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Showing 1-10 of 241 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 439 reviews
on January 25, 2017
 This book was a journey, one I almost abandoned. For today's reader, I think about 200 pages probably could have been cut without losing much. Of course, it wasn't written for today's reader, and perhaps if you're super into military ranking and history, you would have been enthralled by a lot of that 'extra' I was talking about. The book didn't really 'spark' for me until about 400 pages in, and then I felt like it took off for the next 200 or so -thrilling and intriguing me. I had moments of sheer amazement at the author's ability to connect seemingly disparate moments and when I closed the final page I was in love! There are lines in this book that I had to read over and over again as they were so perfect, the combination of words and imagery and connections so strong and so poignant you can almost taste them. If that is the type of writing that appeals to you, I recommend you read this book even if, like me, you find some of the long descriptions and endless historical details a bit of a drudgery to get through.

More than that though, the story reveals a possible experience of one of the most tragic events in the Western World's recent history in a way that is both touching and profound.

But yeah, it takes patience, and could have used a decent slashing. For my full thoughts in a book chat, check out the video.
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on February 13, 2017
A beautiful Polish Catholic survivor of Auschwitz, her Jewish Brooklynite boyfriend, and a young writer from Tidewater Virginia become best friends and spend a memorable summer of 1947 together. It's a story of sex, drugs,booze, and holocaust memories in the time soon after WWII.
Styron had an impressive command of the English language which he mixed with occasional locker room slang to produce a very readable and absorbing novel, with humor sprinkled through the otherwise serious tome. It is a long book but memorable.
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on March 4, 2017
OMG, can Styron write! I never saw the movie and never will because no movie could do any justice to this book and story. The characters come alive, and the plot eases you down the road. It's moving to read an author who can write like this.
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on August 21, 2016
This book is a masterpiece. Any work by William Styron is a masterpiece. He wrote the great American novel - several times over. He may not have set out to do that - but every word he wrote - every chapter read - every book devoured is a completely awesome experience for the reader. After reading this book, or any of his other books - most others will pale by comparison. Of course, if every author was a genius then this author would be status quo - but of course that is not the case. Pick up any of his works, sit right down and be prepared to be awed. And they are books you will reread because you just can't stop yourself.
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on July 16, 2016
A dictionary will be helpful insomuch as Styron has such a vast ease with the English language. Expansive in scope and quality, he really takes readers on a wonderful ride.

This gutwrenching story of the title character is emotionally charged. Further, comparisons between the Holocaust and American slavery is compelling in demonstrating humanity's propensity for evil.

Well worth your time.
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on September 22, 2016
A compelling Holocaust survivor's story buried under reams of the author's navel gazing.
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on February 18, 2016
From what I've heard, the movie was fantastic. I'm not much of a movie person, I would much prefer a book, so when I saw this on sale at just $1.99 I downloaded a copy for my Kindle. Another reviewer noted that the Kindle version was terrible, but that's apparently been corrected and the formatting was fine. The story, however, was not what I had hoped it would be. It could have been much better, but it was far too long with an incredible amount of useless garbage that didn't add anything to the story except a bunch of extra pages. I had the impression this author was deeply in love with his thesaurus and felt it necessary to dazzle us with the excessive use of brilliant words - words that you'd probably never see or use anywhere else. I am an avid reader, and I like coming across a new word now and then - especially with a Kindle because the built-in dictionary makes it quick and easy to look things up. But unless you have an expansive vocabulary and/or like reading the dictionary, then you may not enjoy this book. For the purposes of this review, I did a quick scan through the book and put together a list of some of the words: scimitar, concupiscent, lacunae, prestidigitation, adante, impecunious, coevals, polyglot, cuprous, analysands, senescence, imbroglio, furbelows, oleagnious, benison, solipsistic, obstreperous, somnambulist, cuneiform, parturition, amanuensis, imbroglio, cerements, crepuscular, epicene, freshets, cicatrix, ganglia, concupiscence, insouciance, imprecation, adumbrates, chiaroscuro, tripartite, circumlocutory, pederast, antediluvian, lachrymal, unguentary, bathos, cenotaph, demesne, simulacrum, matutinal, desuetude, threnody. And the list goes on. Seriously... who talks like that!!?? Like I said, I'm an avid reader and I like coming across new and unusual words - but I also want to enjoy the story. Some of the words I came across were so unusual they weren't even found in the Kindle dictionary. That, and the endless pages of useless babble, just ruined what would have otherwise been a very good story. If there's a Cliff Notes version of the story, I'd strongly suggest reading that instead.
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on October 25, 2015
This famous book, a 20th century "must read" was a terrific disappointment. The premise is very good, but then the execution of it -- and the clumsy framework Styron devised to develop that premise -- are absolutely dreadful. The book is 300 pages too long, horribly over-written in every possible definition of the term, and so easy to put down. The Auschwitz sections were more interesting and pertinent, but those scenes are severely compromised by the naive narrator's adolescent purple prose which was, ultimately, too much for me. The ending was both inevitable -- and flat. I did finish the book, but it was a struggle. I really can't recommend this. I don't know how Styron (the justly celebrated author of "The Confessions of Nat Turner") could have made the decisions he had to make to write this novel the way he did.
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VINE VOICEon August 15, 2016
Very wordy novel, don't expect a fast read. It had been a long time since I have seen the movie but I could instantly picture Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Peter MacNichol and it was their voices I had in my head I read this. Excellent book.
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VINE VOICEon October 26, 2014
I am sort of divided about this reading experience. While the story and flashbacks to Sophie’s traumatic experiences of the Holocaust hold some emotional sway and power, I thought that both the characters and the many digressions and asides from Stingo lessened the impact of the book. Stingo’s rants and asides about his lust for Sophie and other women were mildly amusing at first, but became more tiresome and distracting as the book progressed.

The characters were a bit lackluster, in my opinion. Sophie and Nathan didn’t really ring true to me, and, for this reason, I couldn’t really sympathize with or connect to them. Part of this might have been because we are being told about them from Stingo’s point of view, but, still I just didn’t really think they came across as realistic. Although Stingo reveals piece by piece segments of his story and experiences with Nathan and Sophie, and ultimately the revelation of Sophie’s “choice”, somehow it all just loses momentum and there is a constant disconnect between what Stingo wants to tell and how he tells it.

There are some positives. I can see how parallels into dark historical moments—the slavery of the South, and the Holocaust—are explored in Sophie’s Choice and how this has an impact on each central character. Styron can capture and paint a picture eloquently with words—his prose and style are impressive.

But, at times, he seems to overreach and give way too much back story, only to tread over that story once again.

While Sophie’s Choice has a literary quality to it and some powerful moments, I just felt like it lacked the real effect I was expecting.
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