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Profile for Peggy Vincent > Reviews


Peggy Vincent's Profile

Customer Reviews: 1187
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Helpful Votes: 15616

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Reviews Written by
Peggy Vincent "author and reader" RSS Feed (Oakland, CA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity
Split at the Root: A Memoir of Love and Lost Identity
Price: $5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Really should/could have been shorter, November 19, 2015
This should have been shorter, IMO.
I got irritated at the lengthy detail of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.
It's a story of search for ancestry, identity, parentage, and belonging. Those themes are why I began reading.
A black Guatemalan girl is raised from infancy by an autocratic white upper-class German...under a shroud of mystery surrounding the circumstances of her birth and 'adoption by the 60-ish yo German 'mother.'
Or...was she 'taken'?
The story was good and kept me reading.
But the writing was wooden most of the times, self-aggrandizing at other times, and unnecessarily melodramatic the rest of the time.
Only wanting to know how it ended kept me reading.
Mostly, I wish the author had gotten to the last third of the book much more quickly, because that's when my interest peaked.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy-assed terrific book. Laugh after laugh after laugh., November 1, 2015
Crazy (really) awesome book.
Not great literature (but it never pretends to be), but great insight, great laughter, great scenes, unbelievable mental images as we follow the twisted logic of the author's mind.
Best of all, great understanding of herself, her impact on others, and how one's attitude toward life's vicissitudes can make all the difference.
Jenny Lawson has NO FILTERS when she writes (or at least they aren't visible). If it pops into her head, she writes it down and sends it out to the world.
Elevates taxidermy into the stratosphere.
Definitely buy this book.
Just don't try to read it next to a sleeping partner; you'll wake him or her up with your laughter.
Also, her blog is terrific:

Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France
Toute Allure: Falling in Love in Rural France
Price: $6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A French lesson buried in a romance. Pas mal!, October 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
About 1/4 into this book, I thought I probably wouldn't finish it.
I had several bjections:
1) what initially felt like far too much name-brand mention (Prada, etc) of shoes, makeup, purses, perfumes.
2) I'm not a 'dog person,' so for my liking, there was too much DOG in this book
3) The author, a Brit, lives in rural France but socializes almost exclusively w the expat community.
I kept reading for several reasons:
1) There are stretches of really good writing in the book
2) I ended up objecting to the dog, Biff, far less than I had expected
3) The name brand name-dropping faded just enough about halfway through that I stopped grinding my teeth
4) A few native French people began to play more of a role
5) Eventually I got drawn into the love story
But I think what really kept me reading was the frequent and very well-done insertion of French phrases in the book. I speak a teeny, teeny, teeny bit of French...but now I speak more! I can even say 'It doesn't matter' in French. Wheeler tosses these sentences into the English prose in such a way that, even without her occasional interpretation in parentheses, a reader can infer meaning. Toute Allure is a little like a French phrase book buried in a fluffy romance buried in a travel story.
Pas mal, pas mal! (Not bad!)

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Happily nuts over this book! It's not Great Literature, but it's sure a great read!, October 16, 2015
Crazy-assed manic hyper hilarious rant-filled run-on wise witty wonderful memoir (sort of) by a woman with no verbal filters (and very few other filters, actually) who has written a memoir (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) plus a blog about mental illness. Her own.
It's not a book to read in bed beside a partner who is trying to sleep:
Your silent laughter will shake that person awake.
Your LOL laughter will surely awaken him.
If he manages to sleep through that, you'll just have to wake him thoroughly up so you can read some tidbit aloud to him.
Poor guy. He had a lot to put up with while I was reading Furiously Happy.
I am sort of relieved Jenny Lawson doesn't live next door to me, but I do wish we could meet for coffee about once a week...although she'd probably do better with a cup of soothing herbal tea instead of the coffee.
Highly recommended for oh-so-many-reasons.

A Separate Peace
A Separate Peace
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegiac and lyrical and inevitably tragic. A coming of age book., October 9, 2015
This review is from: A Separate Peace (Kindle Edition)
What an amazing book!
Elegiac, heartbreaking, redemptive...and that's just the story. The prose is worthy of all the same praise.
Although is was written by a man who died in 2001 in his 70s and concerns the period toward the end of the Second World War, the story feels timeless.
It's a coming of age book about the senior year (and the summer before) of a group of boys at a New Hampshire prep school, thinly disguised as Exeter.
Two boys who are roommate, Phineas and Gene, excel in different ways, compliment each other in all ways...and their friendship sort of accidentally on purpose ends in tragedy.
I whizzed through this book in 2 days, finding myself driven by the beauty of the writing, the inevitability of the denouement, and the story itself.
Iconic. Not to be missed.

Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa
Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa
by Mark Mathabane
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.25
459 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars his discovery that he loved learning, and probably most importantly that he learned ..., October 7, 2015
Superb memoir of a black kid growing up in apartheid, hate-infected, punishingly-severe persecution and deprivation of So. Africa. His chances of achieving anything at all were surely minus zero chance.Through the force of his illiterate mother's determination that he go to school (perhaps she saw potential in where, where others just saw another kaffir), his discovery that he loved learning, and probably most importantly that he learned to play tennis well and loved it, he earned a series of scholarships to American universities. Mathabane went on to marry, father 3 children, become a best-selling author and lecturer.
The book dragged for me at the beginning and began to feel repetitious as perhaps 150-200 pages we spent detailing the horrors of growing up in Alexandra, where 100,000 impoverished people lived in 1 sq mile with no sewage system, electricity, transportation, joblessness, laws that kept the huge black population downtrodden and sequestered.
Okay, I got it. I got the message early on.
For me, the book really picked up momentum as he reached high school and formed his impossible dream of getting out of So. Africa and into America.
He achieved more than his mother could ever have imagined. Bravo.

Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World
Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Monotome, October 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A sweet book.
I probably shouldn't have gone into it with the expectation of 'more,' however. It starts out sweetly, it continues sweetly, and it end sweetly.
Sort of monochrome; very little passion or conflict or revelation.
Mennonites​ are modest, eschewing pride or boastful behavior. She certainly isn't boastful, and although she admits to pride now and then, it is always is an apology.
Blush was an interesting memoir of a very mild, safe, sweet childhood...and a fairly good account of the conflicts she experienced (conflicts of a very, IMO, mundane nature) spiritually and personally.
But at the end, I felt I'd read a book written in a monotone. I wanted 'more.'

Flora: A Novel
Flora: A Novel
Price: $8.79

2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly irritating, September 26, 2015
This review is from: Flora: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
Unlikable characters.
Southern Gothic? I don't think so. There was none of the tragic darkness and inevitability of the good Southern Gothics.
Set in the south at the dawn of the Atomic Age, Godwin seems to be trying to juxtapose the murky past with the modern era as Helen, a precocious and self-absorbed mostly brat subtly battles it out w pretty simple-minded, inept Flora, her cousin who has been asked to 'tend her' for the summer while her father is presumably gone to work on " the bomb."
Mostly, this book irritated and bored me...which is a shame as I've enjoyed many of Godwin's other books.

We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir
We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Way better than I expected. WAY better!, September 25, 2015
I was expecting 'fluff' when I began reading this book, but sometimes fluff is just what one needs as a break from heavy, long, difficult, political books...or one of the ponderous great classics. I like to balance myself w a paper book and a Kindle, each having different levels of intensity and painful subject matter. So this was to be my 'fluff' book.
It wasn't at all! Okay, it's not Dr. Zhivago or Tolstoy or whatever, but there's real meat to it.
Coburn balances three topics with grace, insight, grief, love, and compassion: travel memoir, grief, and fear of dying young.
The book is definitely more than a travel story. She fears she will die young, as did her father, and the loss of him (too young; smoking; lung cancer) is something she is still working to resolve, both the loss and her own fear. So she sets off to make several trips to Europe with her young daughter (between ages 8-16), "to make memories," one gathers in preparation for what she expects to be her own premature deaths. Along the way, vivid memories of visits with her much loved and very colorful (if unreliable) father match the setting or tone of her travels at the moment.
Caveat: she paints her husband as a patient saint, and she and her daughter never, I mean never, have conflict. This is too good to believe.
But, wow, I enjoyed this book about 10x more than I expected to.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative, very good. A little too long., September 20, 2015
When the Crocodile Eats the Sun, by native-born Zimbabwean Peter Godwin who has lived on several continents and has an international perspective, is very good. It just goes on a bit too long, becomes repetitive, and feels too journalistic in several places. It traces the simultaneous aging and death of Godwin's father in Zimbabwe (where the family has lived for 2-3 generations) alongside the country's rape by Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of Africa, and now the Zimbabwean currency is so valueless that it would take several wheelbarrows of paper money to buy a cup of coffee; the now use the US dollar for currency. Unemployment hovers around 85%
Life expectancy: 34-37 years (primarily due to the AIDS pandemic)
Yet, oddly, the literacy rate is one of the highest in Africa.
Fascinating book.

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