Two Book Reviews: Cutting For Stone and A Reliable Wife

I usually like to record my thoughts about books that I read on this site and the last two are worth reporting on. So, without further ado, they are A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  I highly recommend one, the other not so much.


I’ll start with the one I adored. Cutting For StoneI knew nothing about Cutting for Stone before I started it, I just knew that it was very, very long, over 700 pages and I was wondering how I’d get through such a ong book.  Once I got into it, the length became no problem.  As a matter of fact, I never wanted the book to end.  The descriptions and language are so beautifully crafted that the book reads like a piece of art. As someone who is forever intrigued by other cultures – how people live, how they practice medicine, how they are educated, this was the perfect book for me.  It’s about twin brothers, who we find out at the beginning of the book are born of a clandestine affair between a nun and a British surgeon.  Their heads had to be separated at birth by their own father, who ran away soon after and they were left orphans when she died on the delivery table.  The book explores their life long relationship and the one they had with both sets of parents, which endure many trails and tribulations, and travels from Ethiopia to NYC.  While we learn about the boys and follow their lives through the eyes and voice of only one of the brothers, the author quietly educates the reader about the country itself – not only about its revolution but its history of medicine and science.  I absolutely adored this book and really don’t want to give away too much, but it is really a must read.  I am still thinking about the ending and i finished it weeks ago.

The second book is A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, which I  just chose for my own book club this month, so theA Reliable Wife story is quite fresh in my mind.  This is not a book I can whole-heartedly recommend, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy it either. Many members of my group compared it to a Harlequin novel as it does have elements of a trashy romance, but the writing is very interesting and quite intense so it’s hard to dis.  Plus, the story really takes you on quite a ride and has you gripped until the very end. As I told my book club, I neither loved or hated it, but I am hesitant to recommend it. As the story opens, it is fall 1907, and it’s freezing as Ralph, Truitt, an affluent business man from Wisconsin, is waiting to meet the woman who will be soon be his wife, what you would call a mail order bride.  When the woman who comes off the train is not the woman he ordered, he goes crazy with rage but eventually agrees to keep her.  The story that transpires is unlike anything you would ever imagine.  There are twists and turns and no one and nothing is what you think it is.  I would definitely have to call this book a page-turner, but one that I couldn’t wait to finish.  A girl in my book club who is from Wisconsin said that the book had nothing to do with the home she knows.  In her mind, people don’t go nuts from the cold. In this book, they do go crazy and it’s taken to an extreme.  If you’re going on vacation or want to distract your mind from reality for a few days, do read this book.  Just be sure to suspend every ounce of reality that you can.


Disclosure: I was not paid for these reviews and all opinions expressed are my own.

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