Another book review blog?!?

Yes because people ask "Have you read anything good lately?" And I have. From a class ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Song Yet Sung - Historical Fiction

Author: James McBride  
Publication Date: 2008    
Number of Pages: 368
Geographical Setting/Time Period: 19th Century Chesapeake Bay Region (1861-1865)

Main Character(s):
Liz Spocott (Strong and beautiful runaway who sees the future);
Patty Cannon (Heartless, wicked mass slave trader);
Denwood Long (A troubled sympathetic slave hunter);
Woolman (A kind feral black man);
Amber (generous and helpful slave who knows “the code”);
Kathleen Sullivan (Kind widow who treats her slaves like family)

Plot Summary:
Liz is an injured runaway slave who can see the future in her dreams; she helps 14 other runaways escape from Patty Cannon’s attic. Patty and her posse are in constant pursuit of the runaways. “The code” protects those who know it in finding assistance in their attempts to make it to the freedom line. When two young boys, one black one white, vanish the town scrambles to find them and everyone begins to realize who can be trusted, regardless of skin color.

This is a slow paced novel where the characters quest for freedom is intricately described. McBride uses authentic dialect between the characters to tell the story of the runaway slaves. The search for truth and freedom add to the sense of anticipation throughout the book with an overlying bleak tone. The dual perspective that McBride offers of the Underground Railroad and “the code” with references to Harriet Tubman and the future of Martin Luther King will appeal to readers.

Brief quote: “Them dreams you got, he said, the children that’s fat and running round, Killing each other. The colored men who dress up as boys, they ain’t no different from the folks around here. Some is up to the job of being decent, and some ain’t.”(160).

Prizes or Awards: None.

Similar Works:
The Color of Water: a Blackman’s tribute to his white mother by James McBride (similar details regarding African American Men; mother and son relationships; and ethnic identity)–Reader’s Advisory Online
Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill (Similar themes regarding slaves and African American women)–NovelistPlus


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Paris Wife - Historical Fiction

Author: Paula McLain   Publication Date: 2011   Number of Pages: 318

Geographical Setting/Time Period: 1920-25, the jazz age in Paris

Main Characters:
Hadley Hemingway - the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. She is deeply in love with Ernest, supportive of his vision to be a great writer. but dependent on him to give her life purpose.
Ernest Hemingway - a charming, moody, selfish young man. He is driven by demons to write. His community of friends allow a patron supported lifestyle that seems unrealistic by today's standards.

Plot Summary: Friends of friends, two young people meet in Chicago and fall in love. They marry and move to Paris, pursuing the young man's dream to become a writer. The young woman, a musician of some talent, allows her skill to remain only a peripheral part her life, choosing to support her husband in his efforts. Their circle of friends supports a lifestyle that seems unrealistic by today's standards. The young man is a philanderer and eventually is forced to choose fidelity or divorce

Appeal: Character driven, the tone of the book is romantic. Based on historical fact, there is an inevitability to the narrative. There is a small sense of world-building as the culture of the Paris group in the 1920s is hinted at.

Brief quote: "I closed my eyes and let meyself fall, barreling down over the hard bumps. I'd had so much to drink I couldn't feel a thing -- nothing but a thrilling sense of wildness and freedom. It was a kind of euphoria, really, and fear was a key part of it." (p. 21)

Prizes or Awards: Starred reviews in Kirkus and Library Journal

Similar Works: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan,

Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Reader’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Linnet Bird - Historical Fiction

Author:  Linda Holeman  Publication Date:  2004  
Number of pages: 376 
Geographical Setting/Time Period: 1823-1840; Liverpool, England; Calcutta, India; Kashmir;
Main Characters:
  • Linnet Gow (aka Linnet Smallpiece, then Linnet Ingram): damaged girl with a strong sense of self. 
  • Shaker (Geffrey) Smallpiece: good hearted librarian and amateur herbalist with palsied hands who helps Linny escape the streets. F
  • aith Vespry (then Snow): Linny’s spirited friend who convinces her to come to India.
  • Somers Ingram: Linny’s sadistic husband who shares a secret from the past with her.
  • Daoud: Pushtun chief, Linny’s first love.
  • David: Linny and Daoud’s child
Plot Summary: 
At age 11, Linnet is sold into prostitution. She works until the age of seventeen, when Shaker befriends her and gives her a new identity as his cousin. Later she accompanies her friend Faith to India. She discovers Somers’ predilections, and he in turn figures out that she is not what she seems either.  He threatens to expose her past until she agrees to a marriage of convenience with him. Later, Linny and Faith go on a trip to a far off town, with disastrous results. Linny ends up in Daoud’s comfortable, friendly village in Kashmir. She and Daoud fall in love but he must leave, so she goes back to Calcutta, where she finds she is pregnant with his child. She cleverly convinces Somers that the baby is his, and dulls her senses with opium after the baby is born. Somers puts all the pieces together and figures out who Linny really is, and that they have a terrible connection from the past. He threatens to have her institutionalized to keep all these secrets. The situation looks hopeless, but Linny is a very tough woman. 

Appeal: This rather lurid, fast paced novel has rich detail of the Victorian Liverpool underworld, the British Raj era of India, and the landscape and social customs of same. The characters are intriguing, human and flawed. The people we care the most about change somewhat for the better over the course of the story. The novel combines historical detail and an engaging if somewhat predictable plot with a small amount of intense romance.
Brief Quote: “Everywhere, brilliant colors swarmed; I had to close my eyes for a moment to distinguish what I was seeing. Women’s saris in bright pink, orange and red, carts heaped with unfamiliar fruit and vegetables. Dark faces under white turbans. As we drew nearer the pier, I breathed in scents I couldn’t identify but which I was sure, from my reading, must be jasmine, sandalwood, cloves and ginger. But there was something else. Underneath it all there was a foetid, cloying odor, of urine, dirt and decay, A deep smell of rot that I recognized from the seeping cellars in Liverpool’s meanest courts” (p149).   

Similar Works: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber is also a vividly detailed historical fiction about Victorian society and underworld with a very sympathetic main character. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters takes place in the same era among the same kind of people, but is more of a gothic/mystery. The Observations by Jane Harris is also a mysterious Victorian novel. 

Reviewer: Alexis Whitney

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fire in Beulah - Historical Fiction

Author: Rilla Askew Pub. Date: 2001
Pages: 376
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Tulsa, OK / 1920-21

Main Characters:
• Althea Dedmeyer- secretive, disagreeable, and insecure wife of a wildcatter;
• Graceful Whiteside- Althea’s proud and enigmatic African-American housemaid;
• Japheth Whiteside- Althea’s violent, cunning, roustabout brother.
• Franklin Dedmeyer- a jovial and driven wildcatter.

Plot Summary:
Althea Dedmeyer (nee Whiteside) married into Tulsa’s high society when she found Franklin, a driven wildcatter with a kind heart. Secure in her station but emotionally dissatisfied and struggling with inner turmoil, she often releases her frustrations on her African-American housemaid, strong, deliberate Graceful. When Japheth Whiteside, Althea’s dangerous roustabout brother, arrives in Tulsa, his machinations threaten to collapse Althea’s carefully constructed reality, destroy Franklin’s oil partnership and hopes of tapping the next big gusher, and propel Tulsa society closer to racial violence. As racial tension explodes into the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, Japheth stokes the hatred and Althea struggles to come to terms with African-Americans as real people with families and lives as she tries to help Graceful through the riot and back to her family.

• Pace- leisurely, significantly picks up near the end;
• Characters- unique and intimately portrayed; lifelike and relatable;
• Storyline- character-driven, layered and complex;
• Frame- engrossing, transporting, vivid, central to the story;
• Tone- ominous

Brief quote: “Althea snatched up the hat from the ally floor and reached her in an instant; she said again, “That was not your brother? Hear me?” Because she was unwilling that it be so. Because if they were going o drag niggers behind cars it should be nameless niggers, bad niggers, dangerous ones who raped white women and carried knives in their boots, not little boys who stared solemnly from photographs, and Althea said it again, hissed the words, “That wasn’t him!”” (p.320)

Prizes or Awards: American Book Award 2002; Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award 2003

Similar Works:
Harpsong or The Mercy Seat, also by Rilla Askew (style, historical fiction, setting);
The burning: massacre, destruction, and the Tulsa race riot of 1921 by Tim Madigan (nonfiction on same topic);
Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan (OK, race relations, oil industry, 1920s)
*All similar works and comparisons found through NoveList.

Reviewer’s Name: Cyndi Selinger

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Code Talker - Historical Fiction

Author: Joeseph Bruchac  Publication Date: 2005
Number of Pages: 231
Setting: United States and Occupied Pacific Islands/ World War Two 1943-1945

Main Character:
Ned Begay- intelligent and eager Navajo student; loyal, capable, and strong Marine

Plot Summary: A grandfather addressing his grandchildren speaks of his life as a Navajo Marine. He begins with his time in mission school where he was taught the Navajo language was wrong and useless. Later he becomes a member of the elite group of code talkers for the Marine Corps in World War Two. His native tongue helped the US create an unbreakable code used for the most important messages in the war.  He discusses his personal experiences in the war.

Appeal: Story line follows the life of the main character; Character fitting for the time period; Conversational style (first person) generates a quick pace but still historically and statistically detailed; Minimal graphic violence; Appeal to adults who read YA novels, interested in Native American literature, and/or enjoy personal accounts of war (fictional).

Brief quote: “Speaking. Speaking through that day and the next and the next. Even when our voices grew hoarse, we did not stop. Our Navajo nets kept everything connected like a spider’s strands spanning distant branches. The winds of batter lever broke our web. As the battle for Iwo Jima raged all around up, our voices held it together” (187).

Prizes or Awards: ALA Notable Children's Books Older Readers Category: 2006; YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2006; Starred Reviews in Booklist and Kirkus;

Similar Works: Heroes Don't Run: A Novel of the Pacific War by Harry Mazer: first person; personal war account; historical fiction; teen historical fiction; WW2 in the Pacific (found on NL, selected by reviewer)    

Windtalkers: A novelization by Max Allen Collins: same subject matter; fast paced (found on NL, selected by reviewer) *movie tie-in, also available on DVD

The Pacific HBO miniseries (Nonfiction companion book of same title by Hugh Ambrose): World War Two in the Pacific (selected by reviewer)

Reviewer’s Name: Julia Robinson

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Master Butchers Singing Club - Historical Fiction

Author: Louise Erdrich Publication Date: 2003
Number of Pages: 389
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Argus, North Dakota, 1918 - 1954
Main Character(s):   
  • Delphine Watzka, a strong, quirky, capable young woman  
  • Fidelis Waldvogel, a German immigrant, and the character that gives structure to the story.  
  • Cyparian Lazarre, a gay acrobat and companion to Delphine. 
  • Eva Kalb, wife to Fidelis
Plot Summary:
German immigrants between the two world wars create a life and business in a small town on the American plains. Locals and their stories are woven into the family’s tale when Fidelis starts a singing club for men. The family and the town endure through illness, accident, murder and finally the Great Depression.
Appeal:                    Pacing – The story is told at a relaxed pace. It is richly-layered and unfolds slowly as the characters think about the way their lives have turned.
                                  Characterization – The characters are painted using details from the daily routines of their lives. Folks drift into the story and become a part of it without fanfare.
                                  Storyline – is character-driven, told in third person with several viewpoints offered to the reader
                                  Frame – The story begins on two separate continents, chapters alternating briefly between two sets of characters. Soon the separate parts are joined by the actions of the characters and the story moves more quickly.
                                  Tone – is somewhat melancholy and introspective although there are moments of violence and suspense.
Brief quote:                “Step-and-a-Half hummed in her sleep and sank deeper into her own tune, a junker’s pile of tattered courting verse and hunter’s wisdom and the utterances of itinerants or words that sprang from a bit of grass or a scrap of cloud or a prophetic pig’s knuckle, in a world where butchers sing like angels.”
Prizes or Awards:       Finalist for National Book Award, America’s preeminent literary prize.
Similar Works:              My Antonia by Willa Cather (character-driven, relaxed pace, introspective story about immigrants), Novelist.
Reviewer’s Name:        Nancy Rimassa

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Bird Sisters - Domestic fiction

Author: Rebecca Rasmussen Publication Date: 2011
Number of Pages: 290
Setting: Rural Wisconsin
Time Period: Now with flashback memories to the summer of 1947
Main Characters:
  • Milly – sixteen year old beauty with emerald eyes, she is a placatory and a good cook. She is in love with the son of her father’s employer.
  • Twiss – the younger sister, a wild child who never wears a dress or does anything anyone tells her to do. She loves her golf pro father and under his tutelage has become proficient at golf
  • Bett – the cousin from Minnesota, she is slightly older, sent for the summer to keep her out of the way as her parents go through getting a divorce. She is plain and very poor.
Plot Summary: This book tells a charming yet sober tale of two girls struggling to grow up amid family turmoil and poverty. The sisters can see that their parents have grown far apart but refuse to see the reason for it. Their father is a terrible provider in an era when that is what men did. Their mother coming from a more privileged family cannot envision the tasks that must be done to keep her family alive and well. The children try hard to bring their father in from the barn where he has gone to live.

Bett, a cousin, daughter of the mother's sister, arrives and brings with her a storm of knowledge about love, truth or consequences, and something even more devious, which threatens to cripple the family. Misunderstandings and opportunity too enticing to be turned down drive the family farther and farther apart.
Appeal: Bittersweet but good-natured, the pace is slow and character driven.

Brief quote: “Whenever her mother had been particularly unhappy in the past, she’d tell the story of how she and her aunt had given up their inheritances and married for love.
“We weren’t given what we were promised,” she’d say.
“What were you promised?” Milly would say.
“I don’t remember any more.”

Prizes or Awards: Starred review in Library Journal

Similar Works: While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky. This is a story of a sister who lives in her older siblings shadow and the sacrifices that the relationship demands.

Reviewer's Name: Nancy Rimassa

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd Edition. chicago. ALA, 1997.

The Bird Sisters: A Novel

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Last Picture Show

Author: McMurtry, Larry 
Title: The Last Picture Show 
Publication Date: 1966 (1ST pub.) 1979 (Penguin Books)
Number of pages: 220 p. (trade pbk.)
Part of a Series: Last Picture Show series, book #1 (4 books in series)

Subject Heading(s):   
  • Adultery  
  • Coming of age  
  • Dating  
  • Death  
  • High school seniors  
  • Literary fiction  
  • Male friendship  
  • Man woman relationships  
  • Oil workers  
  • Psychological fiction  
  • Rich and poor
  • Small towns  
  • Teenagers – Sexuality  
  • Thalia, Texas
  • The Fifties (20th century)  
  • Western stories
Geographical Setting / Time period: Thalia, Texas (imaginary place) / late 1940s – early 1950s

Main Character(s):
Sonny – a handsome, introspective young man, given to bouts of depression and loneliness
Duane – Sonny’s friend, Duane is less reflective but hopelessly in love with the town’s prettiest girl
Ruth Popper – a small but pretty woman who seems withdrawn, tired, and nervous most of the time

Plot Summary: Sonny and his best friend, Duane, navigate the perils of late adolescence in the small town of Thalia, Texas. Although the boys think they are practically grown men, Sonny finds he has a lot to learn when he meets Ruth Popper, the football coach’s forty-year old wife. Sonny and Duane learn about life, death, betrayal, and love in this coming of age tale.

Appeal: Characterization is the main appeal factor for this book. The main characters are fully developed and there are a lot of interesting secondary characters. The frame of the small Texas town of Thalia is also very important, as is the bittersweet coming of age aspect of the story. McMurtry’s elegant, yet direct language makes for an engrossing story.

Brief quote: “She was silent a moment. ‘Do you know what it means to be heartbroken?’ she said. ‘It means your heart isn’t whole, so you can’t really do anything wholeheartedly.’” (Ruth talking to Sonny, p. 97)

Prizes or Awards: Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters in 1967 (has won this for two other titles as well)

Similar Works:
 Cormac McCarthy – Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses 1st book) – Texas author ; stories of the west ; adolescents and 1950s
John Irving – The World According to Garp – strong character development with good dialogue
Ken Kesey – Sometimes a Great Notion – vivid characters, strong dialogue

Notes: Made into a movie starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and Cybill Shepherd in 1971

Reviewer’s Name: Jennifer Lehner


Monday, May 23, 2011

Cold Sassy Tree - Historical Fiction

Author: Olive Ann Burns
Publication Date: 1984
Number of Pages: 391  
Part of a Series: Yes, Cold Sassy series, 1

Subject Heading(s): 
  • Coming of age story
  • Country life
  • Family
  • Georgia
  • Historical Fiction
  • May-December romance
  • Small town life
  • Southern Fiction
  • Teenage boy
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Georgia, 1906.

Main Character(s):
Will Tweedy – fourteen-year-old free spirit who likes to break the rules.
E. Rucker Blakeslee – Will’s brash and domineering grandfather who likes to live by his own rules.
Mattie Lou Blakeslee – Will’s deceased grandmother who was an amazing gardener and caretaker of the sick.
Miss Love Simpson – the pretty strong-willed woman who becomes Rucker Blakeslee’s second wife.
Mary Willis Tweedy – Will’s nervous mother who is still mourning her mother’s death.
Hoyt Tweedy – Will’s stern but loving father who accepts and embraces change.

Plot Summary: Coming of age story of a young man set within a conservative southern town in the early 1900’s. This young man and his family deal with the death of the family matriarch as well as the scandalous elopement of their father/grandfather with a young Yankee woman half his age.

Appeal: Detailed and descriptive story of the life and times of a fictional Southern family set in the early 1900’s. Authentic dialects are used to give specific details to the lives and actions of the family as they adapt to the societal and technological changes within their family and town.

Brief quote: I went up to her house a week after her passing. I guess I hoped she would seem less dead there. (pg 54)

Prizes or Awards: ALA Best Books for Young Adults 1985

Similar Works:  
Leaving Cold Sassy: the unfinished sequel to Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (story picks up in Will Tweedy’s 25th year in Cold Sassy, GA);  
Empire Falls by Richard Russo (small town fiction with detailed settings and quirky characters);  
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (coming of age story set in the south, family centered story, female author)

Reviewer's Name: Patricia Lowrey

Cold Sassy Tree 
Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Omnitopia Dawn -Speculative fiction

Author: Diane Duane
Publication Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 360
Part of a Series: First in series, second book projected publication August 2011

Subject Heading(s):
  • Computer games - fiction
  • Computer programmers - fiction
  • Science fiction  
  • Artificial intelligence
Geographical Setting/Time Period: Near future United States

Main Characters:
  • Dev Logan - world's seventh or eighth richest man and genius programmer. He is the creator of Omnitopia, a Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game which has become an obsession for millions of people around the word.
  • Rik Maliani - a player and a good guy, recently knighted in the game universe and given the tools to create his own world withing the game universe of Omnitopia.
  • Phill Sorenson - partner in the early days of building Omnitopia, and filled with a revengeful outlook on life. He is determined to take Dev down.
Plot Summary:
On the eve of an exciting new game functionality roll-out, while the software is at its most vulnerable, the system is attacked. Dev and his loyal employees in the guise of their virtual personae battle to save the game manager from extinction and the players universe from crashing. Some players are logged in with special total immersion equipment; no one knows what will happen to those Beta testers if they are logged in when the game goes down. Millions of dollars are at stake as well; that loss could mean the end of the game.

Near prescient, the book will appeal to MMPORPG gamers who will fantasize about being involved. The story is intricately plotted and character driven. It has a fairly-relaxed pace given the sense of urgency that the author is trying to create. The tone of the book is suspenseful and the writing style is descriptive but not overly so.

Brief quote: 
"Dev's fury at those who wanted to destory this game that he had created and watched grow and who wanted to destroy it just make money and hurt him was growing by the moment. Distantly in the background he was now starting to hear the shouted communications of the system security teams and their allies in the Palace of the Princes of Hell as they fought to keep the attackers out of the core, away from the main logic bundles, the great stacks of ARGOT modules that made the game run. They were losing." (p. 319)

Prizes or Awards: Publishers' Weekly makes it a starred review in September 2010

Similar Works:
The Flood by William C. Dietz is the offical novel of the Xbox game
The Fall of Reach by Eric S. Nylund 

Reviewer’s Name: Nancy Rimassa

Omnitopia Dawn: Omnitopia #1 

Adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Reader’ Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd.  Chicago: ALA, 1997.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shanghai Girls: a Novel - Historical fiction

Author: Lisa See
Publication Date: 2009 
Number of pages: 314 (hdbk.)
Part of a Series: No series
Subject Heading(s):
  • Arranged marriage
  • China
  • Chinese-American women
  • Domestic fiction
  • Family secrets
  • Historical fiction
  • Illegal immigrants
  • Immigrants – United States
  • Los Angeles
  • Loyalty
  • Poverty
  • Prejudice
  • Race relations
  • Shanghai
  • Sisters  
  • Women’s lives and relationships
  • World War II  
Geographical Setting / Time period: Shanghai, China and Los Angeles, CA / 1937-1957

Main Character(s):
Pearl Chin – the older Chin daughter, bookish, tall, and stubbornly modern, but bound to her sister by a sense of duty
May Chin – the younger Chin daughter, May is beautiful, charming and spoiled as well as modern
Sam Louie – Pearl’s husband by arranged marriage, Sam is resilient, strong, and usually silent
Joy Louie – born in America to May but raised by Pearl and Sam, Joy is an optimistic, idealistic go-getter who seeks the truth

Plot Summary: Peal and May Chin are two young adult sisters living the life of the privileged in Shanghai at the start of the novel.  However, that life soon comes to a crashing halt when they discover their family is destitute and that they have been sold into arranged marriages to men in California to help pay off their father’s gambling debts.  The novel covers the next twenty years of their lives as they survive invasion, warfare, immigration, and prejudice through their unique bond as sisters. 
Appeal: This measured novel focused on well-developed, introspective characterization and detailed descriptions of historical events in China and Los Angeles.  The storyline is character-driven, domestic, and totally open-ended.  The novel features accurate and authentic details of the Battle of Shanghai (1937), the bombing of Pearl Harbor (1941), the development of Chinatown in Los Angeles, the Communist takeover of Shanghai (1949), and the Confession Program in the US.  There are also many details about traditional Chinese culture and life as an immigrant in America.  The style of the novel is very candid and personal as it is in first-person point of view. 

Brief quote: “I thought I was modern.  I thought I had choice.  I thought I was nothing like my mother.  But my father’s gambling has swept all that away.  I’m to be sold – traded like so many other girls before me – to help my family.  I feel so trapped and so helpless that I can hardly breathe.” (p.25-26 : spoken by Pearl)

Awards: Honorable mention from the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Similar Works:
Inheritance – Lan Samantha Chang – features daughter forced into arranged marriage as a result of her father’s gambling debts, sets in 1930s in China and US.  Relationship between sisters.  
Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan – discusses women’s relationships and stories of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco  
Midnight at the Dragon CafĂ© – Judy Fong Bates – the story of a young Chinese immigrant girl as she and her family struggle to assimilate in Ontario in the 1950s.

Notes: Interesting FAQ page about the book on author’s website:

Reviewer’s Name: Jennifer Lehner
Shanghai Girls: A Novel 

Love and other drugs - Alternative Format

Director: Edward Zwick
Release Date: November 2010
Part of a Series: No. Based on the non-fiction book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy

Subject Heading(s):
  • Beautiful Women
  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Comedy  
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Doctors 
  • Selflessness
  • Family Relationships  
  • Unconditional Love
  • Parkinson’s Disease  
  • Viagra
Geographical Setting/
Time Period: Late 1990s- Ohio 

Main Character(s):
  • Jamie Randall: played by Jake Gyllenhall is a charming womanizer with a soft side.
  • Maggie Murdock: played by Anne Hathaway is a beautifully strong and independent woman battling Parkinson’s Disease.

Plot Summary: Jamie Randall lands his dream job as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Viagra. He is surrounded by beautiful women and luxury. After having a one night stand with Maggie who is battling Parkinson’s disease; he realizes that he is more caring and selfless than he thought possible.

Appeal: This movie combines drama with a lot of comedy, making light of serious  situations and life struggles. This uplifting love story will give hope to  viewers and appeal to those looking for something a little deeper than the  typical romantic comedy. This movie gives viewers a look back at  technology just ten years prior with the use of flip phones and beepers.

Brief quote: “You meet a thousand people, then you meet that one person and your life is changed”.

Prizes or Awards: Nominated for the Satellite Award given by the International Press Academy. -IMDB

Similar Works:  
  • Sweet November (Similar themes of love and sickness)  
  • A lot like love (similar themes of true love starting off with a one night stand)

Reviewer’s Name: Lenore St. John 

Love & Other Drugs 
Form adapted from Saricks, Joyce G. and Nancy Brown. Readers= Advisory Service in the Public Library 2nd. Chicago: ALA, 1997.