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The Laws of Gravity by [Rosenberg, Liz]
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The Laws of Gravity Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews

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Length: 297 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The Choices We Make by Karma Brown
"The Choices We Make" by Karma Brown
An emotional tale of friendship and motherhood from the author of Come Away with Me. Learn more | See author page
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Editorial Reviews


"Rosenberg has written a thoughtful story about morality, personal responsibility, the law and, above all, the complicated, sometimes incomprehensible, ties of family. This emotionally compelling novel...has 'book group' stamped all over it." —The Boston Globe

"Drop whatever book you're reading and pick up a copy of Liz Rosenberg's stunning look at three Long Island families … Rosenberg is a marvelous storyteller, with deep understanding of families honed by her many books." —The Huntington News

"The Laws of Gravity is a heart wrenching and honest exploration of family love and betrayal. A real page turner right up to its beautiful last page." —Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread and The Knitting Club

The Laws of Gravity is an unflinching portrayal of that place where fear and family collide. Part medical drama and part family saga, it reminds a reader of how easily the ties that bind can fray. Heartbreaking." —Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls

"Clear-eyed and compassionate, The Laws of Gravity wrangles with the complexity of choice…What do we owe one another? How can we forgive? How do we live with ourselves? Liz Rosenberg's details are riveting; they pierce. Her ideas about friendship triumph." —National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart, author of Small Damages and Handling the Truth

"A natural source for reflections ... I predict this thoughtful and intriguing novel will qualify as a topic for discussion among book groups." —San Diego Jewish Book World,

"[R]ealistic in its human detail, in the contrasting roles of women and men, the lives of children, the play of religion and spirituality." —

"Reading Liz Rosenberg's fine new adult novel is like digging for hidden treasure—and finding it!" —Alan Cheuse, NPR commentator, editor and author of To Catch the Lightning

"The gravitational forces in this simple but subtle story lift on waves of buoyant laughter, sink in troughs of despair, and ascend as if weightless into sublime wisdom." —Provincetown Arts Magazine

About the Author

Liz Rosenberg was born in Glen Cove, New York. She has written more than thirty books for adults and young readers, including novels, poetry, and nonfiction. For the past fifteen years she has been a book review columnist at The Boston Globe. Liz teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton where she won the Chancellor’s Award for excellence in teaching. Her first husband was the late novelist John Gardner, author of Grendel. She lives in Binghamton, N.Y., with her husband, David, her daughter, Lily, and two shih tzus. Her son, Eli, lives in New York City as an actor and magician.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1111 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 7, 2013)
  • Publication Date: May 7, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7GK4TE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel centers on a legal question: can someone be forced to give cord blood (or other body parts) to a relative? And the moral dilemma: how could they refuse to help a family member in desperate need? Nicole and Ari are cousins and have been close throughout their lives. Now Nicole is sick and needs the last chance of cure that may be found in Ari's son Julian's cord blood. At first he agrees to let her use the banked blood, but then Julian has a health scare that makes Ari retract his promise. Does Nicole have the RIGHT to that blood? How can Ari withhold it from her when it holds the possibility of her health and life vs pain and death. He stands alone against a legal team and the state Supreme Court judge who is hearing his last case before retirement.

Halfway through the book I was getting so irritated by the characters, especially Nicole, that I almost stopped reading it. Melodramatic and manipulative, the author tries to get the reader to a high moral ground and to root for Nicole's case against her cousin. I really did not care for ANY of the stereotypical characters in the novel, nor was their portrayal believable. Too much angsting. Aside from the annoying reminder of how beautiful and good Nicole was (as opposed to her mean, hulking, selfish cousin), I really didn't ever become fully engaged with the drama playing out. The book became more of a morality lecture with religious sermons about conscience, purpose, duty, and being a "brother's keeper" from the Jewish point of view.

If you like Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, and some of the other female authors who write about family drama, then you would enjoy this novel.

PS - I chose this book because I am currently having a bone marrow drive at the school where I work.
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Liz Rosenberg was a professor of mine when I attended Binghamton University in the 80's and I loved her classes. As my children grew up I read them all of her children's books while fondly remembering her "Writing for Children" creative writing class. I read about the publication of this novel in an alumni magazine and pre-ordered it right away. Once again my former professor amazed me. I became so engrossed in this novel that I found myself sneaking chapters through out the day like a thief! The story was so unique and contemporary, a family arguing in court over 'cord-blood' that could possibly save a members life. A heartbreaking novel that really made me want to do some legal research of my own just to follow up on the possibilities. This would make an excellent book for a book club. It is full of debatable plot points, religious viewpoints, life lessons, love lessons, foreshadowing and literary techniques galore. It is so rich and beautiful that I think I will have to read it again right away just to make sure I didn't miss anything! My kindle is highlighted and annotated but there is always more beauty to find in a novel that is this gorgeously written. Wow-this story and these characters will stay in my mind for a long time, and they are welcome to linger.
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Did she not have an editor to review the legal details? Just about everything is wrong in the way she describes how a case is handled in NY State courts. The judge's opinion is practically unreadable if you've ever studied real judges' opinions. She proves the old adage, "write about things you know" -- and if you stray from that, find a really good editor who knows what you don't know. Everything that had to do with the court case (which was pretty central to the book) was pure frustration to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have to say, after the first chapter the only reason I read this book was to find out if the author really was ridiculous enough to reveal the entire plot in one chapter. And indeed, you can essentially guess everything that happens from the get go. The characters are either saints or devils (there's no complexity), and the plot is generic and bland. I wish I could say the the writing rescues it, but honestly this would have benefited from some major revisions. It seemed like sometimes the author was like "hey, I haven't been poetic in a while, why don't I randomly insert some nice words here" or "I think my readers are too dumb to figure out what I just hinted at, why don't I spell everything out so they don't have to think at all."

Bottom line: if you're looking for a plot that will never surprise you, awkward religious overtones, characters who never leave you wondering if they are more than caricatures, forced emotions, and just ok writing, this book is probably going to be a favorite. I'd say this is kind of a Jodi Picoult style book, but about half as well done. It's been a while since I've read anything in this genre, so I unfortunately can't recommend anything that you should read instead.
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By J St on October 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Way too many hours of my life I will never get back. I kept waiting for the big finish where everything came together. Nothing comes together, no great life message and very depressing and unsatisfying ending.
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I loved the characters and how the story took me into my own story of what is the right thing to do and how complex that is. I didn't always like what it made me feel but i loved that it did, as i navigated my own choices that were right for me at the time but exacted a terrible cost for others; my surety that it was the right choice, my terrible grief that it was not, and i was simply an awful schmuck. The duality of mind in an endless argument. No room for truly feeling the holy moment of birth and death contained in life, and falling at its feet.

Funny, well written, heartbreaking, believable, each character a piece of myself. And it underscores that the only thing that is true is what actually happens, not what i or anyone imagines should have. That endless argument with reality that prevents us from feeling everything and welcoming it in for tea. Then there may be grief, love and joy even, but no suffering. No resistance to what is. Just a full on experience of it. And its sometimes painful beauty.

Go somewhere else for a story review, I'm sure there are plenty. I share with you more how this book underscores the believes I have about what is happening (aka reality), and THAT is were true suffering lies. In my thinking it should have been some other way. The endless argument with reality that can tear us apart... Or blow our hearts open and set us free when we see it simply isn't true.

This book has the power to show me unconditional love... Without a single change in plot. It went as it did. Now end my argument Ari should have done something different, and sit in the fire of my own true heart breaking open. and just feel the beauty of the great mystery of life.

Thank you for this masterpiece, love.
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