- File Size: 670 KB
- Print Length: 264 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: September 11, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LYS9LHA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,051,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Kith and Kin Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Kith and Kin was easy to get into. I felt empathy for John McGrath and his best friend, Caine, when they were stuck in terrible conditions and only a tiny amount of food each day. Even after John’s life got better, we could follow Caine’s story in the background, and how their relationship was affected by the sands of time.
We see a lot of John’s life where good and bad happens. I enjoyed it, but I sometimes felt that the story wasn’t moving along as it should. At times John would be ill or something bad would happen, but before it could get serious the story skipped ahead a few years and cleared up on its own. The other issue I had is I believe the book needs a large amount of editing. There were a lot of grammatical and spelling errors, and some continuity issues that sometimes distracted me from the flow of the story.
I liked Kith and Kin, and I found it easy to remain interested up to the very end. I believe with a good editor, this good story could become great. I recommend it if you enjoy historical fiction/drama based in the late 1800s.
From the very beginning, we are sucked into John McGrath's world. I use the term 'sucked' because, in truth, if I had a choice between Mr. Hopps' mill and a Caribbean cruise, I'd go with the boat. Mr. Hopps' is a cruel and abusive caretaker and throughout the first few chapters and intermittently in subsequent sections, Bowns' captures the short term and long-term trauma many children, especially orphans endured working in mills and factories during the Industrial Revolution. Are you thinking Gaskell's 'North and South' yet? If not, then you should.
We could simply be told that John didn't get much to eat, yet Bowns' takes it one step further and describes his bony fingers and hands in fantastic and heartbreaking detail. The orphan children get a half-day off on Sunday afternoons... what-ever will they do with themselves? John finds himself milling around town and right as he's about to pick-up nearly rotted fruit from the ground-- sounds yum, right-- he jumps behind a bush to avoid being caught by a wealthy lady and her maid.
Now, I can't speak to modern-day England, but I can say in the United States, we have an over-crowded foster care system with underpaid workers drowning in caseloads and just like John and his best friend Caine, some will end up living with a Mr. Hopps. I will add that I personally know many wonderful foster families, however, with the good comes the bad and while this doesn't translate directly into the children being overworked in a mill, the status quo opens the door for foster homes to profit directly off a disadvantaged group.
Any 'Bleak House' enthusiasts out there? *Raises hand*... Remember Mrs. Jellyby, or how about Mrs. Pardiggle and the famous "brick-maker's scene" (one of my favorite scenes ever)-- Dickens makes compelling commentary about telescopic philanthropy and how society tends to police philanthropic acts.
What does all this have to do with 'Kith and Kin'?
Well, meet Miss Rochdale; she's the face of everything unconventional. Not only is she unmarried, *whispers* she's independently wealthy. *gasp*... No need to reach for your spectacles... you read that correctly. While many women were fast becoming 'angels of the hearth' (No, this isn't to be mistaken for an 18th-Century version of Charlie's Angels...), Rochadale is over here defying social-norms. Think Margaret Hale without a John Thorton, badass, right?
Rochdale is not only the antithesis of society's expectation for women, she also negates what many would've considered 'ideal' in terms of charity.
As John breaks the cycle of abuse he's endured at the hands of Mr.Hopps, Miss Rochdale steps in; not only does she offer him boarding and food, she gets him a job interview with Mr. Duce, the local tailor... and BAM!... John McGrath starts to become his own man.
But what about Caine? If John's ability to overcome the mistreatment suffered at the hands of Hopps represents lower-class 'success', then does Caine embody the voices of those left behind?
Caine finally escapes the mill after an incident leaves him without one of his arms-- A significant metaphor for everything that years of abuse takes away from a person. He moves away to live with family and I'm left to wonder, where was this family all along?
A push-pull question that speaks to the title of the novel itself 'Kith and Kin'. John is always the one there for Caine in his most difficult of times just as Caine looked out for John at the mill. Could 'Kith' be before 'Kin' because sometimes its our friends whom we find more reliable than our own blood? It's those people who aren't even related to us, but we know we can call them in the bleakest of circumstances and they'll come as fast as they can (with an entire army if we need it!)... or, at least with a bottle of wine and a listening ear.
This novel is an onion, no... not because it made me cry (Okay, I might've sniffled a little... but, I can't tell you when because that'll ruin everything.) and No, not because it stinks. There's more layers to this book than Ralphie's little brother wears in A Christmas Story.
If John's ability to overcome what we'd diagnose now as PTSD and his willingness to forgive Mr.Hopps, hold a steady job, and be a dedicated husband and father, is viewed as movement and growth, then Maira, his wife, represents stasis.
Don't get me wrong, I fully believe in equality in any marriage. I don't view the husband's role as the 'leader' or 'head of household', but I think marriage is a team. I enjoy those 'sit down and discuss' moments where each spouse brings logic, emotion, and points of contention to the table and discusses important decisions as a unit, while weighing the costs and benefits of every outcome.
For someone who asks her husband a few times to buy her a new dress, Maira clearly wears the pants in the McGrath household, making the reader wonder if she sees John's gentle nature as a means for her to be controlling. On the flip side, if John's only ever lived a life of exploitation, would he recognize the difference? Or, would he see Maira's control as a 'norm'? What about when Maira loses her temper with Bonnie? In a normal situation, I feel like John would've stood up for Bonnie more. Perhaps it's left up to the reader to decide, but I saw Maira's authority as brave commentary on the cycle of abuse and how once a person is used to submitting, it becomes a difficult habit to break.
From its genuine social commentary to an endearing use of the word 'mollycoddled'-- which has officially been added to my everyday vocabulary, I see 'Kith and Kin' as a must read with the main weakness being grammar issues here and there. Despite this, I'd give it five thumbs up. Why, you ask? Please refer to my neatly numbered list.
1.) I'm not the grammar police
2.) I tend to be in a school of thought that believes it's not worth running up my electric bill by spotlighting minor errors that don't throw me out of the story.
But for just $1.33 (USD), 'Kith and Kin' is absolutely worth the read.
I do not believe I have cried this much in a book for a long time; Kith & Kin is an extremely deep book. It disserts about real deep and delicate issues: child abandonment, child abuse, child labor, and all the consequences these traumas can have throughout your life.
It talks about bonds; friendship bonds that can substitute family's when you are alone in the world. It talks about compassion, companionship and friendship. It talks about kindness.
It is a book that really got me shaken – I noticed I started to pay attention not to waste food on my plate, thinking about John. I counted to 10 before giving a bad answer to my husband thinking about how many times Maira was a spoiled girl… and I reached my friends just to know if they were ok, thinking about Caine. I know these may sound foolish, but I swear it was the effect this book had on me.
If I could sum up this story in a few words, I believe they would be “try to live always with kindness, and value your true friends and all the blessings you have in life – that are many (as food on your plate, a warm house for you to go through tough winters and health)”.
Indeed there are some parts that could be improves; I am not sure whether Scarlett died or not, because there is a part that she seems to be alive again, but then Mr. Duce says something about her grave. And also there are some spelling mistakes, but overall it is fine.
Thank you, Sophie, for the book made me a better person (if not for a long time, at least for a week). I hope to always remember John McGrath and all the things he taught me (and the ones he reminded me of) on the last 4 days. And please let us know John's fate asap!!!
Hope you guys have a chance to go through it!
And please check mypapertrips.wordpress.com for more reviews and comments!
See you soon
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The setting is a character itself with how detailed, sad and upsetting it is. This is not a tale for the faint of heart.Read more