May We Be Forgiven
- Granta Books
- Publication Date:
- 11 October 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-3 out of 3 reviews.
This novel expresses a lot of truth that offers no apologies for acknowledging and then constructing a clear image of the good, the bad and the terrifying aspects of how a large segment of current culture has devolped in the US post Kennedy era affected by the progression of the hopeful, yet conflicted baby boomers. The folks who have not gotten much out of reading it will be surprised if it wins a Pulitzer, and if I had a vote it would be a 'yes'. There is important social commentary and a message, perhaps a gentle admonition to 'Pay Attention!' before life changes again irrevocably as it did after WWII.
One of the best books read all year. The story told by Ms. Homes was extremely engaging and compelling. May We Be Forgiven is one of those novels that you never want to end. I feel as if I could go on reading about these characters lives forever and was sad to be "seeing" the end of them at the novel's conclusion.
Disclaimer: I won a free ARC copy of this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway in order to give an honest review. First things first, I think this book need a <b>Trigger Warning</b> due to a rape scene, and sexual abuse. It's not gone into too much detail or done graphically, but it's there and it's out of the blue. I've never read any of the author's other books. I thought it would be right up my alley. It's not. It's not even close. There's always that one person who doesn’t "get it" and doesn't like it. I'm that person this time around. Well, okay then. Clearly, I'm the odd one out when it comes to this book. Three words to sum it up: I don't get it. It's not a bad book or story, and I can see how others enjoyed it so much but honestly, I don't. There are brilliant moments and some elements that I like. The author is indeed talented. There are things that I'm glad are brought up and shown. There are excellent little tid bits and turns of phrases, descriptions and moments. It's just that ultimately, none of those things matter. I can't even go back and find the moments or phrases I liked or thought was okay. The rest of the book, the story, the characters, are the important part and the part I didn't like. I can give props to the author but I can't lie or hide my review. I feel obligated to give an honest star rating and a review telling why I didn't like it, since I did get an advanced copy. I can't recommend this book, unless you are already a fan of A.M. Homes. Though I have no idea how inline this is with her other work. First delving into the book, I was surprised and intrigued. I can't say that I liked it but I didn't not like it. The story, at first, reminded me a bit of Wally Lamb's <i>I know This Much Is True</i>. It felt very surreal. I was wondering if Harry himself was crazy and if this was going to turn like a Poe story. Then it just kept adding more odd characters and the plot became more bizarre. It felt like I fell down the rabbit hole. I just couldn't buy into it. I couldn't connect with any characters, except Amy. I think the best parts are with Amy, <spoiler> with her take on soap operas and the incident in Africa</spoiler> In the case of Harry, I couldn't feel his pain or understand his plight. It was a disembodied feeling traveling along with Harry. I mean through out all the struggles and life changes, I felt nothing for Harry. <i>Nothing</i>. I was being told and dragged along for the ride of his life for a year like a ghost, hanging over his shoulder not understanding and unable to feel anything. It just got worse and worse, with parts that I hated and couldn't stand Harry any longer. With the cast acting like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit and a story line that gets harder and harder to believe, no matter how much I want to like it I just can't. It was a okay read until around page 350 then I just didn't want to go back into it. I was sick and tired of the whole show. As heart warming the ending is supposed to be, I couldn't be moved. I felt like I was being told too often and telling me to be moved isn't going to work. I must say with the history lesson from Harry, the Nixon expert was well done throughout, and this is coming from someone that hadn't been born when Nixon was up and around. I didn't find it humorous (I laughed once through the whole book, no smirking or smiling at all on my part), or inspirational, or moving, or meaningful, or emotionally impacting. Just "meh" and "Wha....?" <spoiler>I dislike Harry. His POV is done beau fully done though, I must admit. His self centeredness comes off perfectly. He's still a jerk even after his revelations and change. On page 468, Harry says, <spoiler> "Cy and Madeline are mine now. I'm using them - the children are using them. I can't afford to lose them.", talking about the elderly dementia couple he's taken in. </spoiler>. Literally, referring to people as objects. Then before that there's the incident of rape and Harry's response to it, on page 344 <spoiler>, the scene is described as her fighting back in her sleep and him forcing himself upon her. Harry response is "you're the one spying on them. They may be senior citizens but they have rights, and at least one of them still has feelings of a sort." WTF? If only them wants to have sex and the other one clearly doesn't want it, it's fucking rape. Yes, senior citizens have rights and privacy, but doesn't mean they get to rape their wives or that you have to turn your back on it. So fucking messed up and then he doesn't get why Amanda is mad at him for saying that? Hell yes, go in there and interrupt a rape, you assholes. </spoiler> I was quite creeped out and quite honestly didn't want to go further. The whole incident with Nate having to tell the Sakhile how to spend the money raised for the village, not on a big screen TV, but on a well for town, just seemed stupid. It's like the blame is put upon American materialism for corrupting the poor Africans who don't know any better and only want shiny things and need the white man to tell them to be responsible. It was unsettling. I mean the whole book is about Harry being the rich white man to save the day for Cy, Madeline, and Ricardo, then it happened with Nate and Nateville. I mean really Harry has the money from George and time due to George and being fired, so he takes in Cy, Madeline, and Ricardo and magically it's all better. Before, Ricardo was a fat poor Hispanic pumped full of drugs, then bam! problem resolved with Harry as father. Cy and Madeline were a struggle and burden for their daughter Amanda to care for, but Harry alone can manage it no problem, and if he can't, he'll pay someone else to do it. And what is with everyone but Harry being willing and okay with abandoning their family members? I don't know, the whole book just read as "the put upon rich, white, straight, cis man struggles to find his place in modern America as depicted by Fox news. It's a tipsy-turvy year when he finally grows up, needing only for his brother George to step out of the way to make Harry's dreams come true and start feeling emotions again. Harry grumps about modern society, our materialism, our connectedness to online electronics and how the damn kids today don't care about history and keep trampling on his lawn. He becomes Rich Daddy to several poor, unfortunate souls and is able to save the day by virtue of having money and time. Everyone is terrible and does terrible things, let us pray to nonexistent gods to clear away sins we don't have and help us forgive ourselves for being human. Woe is us. The End." And no, I didn't find the ending to be moving or inspirational or sweet. Harry starts feeling emotions again, whoopee. I just dislike him so much, and can't connect with him at all, this big moving revelation is just “meh, about time” for me. *sigh* I don't know. I've never lived in the suburbs. I've never dealt with being able to throw money at problems and take everyone on a trip to "make us a family". It's like National Lampoon with how outrageous it gets, without the laughs. (Though I find National Lampoon more believable than this book) I understand that I'm not getting it and quite frankly, I'm not sure I want to get it. </spoiler>
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