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Alice & Oliver
Alice & Oliver: A Novel | Charles Bock
Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Charles Bock earned vast critical acclaim for his debut novel, Beautiful Children. Now, in Alice & Oliver, he has created an unflinching yet deeply humane portrait of a young familys journey through a medical crisis, laying bare a couples love and fears as they fight for everything thats important to them. New York, 1993. Alice Culvert is a caring wife, a doting new mother, a loyal friend, and a soulful artista fashion designer who wears a baby carrier and haute couture with equal aplomb. In their loft in Manhattans gritty Meatpacking District, Alice and her husband, Oliver, are raising their infant daughter, Doe, delighting in the wonders of early parenthood. Their life together feels so vital and full of promise, which makes Alices sudden cancer diagnosis especially staggering. In the span of a single day, the couples focus narrows to the basic question of her survival. Though they do their best to remain brave, each faces enormous pressure: Oliver tries to navigate a labyrinthine healthcare system and handle their mounting medical bills; Alice tries to be hopeful as her body turns against her. Bracing themselves for the unthinkable, they must confront the new realities of their marriage, their strengths as partners and flaws as people, how to nourish love against all odds, and what it means to truly care for another person. Inspired by the authors life, Alice & Oliver is a deeply affecting novel written with stunning reserves of compassion, humor, and wisdom. Alice Culvert is an extraordinary charactera woman of incredible heart and spiritwho will remain in memory long after the final page. Advance praise for Alice & Oliver Wrenchingly powerful . . . Bock chronicles the daily struggles of a young wife and mother facing her own imminent mortality. This is a soul portrait of a family in crisis, written with a fearless clarity and a deep understanding of the bonds that can hold two people together even in the darkest hour.Richard Price I was amazed that such a heartbreaking narrative could also affirm, on every page, why we love this frustrating world and why we hold on to it for as long as we can. Alice Culvert is a character of such fight and such spirit, such thrumming aliveness, that she takes on an epic dimension.Joshua Ferris The sun is rising, and I am only now looking up from the closing lines of Charles Bocks astonishing Alice & Oliver. I cant remember the last time I stayed up all night to finish a book. This novel laid me waste. It was so beautiful, so perfectly realized, so lavishly and gorgeously written, so eviscerating, and, most of all, so very true.Ayelet Waldman Desperately moving and beautifully life-affirming, a study in the power love has to give purpose to existence . . . This luminous and unforgettable novel will leave an indelible mark on the literature of our time.Matthew Thomas Alice & Oliver is a scorchingly honest description of cancers indignities and the toll they take on human relationships; it is, equally, an unparalleled narrative description of intimacy, of how devotion can by turns exalt and humiliate its victims. Like other fine elegies, it is redemptive and devastating.Andrew Solomon Bock has written a profound and radiant novel, and what particularly amazes me is that he has created such beauty from the fluorescent lights of hospital corridors, from uncomfortable New York City apartments, from a family doing what it takes to survive.Rivka Galchen From the Hardcover edition.
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arubabookwoman
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Sorry—You don‘t “knit” a quilt. You piece it, or stitch it, or sew it. This grated, but I am otherwise moved by this very readable novel about a young couple battling cancer.

Lcsmcat Wow - that would bother me too. 10mo
Megabooks I hated Oliver so much it ended up ruining the book for me. I‘m glad you‘re enjoying it more. 👍🏻 10mo
22 likes2 comments
review
ashimilie
Bailedbailed

I‘m done trying to force myself to read a book about a woman with cancer, when the only person I feel sorry for is the baby. DNF. #NetGalley

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ashimilie
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50% done, losing interest. I should be somewhat sympathetic towards Alice, and I‘m just not really.

Christine11 I know that feeling - when you really feel like you should empathise with a character but you just can‘t ! 2y
ashimilie @Christine11 especially when the character has cancer! 2y
Christine11 @ashimilie Oh dear ! But you still can‘t make yourself feel anything for a character when you just don‘t ! 2y
8 likes3 comments
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ashimilie
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Still plugging along, 30% now.

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ashimilie
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Received this #ARC awhile back, trying to get all caught up. #NetGalley

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ApoptyGina69
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Ok, I have to take a break on account of I can't see the pages through my tears. Still have 1/3 to go.

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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post 3! For fans of Franzen and Wolitzer. Alice Culvert has got it all as a young '90s NYC woman with her newborn daughter, Doe. Then she's diagnosed with cancer, & her and her husband Oliver's life boils down to survival. They face off against a complicated healthcare system, loved ones' good intentions, & deep stressors. You'll find humor, wisdom, and love. Inspired by the author's own family. #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

ApoptyGina69 I bought this over a year ago. Hoping to mix it into the rotation by the end of the year. 2y
80 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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The_Real_Nani
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Reader problem: when it takes forever to read the NYT Book Review because you're adding #allthebooks to your TBR list.

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thesquirrelnextdoor
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Bailedbailed

Okay I really hate that I bailed on this one, but I got around 30% of the way through and I knew it was not for me. This is a cancer story. And I knew that going in, but I put the book on hold before I lost someone important to cancer just weeks ago. Tonight I tried to dive in, but just really couldn't do it. I was enjoying the writing, but the medical statistics and harsh realities presented were too much for me right now.

Zelma I'm so sorry about your loss. And that is absolutely understandable to bail on this one. 3y
Laalaleighh Hugs and love. It's hard as hell to lose someone. You'll be in my thoughts 💙 3y
LauraBeth So sorry to hear that you lost someone 😔 understand why you had to bail 3y
14 likes3 comments
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JenniferSpiegel
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Cats with books!

JillMoore1226 I ❤️ big orange tabbies! 3y
JenniferSpiegel They're the best! 3y
CherylDeFranceschi Eef! So cute! 3y
Annl Love your cats! I have an orange also! 3y
16 likes1 stack add4 comments
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JenniferJR
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Well done, Saturday morning, well done.

Michreads Do you like this book? It's on my list. 3y
JenniferJR @Michreads I've only just started but I like it so far. I can tell already it's going to be a sad one tho! 3y
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JenniferJR
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Because how cool is the #prism photo app?!? #aliceandoliver

OSChamberlain What is thattt?? 3y
Carol Prism is da best!!! 💖💖 I can easily spend hours loading photos and swapping filters. 3y
JenniferJR @OSChamberlain it's the most fun photo editing app with the coolest filters!! Love it ! 3y
See All 9 Comments
OSChamberlain Gonna try that out! 3y
Carol @OSChamberlain newish photo filer app free to download for iOS and android. It has some really grippy filters. 3y
JenniferJR @carol I totally so the same thing!! It is so so fun!! 3y
Carol @OSChamberlain getting spellcheck to accept the word trippy is nearly futile! 3y
MrBook Nice pic! 3y
britt_brooke Cool picture! I just got the app a few days ago .... it's excellent! 3y
20 likes1 stack add9 comments
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AmandaReads
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Starting this now

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Misanthropester
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Mehso-so

I found this profoundly less compelling than most others did, but, at the same time, it's not a bad novel. It's just rather tiresome, as if a YA novel grew up into an insufferable adult

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JenniferSpiegel
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Snotty Literati reviews this next.💔

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OneLitChick
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Mehso-so

Married couple with a newborn are faced with the wife's newly diagnosed leukemia. There's some gorgeous writing here. But Bock dove too far into the weeds, presented a convoluted timeline, and had me so conflicted about Oliver that I wanted to toss the book into the ocean more than once.

2 likes1 stack add
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[DELETED] 586715006
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Panpan

If you're looking to get mad at America's healthcare system, this is the novel for you. If you're already mad, there won't be much here. Even the central characters are oddly kept at arm's length from you, making it difficult to take this journey with them.

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zendenise
Pickpick

My highest praise for a book is "it made me cry" and this one, though it's about how cancer ravages a young family, didn't. So I guess I wasn't as emotionally invested as I like to be. But I liked it. It's based on the author's own experience and is a searing indictment of our healthcare system.

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Toowellred
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Panpan

I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately it spent most of the time dealing with the medical and insurance issues of a young person dealing with cancer and almost as an afterthought the subsequent relationship issues.

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catieohjoy
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Bailedbailed

I haven't given up on a book in a long time, but I got halfway through and couldn't keep going. Felt somewhat showy and overwritten. I am not a reader who generally needs to "like" characters, but Alice's woo-woo wisdom was tiresome, and Oliver's selfishness and casual misogyny were equally grating.

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PrezBookster
Pickpick

It was very good! I wished the chapters were more clearly defined as to whom is speaking. I also think that it jumped around a lot. It really has a great story and brought me closer to what my aunt, who died of cancer, may have gone through.

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Megabooks
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Panpan

1🌟The first half of the book was mediocre. It was an okay portrait of a family going through cancer. THEN Bock decided to give them marital problems, which made both of them unlikable instead of eliciting sympathy. It was two plots with mutually assured destruction of any enjoyment. 👎🏻👎🏻

Megabooks Pretty flower to soften the bad review lol! 3y
Mamashep Bock's a tough read-never likable characters. But beautiful flower! 3y
Megabooks @Mamashep Thanks! 💐 3y
See All 10 Comments
Soubhiville Iris! My favorite! Thanks for posting! 3y
Lakesidemusing Too bad, but the iris is beautiful! 3y
Megabooks @Soubhiville @Lakesidemusing Thanks for the compliments on my flower photography! My mom is the gardener! 3y
BookishFeminist Oh no! I hate when a book turns bad halfway through. Lovely Iris, though! 3y
Megabooks Thanks @BookishFeminist 💐 And yes, I wish this book had turned out differently. I'm putting off writing about it for my blog. 3y
Carol I hate when that happens! You just saved me infinite book-hate. 3y
jennwangster Oh no!!!! I had such high hopes for this book. Thanks for your review-- I think I will skip this one! (and use the $$$ to buy another book! 😎) 3y
29 likes10 comments
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Megabooks
This post contains spoilers
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Okay, so I'm getting really mad at Oliver. He's sleeping with prostitutes, which has endangered his wife's bone marrow transplant. And he used company money to do it, risking his job. And he calls his wife's very helpful "largish" best friend Hungry Hungry Hippo. Hard to like him!

LinaLovesLit What an a-hole! 😳 3y
Notafraidofwords I've heard that about this book. The characters are unlike able is what I've heard. 3y
Megabooks Yes, I'd say both of them are pretty unlikable. Skimming the last 20% now. I want to see what happens, I guess. 😕 3y
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Megabooks @Ryanira9 forgot to tag you in above comment but agree with what you've heard 3y
Notafraidofwords @Ebooksandcooks all the reviews I read said the same thing which is why I opted out of reading it. 3y
Megabooks @Ryanira9 I should've read the reviews. 😕 sometimes I do, other times not. Oh well. I can't have all good reviews on my website lol! 3y
Lova I'm thankful for readers that don't give a 👍to every book they read. Goodness knows they can't ALL be wonderful. 3y
12 likes7 comments
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Megabooks
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I've had trouble finding a church where I live, so on Sundays, I get up and pray and read. This book is good for reflection and thanks that no one in my family has cancer now. It also helps me appreciate that my mother is 71 and relatively healthy. Happy Mother's Day moms of Litsy! 💐📚

42 likes1 stack add
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Megabooks
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Sound medical advice.

As a doctor, I couldn't believe the fictional hospital allowed a baby to be with her as long as they did when she was getting chemo. Poetic license?

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Megabooks
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Once again a late night start. I can't help it though! Tissues may be needed for this book. The plot definitely comes across as sad. Cancer is rarely happy. 😓

I'm still figuring out how I feel about The Bed Moved. It actually has a lot of cancer, too.

jennwangster Omg I've been meaning to read this book! Intrigued. 3y
Megabooks @jennwangster I'll be reviewing it on here when I'm done! 3y
38 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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Megabooks
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These two books just filled my library card! I have a book problem, I think. I know. If this is wrong, I don't want to be right!

Notafraidofwords Let me know how you like "the bed moved" one. I wanted to order it. 3y
Megabooks @Ryanira9 I'm so interested in that one, I may move it up a little. I'm taking my weekly magazine break tonight, so I'll decide tomorrow. (BTW, I ❤️ The Week. It's the only magazine that can tear me away from books!) 3y
LauraJ Well, they say that the first step is admitting you have a problem... 3y
See All 9 Comments
BookishFeminist A book "problem." More like book solution :) 3y
Megabooks @BookishFeminist Yes, I think I'll look at it like that! Lol! 3y
DitrieMarieBowie No such thing as a book problem. 😊 3y
jennwangster Book problems are the best problems to have 📚😜 3y
Megabooks @DitrieMarieBowie @jennwangster I love the support I'm getting for my "problem" ? 3y
SharonGoforth Problem? What problem? 3y
30 likes4 stack adds9 comments