Book Review (Winter Garden) & Movie Review

Lately, it seems like I am just tearing through books. I tend to go through spurts like this every now and then. Typically, I’m not a very fast reader. Apparently finishing The Hunger Games so quickly, made me “hungry” for more reading ASAP. Hence this post will be filled with a book review and movie review.

Alas, no food or running will really be highlighted. I’m in a bit of slump there. I haven’t run at ALL since last Saturday’s 5k race.  I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to do a longish run in Utica this weekend and find my running mojo.

So anyway – here goes my book review:

Winter Garden

By: Kristin Hannah

I approached reading this book in a tentative manner. First of all, I wasn’t too excited that I was going to be reading about winter at the very end of summer. I am ready for some fall weather, but didn’t want to jump right into winter.

Despite my trepidation, almost as soon I started reading Winter Garden, I was hooked. The initial setting is an apple orchard in western Washington state and Meredith is the narrator. I guess I connected immediately when she told the reader she had to start off her day with a run (okay, so morning really isn’t my favorite time to run, but I liked that the narrator was a runner in general).  From there, the story introduces us to her family: husband, Jeff; father, Evan; mother Anya; sister, Nina; and her two daughters. We begin to follow Meredith through life on the orchard and immediately notice a strange relationship with her mother.

Soon a tragedy occurs in the family, that bring Nina back home and forces Nina, Meredith and Anya (mother) to interact. The word “strained” does not do justice to how difficult it is for Nina and Meredith to connect with their mother. From there, we begin to hear a story within a story that helps to explain why Anya is the way she is. We are taken back to Russia during WWII and begin to understand the mystery that lies behind this cold, quiet woman.

At first I wasn’t sure about the story within the story and how it started off. It was difficult to grasp where it was going, who it was about and what the point was the first few times it was interjected. But slowly the “mystery” of the fable begins to unfold and the reader begins to understand the implication and what we need to gather from the story to proceed with the exterior family story.

Mid-way through this book I was completely invested. I really enjoyed it and wanted to learn more about this family, the mother’s secret, and what happened in Russia. The glimpse into Russian life at that time was especially interesting and engaging.

If you are interested in reading this book, please realize it might take some time to get into the story and connect with the characters, but it will happen. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.


And now on to a movie review….

Just Go With It

This netflix movie had been sitting next to our t.v. for over a month. Although we’ve been very busy, I also just wasn’t that excited to watch this movie. I’m not even sure why I added it to our list. It stars Jennifer Anniston, Adam Sandler and Brooklyn Decker. I knew this was going to be cheesy and potentially unbearable before we even started it.

The beginning part of the movie shows Adam Sandler with a GIANT fake nose and we see how/why he becomes so disillusioned with women and relationships. Then  it fast forwards to him being a plastic surgeon and Jennifer Anniston being his assistant.

Let me pause to say that I think Jennifer has most definitely had some facial work done and I don’t like it one bit! No lines, no wrinkles – it’s starting to look bad. She’s moving in the direction of her friend, Courtney Cox, and that is NOT a compliment. I hope she stops. I still like her.

Anyway, back to the movie. It was NOT nearly as intolerable as I thought it would be. I admit that I have a soft spot for both Jennifer and Adam, even though they’ve both made some terrible movies in the past. But for some reason, they seemed to have a decent chemistry in this movie. I believed that they probably did really joke around a lot when the cameras turned off.

As for Brooklyn Decker – a superb actress she is not. But I didn’t hate her. And then there was a totally unexpected cameo from Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews. Totally random and appreciated. I miss Nicole.

Getting back on track. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I didn’t hate it and actually found myself laughing quite a bit. The ending is predictable, but I got past it and was able to enjoy the movie overall. Not a total hit, but not a complete waste of time either.

Have you seen any good movies lately? Give me your suggestions! Next on my list are Limitless and Bridesmaids (no, I can’t believe I haven’t seen it!!). I also just bought the book One Day, so that I can eventually watch the movie with Anne Hathaway.


3 responses to “Book Review (Winter Garden) & Movie Review

  1. I also did NOT see Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews in that movie. It came out of nowhere! But I liked it!

    And yes, I agree- it looked like Jen got work done a week before the movie was shot. Not her best look…

  2. I LOVED the book One Day! It’s not a ‘great’ book in terms of writing, literature,etc, but such a good story

  3. I needed a new book suggestion and I loved Firefly Lane so thank you for this review! I’ll read it soon.

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