't know what he was doing.
I started to loathe him when he returned and started calling March, who had moved away and married Richard, a man Hollis viewed as one of his rivals in property ownership and respect of the community. The statement that turned me around on him was when he told the very pregnant March, "you care more about that baby than you do about me." Yup, I would have said. I sure do. "That" baby is my baby and you are an adult. Grow up. Warning bells would have gone off for me, but they didn't for March. Too bad.
Gwen certainly reformed when she found something outside of herself to care for in the former racehorse, Tarot. I could visualize that the horse loved her and responded well to her because he was reminded of the gentle Belinda, his former rider and mistress. I was relieved that Gwen and Hank could form their relationship in an adult, responsible manner; with neither falling into the obsessive behaviour that had marked March and Hollis's relationship, even from the beginning. My God! How could anyone have lived like March and Hollis did, even as teenagers?!
Hollis didn't try to be subtle at all in his attempts to control March. Had March been awake, she would have seen that when her oilburner and her car mysteriously gave out and Hollis wasn't able to fix them. Had she not seen that, there was a huge clue when Hollis took March away from the Harvest Fair. But like so many abused women, she didn't see, or want to see. She didn't see his violence even when he threatened her daughter and the animals she loved. Many women don't. March was very enmeshed in her "relationship" with Hollis, but thankfully, Alice Hoffman allowed her to find her way out, if only due to an accident at the infamous devil's corner. It could have been much, much worse, and in real life, it is.
To give her the benefit of the doubt, for a long time, March saw Hollis as the boy he was; before he became "Mr. Death". Still, trauma doesn't excuse his barbaric actions towards her and everyone else.
I used to think that if I disliked the characters of a novel, I could dismiss the novel as "not very good". No more. I despised Hollis, but the art it takes to create an evil person like him is immense. To continue to work with a horrible character that the author surely hated as well takes a lot of fortitude. Thank you for persevering, Alice Hoffman!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING!, April 3, 2006
By 
No matter how very valid are the cons noted in other reviews, I've just finished this book and feel as though I've read a combo effort of Bronte/King/Koontz/Higgins Clark w/a touch of Steel. Add to that the sensation of intrigue, suspense, "can't put the d*mn thing down," gifted prose-- succinct but filled with clarity & emotion--how could I not rate this 5 stars?
Yes, it is a twisted romance melded with horror but at the center is love...and hate. Love right, love wrong, love naive; hate common but often overlooked for the good of the order. Love gone awry & how an innocent can convert to a monster. Make that 2 innocents-which will be revealed when you read the novel. Love transformed to obsessive, love blind, love that metamorphs & mutates until it's twisted, ugly, despicable . Ultimately, no longer love at all. Does it sound familiar in the real world? Maybe not to the majority of readers but some of us might understand an inkling; some more. Thus, the fascination. The reader recognizes this warp, supporting characters do, but not the central figures. As with all suspense, that's what makes it so captivating! We, the reader, initially supportive, then we question, ponder, fret...but
they don't...not in time.
One reviewer writes of the mirror image of Wuthering Heights premise. Great observation & having just finished this book--feeling spine-tingling anxiety, it only makes me want to digest W. Heights again ASAP! Any book that causes one to yearn for the classics (due to being so moved) is truly a book that's worth reading. This should happen more often. I know...I read 3 books per wk. Some are so dull, I wonder why I've bothered. Not this one! A rare find.
My chief & only gripe with Here on Earth is the title. Perhaps the premise could only happen "here on earth???"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writer, unlikable characters, February 25, 2002
By A Customer
Unlike many of the other reviewers here, I have never read Wuthering Heights, nor do I know the plotline, so I cannot comment on how "Here on Earth" stacks up to the story that apparently inspired it. However, I don't feel that should really be relevant to reviewing the book.
I liked this book, and I like Hoffman's writing. It's very fantasy-like, she sprinkles in some magical realism here and there. She writes in a style that is easy to breeze through, and very descriptive, making you picture the scenes she paints very clearly.
However, the characters were just totally unlikable to me. I felt all kinds of feelings towards them, including, hate, pity, shock, and distaste. A quick rundown:
March: A sorry excuse for a woman. I have never been in a relationship that abusive, so I guess it's unfair of me to say I could understand her position, but no matter how much you love someone, if you have any strength or dignity in you at all, you do not put up with the [stuff]that she takes from Hollis. Even when they were younger, he wasn't that appealing. It was TOTALLY a relationship based on lust, that's IT, there's nothing more to it...
Gwen: I also agree that her thoughts and actions were too mature for a 15 year old, and that being in Jenkintown for such a short time would not change her completely, making her personality do a complete 180. I liked her toughness, and how she talked back to Hollis, but she should have tried to talk some sense into her mother, instead of ignoring what was going on with her and Hollis for the most part... Hank: I actually liked Hank, but as much as Gwen was tough, he was too bland and wishy-washy. He should have stood up to Hollis more. I understand he was indebted to Hollis...Hollis: I KNOW that the reader is supposed to despise this character, and boy did I despise him. However, I think it would have added more to the book if you had been able to see a redeeming quality or two in him. At least then you would have been able to hope for his redemption, or understand why March loves him so much. The closest thing we get to seeing why he's such a beast...He was simply one of the most disturbing, evil characters I've ever read about...I would have liked a good scene at the end of the book...
Also, as with a lot of books these days I find, the end left me unsatisfied like many readers. Why do authors find it so hard to give some closure to their stories? What happened to March and Richard and Gwen after they reunited in California? Just a little tidbit, a little epilogue would have been nice.
All in all, I wouldn't say NOT to read this book, but it was depressing, and you'll probably feel sort of an uneasiness about the merits of humankind when you're done. It definitely held my interest, but most of the time I felt like shaking my head in disappointment at the characters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't care what you say... I liked it, May 16, 2005
This is not the type of book I would pick for myself, but recently I found myself in a situation far from home with no T.V., Radio, or even my own book collection so I was forced to read whatever my host had to offer. Although I felt there were some really strange twist, maybe something I wouldn't have personally put in, and some things that were so outlandish, no one could ever relate to such characters, I did however find myself drawn to the book. I finished it in about 5 hours which was nice. Do not go into this book expecting your life to be changed forever, or maybe a new outlook, it doesn't offer either. But for me, it allowed me to tap into a hidden part of my own life where I had been in love and lost, and that intrigued me. I can definately see where people would have issues with the book... but for me, it was worth the short 5 hours it took from my life... maybe it will be worth it for you!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally unlikeable characters, November 7, 2001
I am so relieved to know that there are others who dislike this book as much as I do and I'm concerned about readers who think this is a great love story. I got the audio version for a road trip and found myself telling characters off more than once. It's no paean to to Bronte or Wuthering Heights; while shamelessly culling its plot, it only serves to emphasize all the parts I was most uncomfortable with in the original novel. Both serve as a handbook on how to raise a neglected child, and in both, there is no learning, no redemption. The characters are just as self-centered, neglectful, and cruel at 40 as they were in their younger years. March's parenting skills are negligible, and the sainted husband Richard's are no better. And how believable is it in a small town that Gwen would not know Hank was her first cousin or Belinda was her aunt? But what truly makes me unable to finish this tape is my absolute dislike of the two main characters and my total lack of interest in what happens to them - except for the concern over the two children they are dragging behind in their wake. What a sad, disappointing book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A BAD soap opera....and an insult to females..NO STARS, June 27, 2000
By 
I love probably 3 out of 4 of Oprah's book club books I read. This was one of the "4's." I didn't like this novel at all. I thought the turn of events in the novel were so outrageously unrealistic & insane. This may sound strange, but they were so crazily unrealistic that you could PREDICT what would happen by just thinking..."what would be the most crazy thing this character would do next..?" And they would do it! It literally reads like a bad soap opera...where crazy things happen just to keep you in amazement of how insane some people are. I don't even feel as if this book is worth any stars at all. I also felt as if the way March treats herself and allows others to treat her is a great insult to females everywhere. Not to mention the insult that Louise Justice is to females. Most of the book left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS, WOMEN! If I could, I would have given it ZERO stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Saltines, anyone?, November 4, 2002
Sometimes in taste tests, they use saltine crackers to "reset" the taste buds and keep the flavor of one item from influencing another. Well, this book left such a bad taste in my mouth I'm going to need a whole box of saltines to overcome it.
I didn't like Wuthering Heights, and I didn't like Here on Earth. I guess I'm loathe to promote a book where there's not a single likeable character, or one who doesn't fit into some stereotyped role. I believe in realistic characters: people, I agree, are not black and white. No one is all good or all bad. This book seems to attempt to make the characters appear real, but fails miserably, as the "good" and "bad" qualities they exibit are transparent, superficial and worst of all, predictable. They are one-sided, painted china dolls whose behavior doesn't make any sense, here on Earth. Not the Earth I live on, anyway.
I can't even praise the writing style. One never knows who is thinking what, or who is feeling how, becuase the author switches so rapidly from one point of view to another. A paraphrase: "Hollis was angry, and he looked at Hank meanly, because he was mean man, and Hank looked back, thinking about all the things Hollis had done for him, and thinking about Gwen, who was across town, thinking about..." I've always considered this a writing faux-pas, and while I'm all for breaking the rules, I don't think this one pulls it off successfully. The writer does so much telling (this one is beautiful, this one is good, this one is selfish) that the reader doesn't even have a chance to form his/her own opinions. I felt annoyed, talked down to and frustrated the whole way through. How did this get published? I kept asking myself.
The reason I didn't put this book down after the first 20 pages is becuase I don't believe in walking out of an argument until everyone has said their piece, and believe me, when I finished this book, I felt like I had just come from battle. I kept thinking, maybe the book will redeem itself. Maybe I'll grow to like this writing style, somewhere along the way I'll see its beauty and its merits. Maybe the ending will be worth muddling through the elementary prose. It didn't, I didn't, and it wasn't.
Saltines, anyone?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 254 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Here on Earth
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman (Paperback - March 1, 1998)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.