I wasn‘t expecting the short story format of this book, but I enjoyed it. The overlapping elements of each story were fun to tie together.
With that said, however, the simplistic way Alice Hoffman brought male and female characters together (i.e., when in doubt, make them have sex) really, really didn‘t work for me. And while she seemed to want to have the same themes run through the whole book, she just created repetition, not an echo. ⭐️⭐️-1/2
If I‘d done my research before deciding to read this book, I would‘ve realized that it‘s not a novel. It‘s a series of stories based on a particular place (Blackwell, MA) & the generations of families who lived there. “The Red Garden” is basically Alice Hoffman showing off. With every chapter it‘s like she‘s saying, “Don‘t I write fabulous characters? Don‘t you wish you could read more about every one of them? Well, that‘s too bad!” Dammit. 😖
“All the talk that people at the Farm had tossed around about getting back to the land was actually true for him. He felt wrapped up in Hightop Mountain, a part of it, as if the cells of his body had expanded to include fir trees, foxes, streams of green water.”
photo credit: konsta punkka
Legit looked up the weather & the high for today & planned my outdoor chores around that. I found myself silently chanting, “I‘m a bear / I‘m a bear” all the while. Thanks for my new mantra, Alice Hoffman!
Note: I should mention that my outdoor chores started & ended with emptying the litterbox into the compost heap, and it took approximately 2 seconds. #winterwimp #itsactuallystillfall
“Once it rained while he was sleeping, and when he awoke in the morning, the whole world seemed blue and fresh. He felt weirdly hopeful out in the middle of nowhere, even though the whole country was crashing down around him.”
This perfectly captures why I love camping. 💞🏕💞
“Once she was in the woods, she was a shadow. She recognized wildflowers the same way someone else might recognize old friends: velvet-leaf, live forever, lad‘s love. She stooped to pick a sprig of lad‘s love and slipped it in her shoe. Local people said it was a charm that would lead you to your true love.”
I love learning about the connection between plants & superstition, herbs & magic, and Alice Hoffman always delivers in this regard. 🖤🍃🔮
Alice Hoffman @ tonight‘s author event:
“My characters are always trying to get the hell out of Massachusetts & they can‘t do it.”
My mom had me when she was 19. Growing up, she always told me to “get the hell out of Worcester (MA).” I did it; I moved to Rhode Island (so far away! 😂), but I still commute back for work every day. I actually love my hometown (it‘s like loving a pug: it‘s so ugly it‘s cute). But this sentiment still made me laugh.
@Clwojick is hosting a #bookmarkswap for the gift-giving season! (Sign-up link in comments).
Today, I‘m using an anniversary card as my bookmark. This morning, when I grabbed my book off my nightstand, I was suffering from a clear case of “OMG YOU‘RE GONNA BE LATE; GRAB WHATEVER‘S CLOSEST TO YOU & RUN!” Story of my life. 🙄 If I keep acquiring more & more bookmarks, eventually one of them will end up being the closest thing to me. Right?
More of a series of linked short stories than a real novel. The book begins with the founding of a small town in Massachusetts in 1750 and follows descendants of the founders through to "present day." (The book was pubbed in 2011.) I loved this book. It was the kind of book that was so engrossing, I couldn't hear or see people standing right in front of me talking to me. ("Mom. Mom. MOM.")
Less a novel than it is a collection of interrelated short stories all taking place over almost 250 years in one small town in the Berkshires. This is the second Hoffman book I‘ve read in this style and I quite enjoy it because she does it so well. The book served as nice palate cleanser as well after the intensity of Killers of the Flower Moon.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5 • #teamAlice
School‘s closed today for Sukkot (#chagsameach! 🍇🍐🍋🍏) but I am awake & reading in bed with some of the excellent early morning light I love so much but rarely get to enjoy.
Not pictured: my favorite #goawayimreading mug, just in case the hubs comes home from work at some point & mistakenly thinks I‘m available for conversation. 😉
#BookNLunch! Today we had our #ThePoconoBookClub meeting. It was a packed house at a local tavern (our usual place--the one with fantastic tater tots--is still under renovation). We talked for over 2 hours! A lot to discuss. My accompaniment: bacon cheeseburger (delicious!!!) and fries and Coke. MMMmmm 😋! @BookBabe @leeloo13
If you've read this book, you know there's a lot about eel. So I thought it would be fun to get an eel roll for our book club to share, so everyone could experience eel if they haven't before. They cut it into 8 pieces for us so everyone could try some. So thoughtful! 😊
#BookNLunch! #ThePoconoBookClub Edition! We're in a charming country tavern, a group of 8 of us tucked into a dark cozy corner. The food here is amazing. I couldn't resist getting sushi because theirs is excellent. This platter is non-raw (since it's Sunday and I'm over-cautious, lol). Plus 2 huge mimosas! 🍾We had a wonderful discussion. Everyone liked this book! I sure did. 😊👍🏻🍣
#BookNDinner! #TexasRoadhouse edition! #LitsySeesIt edition! Accompaniment this cool evening: 11 oz. sirloin steak medium-well with sautéed mushrooms, baked potato, broccoli, and raspberry iced tea. MMMMmmmm ?! Happy reads & happy eats! ???
#BookNDinner! #MongolianGrill edition! Accompaniment this slightly warm and sunny evening: General Tso's chicken, Sprite, and a mix of: lo mein noodles, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, salmon, crab, tofu, an egg, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, teriyaki sauce, and Mongolian sauce. MMMMMMmmm 😋! Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
#BookNDinner! With it being a chilly (August!) and wet day, accompaniment this evening is: pot roast soup, warm semolina bread, and sparkling lemon seltzer. MMMmmm 😋! This has been another presentation of: #MrBookBookBabeKitchen. Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
#BookNBrunch! We haven't visited our veranda at the jazz club since last summer. We finally made it 😊👍🏻. Accompaniment this cool and pleasant afternoon was: a bacon-manchego omelette wrapped in a pancake, a fruit cup, a pineapple-coconut muffin (to die for!!! 🤤🤤🤤), and Earl Grey. MMMmmm 😋! Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
#BookNDinner! Accompaniment this hot and humid evening: pasta in a meat-puttanesca sauce, warm peasant bread, and Leinenkugel's Anniversary Lager. MMMmmm 😋! This has been another presentation of: #MrBookBookBabeKitchen. Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
#BookNLunch! Post-#eclipse edition! Wow, it's bright out now, like the Sun is making up for a few minutes of being blocked 😆. Accompaniment this hot and bright afternoon: salami and provolone sandwich, New England clam chowder with crackers, and lemon seltzer. MMMmmm 😋! This has been another presentation of: #MrBookBookBabeKitchen. Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
The new bookclub book I started today over dinner right after two bookclubs earlier in the day 😁👍🏻. I can't help myself. A breather? What's that? 😆
#BookNDinner! New bookclub book started 😎👌🏻. #Outback edition. Putting gift cards to great use. Part 1: appetizers. Accompaniment this sunny and warm evening: New England clam chowder, Aussie cheese fries (with bacon crumbles, mmmm) with ranch dipping sauce, bread, and raspberry iced tea. MMMmm 😋! Happy reads & happy eats! 😎👌🏻
Alice Hoffman is just such a wonderful story teller! I love how she weaves these intergenerational anecdotes together... They're sorrowful, but beautiful.
I was very pleasantly surprised picking up this book. I loved the jumps in time and the characters throughout. The towns history passing from generation to generation. Some of the stories were tear-jerking and laugh-out-loud! Great read!! This was my first Alice Hoffman book and her style of writing was beautiful...I'll be reading more definitely! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I didn't care for this. It covered too much of a span of time for me. There was just too much going on. It read like short stories and I'm not even sure if that's what it was supposed to be. I found it just a bit boring and forced. It wasn't great in my opinion. It needed to hold my interest more.
"Was this the way people felt at the instant they leapt into rivers and streams? Was it like this when you fell in love, stood on the train tracks, went to a country where no one spoke your language? That was the country she was in most of the time, a place where people heard what she said but not what she meant. She wanted to be known, but no one knew her."
This collection of short stories was a fun and interesting read! All were set in Blackwell from the towns founding and farther in time... Neat to see how things changed and didn't change in the town!