Review: Unfinished Books Completed

i had 2 books that i had put aside for various reasons that i did not want to give up on. today i FINALLY got around to finishing them up. here are the thoughts on two 3 star books:

The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir by Katrina Kenison

this one just didn’t hold my interest like i thought it would. i saw a video of the author reading an excerpt from the book and it brought me to tears! she spoke about the difficult, but necessary, process of “letting go” of her 2 boys as they crossed into the stages of boy to teen and teen to man. she also spoke of her own journey of getting to know HERSELF again; slowing down and just enjoying the journey instead of making things perfect for everyone else.

i thought that i would really relate to what Katrina Kenison had to say, myself being a mother of 2 boys that are fast approaching the stage where they no longer “need” me, but i just did not. i found that it got a bit whiney, hokey and repetitive– lots of self-help/yoga-love philosophizing that actually made me bored rather than inspired. i was always way more interested in the story of what would happen to the family themselves (would their musical son get into College? would their new dreamhouse ever be ready? would her parents say “get the hell out already!!”? what was going on with all of the quirky neighbours that she met along the way?).

i debated between a 2 and a 3. i settled on 3 because she really is a good writer and i was glad that i did go back and finish because the ending seemed more about what i was interested in and less of a “learn to know yourself” Love-fest.

The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

This was more like a history lesson about the 1893 Chicago World Fair than an enjoyable read. i thought that it would read more like a story about the fair with a serial killer on the loose rather than what it was– a series of timelines of events. it was weird that the chapters about Dr. H. H. Holmes (the serial killer) and the fair itself were kept mostly separate. i found myself rushing thru all of the endless fair planning to get to the serial killer parts but most of the “good stuff” (that being the “bad stuff” we all knew he was doing) came out only in the last chapter or 2.

i did learn that quite a bit of things that we know and love originated at the Chicago World Fair including: Cracker Jacks, Shredded Wheat, Cream of Wheat, Juicy Fruit Gum, Hamburgers (first time in the U.S.), the incandescent lightbulb, Postcards, the Ferris Wheel, the term “Midway”, and Tiffany style lamps.

over all i thought that this book was more interesting than a “must read”.

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