Customer Review

286 of 300 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review., February 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Kitchen House: A Novel (Paperback)
At 17, I realize that I'm not the greatest authority on literary merit. My life has been short, relatively unlived, inexperienced. I spend most of my time living through the lives of fictional people on someone else's pages and I feel the uneven weight of the book in my hands. I read The Kitchen House and couldn't feel a thing that wasn't being felt by Belle and Lavinia. I saw only them, their world. And when it was all over, I felt that I might cry because the last page had turned but suddenly, it seemed like the room wasn't empty.
As I read, all of them- Belle, Ben, Marshall even- had peeled their backs off the words to hover around me. And they haunted me for days, followed me everywhere. This novel is the kind that pulls in one as one person before spitting you back out wholly other. Maybe it's the raw, unabashed emotion, the unhindered heartache that claws into you, snags on that darkest part of you and intensifies it. Makes you regret your sins and rejoice in your loves. Either way, I felt what I've rarely felt- that my short life may have been slightly changed by The Kitchen House- or, really, the lives of those inside of it. That I had moved one inch, however miniscule, closer to that part of my bloodline, my heritage, which had remained so almost dreamlike in its distance, untouchable.
Belle could be anyone's ancestor, Lavinia could be anyone's history.
Yeah, that's it. I felt, I think, for the first time, really connected to a past I had only ever read about in text books. In 2 days, this novel revealed more than 12 years of U.S. History. And made it real, true, beautifully horrible in every ghostly- or ghastly- way.
There really aren't words, though I've used a considerable amount, to describe the swell of emotions you feel while reading this. But I suppose that's where the beauty lies. In the ability of words on white pages to create from their inhumanity that rawest spectrum of feelings which mark us as truly human.
The "O" of OSG, Olivia
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 23 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 28, 2010 12:46:11 PM PST
Gail Bain says:
That was one of the most profound description of a novel that you touched, healed, provoked and even made you open your eyes to another sector of your life.
I want to be that person. I want to live through the power of those pages and so I will read this book upon your thoughts and take along with me your empty, yet saddened and profound insight to what makes us all reach inside ourselves to find a common attachment to realty or spirituality.
Thank you
G

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2010 10:32:01 AM PST
Van says:
Well written, Arnold!

Posted on May 13, 2011 6:18:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2011 6:18:38 AM PDT
Maggie1234 says:
the one who posted this should think of writing their own book. Nice way og putting thoughts on paper.

Posted on Jan 11, 2012 1:14:35 PM PST
BooDog says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 5, 2012 8:03:43 PM PST
For a 17 year old, this is a fantastic and well written review! Because of these beautiful words, I feel forced to buy this book. I hope you've gone on to major in creative writing. I'd say you deserve a scholarship to a well respected university.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2013 10:53:03 AM PDT
Arnold's may not have been the standard book review, but he revealed the "magical" power of reading a well written book. It made me purchase the book, so isn't that the mark of an excellent book review?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2013 11:36:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2013 11:37:34 AM PDT
BritChick says:
I can't help but agreeing with you - i still haven't figured out what the book was all about!!

Posted on Mar 27, 2013 5:54:52 PM PDT
Rachel says:
I was scanning the reviews as I frequently do when deciding on my next read. I confess I am terrible about contributing reviews, of anything. I use reviews all the time in making decisions, and while I always intend to contribute, there's always something else to draw my attention and demand my time. In reading this review however I was captivated to the point of thinking "I simply must respond." I've been an avid, no, really, voracious reader since I was a child. Arnold, your review really touched me and connected with my love of a good book. The characters that will creep into my daily thoughts and as you said, seem to follow you about. And your statement about the impact of story on understanding history really hit a nerve as well. You connected to this story, and I to your description of your connection. Best of luck Arnold in wherever your path may lead - keep feeling, keep reading, and get out there and experience the beauty of the world. No doubt great things will ensue.

Posted on Apr 18, 2013 11:16:44 AM PDT
summerdays says:
Well, Arnold...I would probably buy any novel that you have penned....hopefully you will go on to write as the means to invoke your out take on life ....you at 17 years, are better then many a author I have paid monies to read....Cheers to you and live the good life..do not waste your talents...xx Linda

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 10:44:17 PM PDT
Buying this book because of this review.
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