Anywhere but Here

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She can never attain what she is seeking partly because she is unable to accept what she has, partly due to not recognizing what it is she is and is seeking, and partly due to her crazy longing for a self and way of life that is not embedded in reality. Adele is crazy, cruel, self-centered , almost s This is a wonderful novel. Adele is crazy, cruel, self-centered , almost sociopathic, yet she has a uniqueness and childlike quality that is almost endearing.

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The reader views the gradual and almost total disintegration of the last vestiges of Adele's stability. Adele takes Ann to California so that Ann can become a child star and yet, when Ann actually is able to make it, Adele tries to destroy this possibility. We watch Adele's zany and crazy actions - letting Ann off in the middle of highways, becoming obsessed with her psychiatrist pretending he's marrying her , her lies, her cheating, and her deceit. There is a telling paragraph - just a few lines - that let us know how Adele had Ann pose for pornographic photos when she was a young child.

However, it's a short paragraph, of no tremendous significance in light of the reality of Adele and Ann's relationship. Taken alone, it might be abhorrent. In context, it's merely sad. Their relationship is cemented. Despite love, hate, anger, and all the other emotions that come into play, the reality is their eternal bond - the arc of continuity even in separation and isolation. The enduring quality of love and the cement of family and relationships is the zeitgeist of this book. And it is a wonderful book indeed.

Simpson can describe the ordinary in a visually poetic and profound way. Her imagery is new and jolts the reader with its visual beauty and power. View all 3 comments. Apr 03, Laura rated it did not like it Shelves: didn-t-finish. I've had this book for so long, I'm not sure where I got it.

With "Anywhere But Here,'' Susan Sarandon continues a distinguished acting career

Started reading it for the first time recently because my two-year-old pulled it off the shelf and put it in my lap on a lazy day when we weren't doing much. I was pleasantly surprised when, after reading 2 or 3 pages, I realized I was really interested in learning more about the characters.


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It moved quickly and easily. While you realize pretty quickly that things are not quite right between the main characters, and that poor year-o I've had this book for so long, I'm not sure where I got it. While you realize pretty quickly that things are not quite right between the main characters, and that poor year-old Ann is surely suffering because of it, it takes a little while to realize just how grim Ann's existence really is, and just how sick her mother really is.

Then you start to think of all the people in your life who they remind you of, and you feel kind of creepy.

Anywhere but Here

Still and all, Ann is a compelling protagonist. Until about a quarter of the way into chapter 3. This is where things get really disturbing. Ann, who is somewhere between the ages of 9 and 12 begins luring young children to her house, asking them to take off their clothes, and taking pictures of them. She apparently touches them as well. Now I'm not a prude, and I certainly don't believing in burning or banning books, but this is the first time in my life that I've felt like straight-up throwing a book in the trash.

Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson

This scene, which runs about 3-pages in length, made my skin crawl. I don't really want to continue reading at this point, and am disgusted by what I read to the point that I'm sorry I read it. I'm quite sure the rest of this book is probably a good read. It is quite dark and depressing, but that's never kept me from enjoying a book. I think this one just crossed my personal comfort line. Kids molesting kids is just too much for me. View all 4 comments. Aug 28, Brice rated it really liked it. Great multi-generational physchological study of the female coming-of-age experience!

Mar 06, Barbara rated it did not like it. The book was given rave reviews wherever I looked, but I just couldn't get into it. I found it quite dark and depressing - not the genre I want to be in right now. I'll give it another go sometime soon.

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What I did read was definitely well-written. Nov 02, Wfbcreeds rated it liked it Shelves: bookclub. She's absolutely herself. No matter how hard you try, you'll never get to her. And when she dies, the world will be flat, too simple, reasonable, fair. Ann does hate her at times; Adele does indeed come pretty close to ruining Ann's life on numerous occasions, or at least scarring it, and yet, ultimately, it isn't possible not to love her.

As Ann puts it: "The thing about my mother and me is that when we get along we're just the same. But her lifelong dream and goal "It was our secret, a nighttime whispered promise" turns out, like so many things in the Augusts' lives, to be lackluster when it becomes reality. Adele merely feeds on fantasy and drags her daughter along. Nevertheless, it's hard not to worship her. We hear from her mother, her sister, from Ann, and finally from Adele herself, and no matter how she's used people, what trouble she's gotten into, or what lies she's told--and there are plenty of all three--a certain amount of awe always remains.

When we come upon Ann's proclamation that "it's always the people like my mother, who start the noise and bang things, who make you feel the worst; they are the ones who get your love.

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Anywhere But Here gives truth to this statement in a way that few books ever have. It's dense with misery and amazement all tangled together--a realistic and thus rare portrait of love. Feb 03, Roland rated it liked it. Mona Simpson's debut novel is pretty much a memoir, which could be titled "This Girl's Life.

Of interest to me, which I discovered only after starting this book, is that Simpson is married to Richard Appel, producer of The Simpsons, hence the character M Mona Simpson's debut novel is pretty much a memoir, which could be titled "This Girl's Life. Of interest to me, which I discovered only after starting this book, is that Simpson is married to Richard Appel, producer of The Simpsons, hence the character Mona Simpson who is Homer's mom.

More interesting, however, is that Steve Jobs is her long-lost brother He'd been given away for adoption before she was born and the two never knew they were siblings until well into adulthood. Their father was a Syrian academic who left Simpson's mother when she was three she's since written a book about her search for him.

Anyway, much of the autobiographical info regarding Simpson's upbringing makes its way into the book. Most of the book takes the voice of Ann, retrospectively, and is ably done. The daily struggles the girl and her mother endured--always trying to live above their means while barely staying afloat, are effectively drawn in compelling fashion. However, the other sections of the book are done in summary, and seem largely pointless, providing background to gaps in the story which aren't worth filling.

I'd suggest skipping those sections altogether, it would make the book a much more pleasurable read Apr 06, Kristin Brancaleone rated it really liked it. View all 6 comments. Jan 19, Carol Kowalski rated it it was amazing.

A brilliantly drawn portrait of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship along with tour-de-force sketches of their kin that is both eccentric and eerily familiar. We can't believe such a selfish, smart, dysfunctional mother exists, yet still empathize and even recognize flashes of our own motives in her. We ache for the daughter and wonder how she will survive and keep bouncing back and always again toward her mother!

This is one of those master novels that makes cinema-lovers like me t A brilliantly drawn portrait of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship along with tour-de-force sketches of their kin that is both eccentric and eerily familiar.

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This is one of those master novels that makes cinema-lovers like me think movies are a feeble, one-dimensional medium. The authentic voices, the sense of time and place, and the expression of change and stasis over a family's life arc a reading experience for every lover of great novels. Aug 07, Matthew Gallaway rated it it was amazing. I recently reread this book and loved it.