Before I jump into my review of A Doubter’s Almanac, I just HAVE to announce a BIG giveaway I have going on right now!
It has been a month since the release of my novel, Devil’s Playground, and to thank all of my amazingly supportive readers (and future readers) I am giving away a 24 kt. gold overlayed necklace/earrings (the picture doesn’t do it justice) plus an Amazon gift card for…$2.29. Why the odd amount? Because it is leap year and I am so excited! To enter, click HERE (facebook users) or HERE (non-facebook users).
And NOW for my review of A Doubter’s Almanac! Can I just tell you that one of the big reasons I picked up this book was because I LOVE this cover. Leave a comment with whether you agree or disagree!
Milo Andret is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in the woods of northern Michigan in the 1950s, he gives little thought to his own talent. But with his acceptance at U.C. Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there—and the rival he meets alongside her—will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.
Spanning seven decades as it moves from California to Princeton to the Midwest to New York, A Doubter’s Almanac tells the story of a family as it explores the way ambition lives alongside destructiveness, obsession alongside torment, love alongside grief. It is a story of how the flame of genius both lights and scorches every generation it touches.
Length: 576 Pages
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: February 16, 2016
About the Author
Ethan Canin is an author, educator, and physician. He is a member of the faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa.
I have never read a book that was character-driven that pulled me in the way A Doubter’s Almanac did. Spanning about seven decades in one book is a difficult feat, but Ethan Canin pulled it off beautifully. His book is in two parts, both parts are in first person but from two different perspectives. The first being the father, and the second being the son.
For the first half of the book I really did not like the main character. But it was in a way that was so compelling, I couldn’t help but think of him as “complex” and “tragic”, rather than just a terrible person. And all of his characters really are just that–complex and tragic. It is what makes this book worth reading.
But I have to say, if 576 pages sounds like a long book–it feels even longer. 1/4 of this book could have been cut out (some of the descriptions are quite lengthy, and sometimes redundant) and I wouldn’t have missed them at all.
Even still, I recommend this book. It is a beautifully tragic story that explores love, lost opportunity, what it means to be family, and how we can survive it all. Because of the length of it all, I am giving it 4 out of 5 Stars.
Content (0 being none and 5 being A LOT)
There is quite a lot of language, including many uses of the F-word.
Particularly in the first half of the book there are many sexual situations, sometimes vague, sometimes more graphic.
Some verbal abuse, but not much violence