Monday, April 4, 2011

About the book:
Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale was more than just a bestselling novel-its publication was a watershed moment in literary history. McMillan's sassy and vibrant story about four African American women struggling to find love and their place in the world touched a cultural nerve, inspired a blockbuster film, and generated a devoted audience. Now, McMillan revisits Savannah, Gloria, Bernadine, and Robin fifteen years later. Each is at her own midlife crossroads: Savannah has awakened to the fact that she's made too many concessions in her marriage, and decides to face life single again-at fifty-one. Bernadine has watched her megadivorce settlement dwindle, been swindled by her husband number two, and conned herself into thinking that a few pills will help distract her from her pain. Robin has an all-American case of shopaholism, while the big dream of her life-to wear a wedding dress- has gone unrealized. And for years, Gloria has taken happiness and security for granted. But being at the wrong place at the wrong time can change everything. All four are learning to heal past hurts and to reclaim their joy and their dreams; but they return to us full of spirit, sass, and faith in one another. They've exhaled: now they are learning to breathe.

My thoughts:
The characters are familiar (Waiting to Exhale) so it was nice to catch up now that they are older.  I liked the tone of the book and felt like I could relate to the characters (except the Alcoholism of course).  Also, I sense their friendship has eased into a more mature bond.  Not sure about Robin's relationship and thought it was *too far too fast* but then with Robin, anything is possible.  I would like to see the movie version with the same characters.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

About the book
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

My Thoughts
Powerful, thought provoking story of twin boys growing up in Ethiopia while the country was on the brink of a revolution. Relationships are the core of this novel. I was intrigued by the author's ability to show how the twins were emotionally connected while exploring their relationships with their parents, extended family and friends. Another relationship that begs for attention is that of the brothers, Marian and Shiva and Genet (daughter of their housekeeper). This novel is quite a remarkable reading experience but a bit marred by the tedious medical detail,which in some cases requires the reader to have a very strong disposition. Nevertheless, this novel is a four star given the fact that the author crafted such a memorable cast and provides such a powerful story of the Ethiopian existence. I feel this story is extremely close to the writer's heart if not taken from his own personal experience!!