Thursday, February 28, 2008

Things I Want My Daughters to Know

I received Things I Want My Daughters to Know from LibraryThings's Early Reviewer program. This is the fourth novel I have read by Elizabeth Noble and I think it is one of her better works. This novel falls into the category of women's fiction and primarily explores the relationships between the characters in the book, their struggles and frustrations. Things are tied up quite neatly in the end, to give a happy but probably somewhat unrealistic ending. Such is the genre.

At the beginning of this book, matriarch Barbara dies, leaving behind four daughters, a husband, letters for each of her daughters and a journal. Barbara's girls are of varying ages, lending to the story the opportunity to explore different times of life, that of marriage, children, dating, and the teen years. Each girl struggles with the loss of her mother, and in turn feels guilt, anger, and acceptance. Barbara's husband Mark, father to one daughter and stepfather to the others, also struggles, yet serves as the moral checkpoint and support person for the women.

I think Noble's books are generally very 'readable'. There is some substance here, made clear by the premise, but also humor, romance, and relationship struggles. This sort of book serves its purpose - to entertain, and pleasantly pass the time. I always enjoy a book set in England so that was a positive for me. It is not serious or in-depth enough to necessarily comfort or help someone in a similar position, in my opinion.

I couldn't find a picture of the cover to post (though there is one in the Amazon link I've provided) , but I wanted to mention that the cover image looks less like chick-lit than Noble's previous books. I think that may help Noble solidify her audience and find her new fans as well.

19 comments:

Les said...

I snagged an ARC of this at work a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed The Reading Group (I, too, love books set in England), so I'm happy to hear it was a good read. I've just started a new book (Inheritance by Natalie Danford), but once I'm finished with that, I'll be eager to read Noble's new one. Thanks for the positive review!

Iliana said...

I may put this one on my radar... I tried reading one of her books and found it a bit too chick lit. I overdosed on chick lit for a while so perhaps I just couldn't take any more then. Oh and I do love books set in England too :)

Kay said...

I've got an ARC of this book as well. Not sure exactly when I will get to it but I appreciated your review. I think you are right about the cover being less cartoon-y, more substantial. Thanks!

Bookfool said...

I've only read The Reading Group but I loved it. I'll have to watch for this one, thanks!

Tara said...

Les, you got one too! I will look forward to your thoughts on it.

Iliana, hmm. I wonder if it was Alphabet Weekends - that one was pretty chick-litish IMO, and probably my least favorite of hers.

Kay, wow! You too! I'll look forward to your thoughts when you get to it.

Bookfool, I liked The Reading Group too - naturally, the subject matter fit my interests!

Becca said...

Twice in one week someone has recommended this book but I have been too afraid of the chick lit tag ... but since you have recommended it ... it's back on the possible list. I'd like to know what you thought of The Jane Austen Book Club film. I watched it last week (from Netflix) and was disappointed ... what did you think? I had heard good reviews so maybe its just me ...

William Wren said...

i will take your emence advice

Tara said...

Becca, that's interesting! Who else-another blogger? I think it would be a good book to take on a plane trip...it's an easy read. You know, I had really, really low expectations of the Jane Austen Book Club film and I wound up thinking it wasn't so bad. It sounds like we had different expectations going in. I enjoyed it as a diversion, though the part about the teacher and student bothered me.

William Wren, um, okay.

Lisa said...

I like the premise of this book as you describe it. Leaving letters to daughters at different stages in life provides a nice structure for the book. I may have to get a hold of this one. Thanks for the nice review.

Literary Feline said...

I have read one of the author's books and enjoyed it. I don't often read chicklit and so haven't made my way to other of her books just yet. This one does sound good and I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the great review, Tara.

LisaMM said...

Hi Tara, Hope you're feeling much better by now. My rotten kids have made me sick a few times so I know how that goes!! I have never been interested in reading The Bell Jar, but from you're description, now I am. My sister suffers from clinical depression and it can be very frustrating and frightening for those who love her. Maybe I'd understand her better with insight from that book.

Les said...

I read the Bell Jar a year or so ago and was surprised that I liked it as well as I did. My review is here if you're interested.

melanie said...

thanks for the review, i read another of her books (Friendship Test, I think?) and wasn't such a fan. but i'm willing to give it another go.

Tara said...

Lisa, she left one letter to each daughter as well as the journal. The daughters were of differing ages, which I think allowed the author varied life situations to write about. Sorry that wasn't more clear! And thank you.

Literary Feline, I read a bit of chicklit for awhile, but not anymore. This is definitely more 'women's fiction' which I read sometimes, but don't find it satisfying enough for me in large quantities.

LisaMM, Thanks, sorry to hear you know what I mean! I think The Bell Jar could be useful read for a family member/friend of a person suffering from depression.

Les, I'm going to check out your review - thanks for pointing it out.

Melanie, Friendship Test wasn't my favorite...I do think this new one differs from her other books a bit.

Tara said...

Lisa, she left one letter to each daughter as well as the journal. The daughters were of differing ages, which I think allowed the author varied life situations to write about. Sorry that wasn't more clear! And thank you.

Literary Feline, I read a bit of chicklit for awhile, but not anymore. This is definitely more 'women's fiction' which I read sometimes, but don't find it satisfying enough for me in large quantities.

LisaMM, Thanks, sorry to hear you know what I mean! I think The Bell Jar could be useful read for a family member/friend of a person suffering from depression.

Les, I'm going to check out your review - thanks for pointing it out.

Melanie, Friendship Test wasn't my favorite...I do think this new one differs from her other books a bit.

Pink Lady Bug said...

Hi Tara, sounds like a good read. I haven't heared of Noble before so I might have to check her out at the library.

Carrie K said...

Oh good, I'd read The Friendship Test and wasn't wowed by it at all. This one looks a bit better and I think my mother might like it too.

The Bell Jar! Such an upbeat book. Mental illness is barely understood/tolerated now.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Sounds like an enjoyable way to pass the time. Sometimes I want an intense read, but sometimes it's great just to have fun with a book!

Tara said...

Pink Lady Bug, I hope you find something there - I bet you will!

Carrie K, what you said about mental illness is so true, hopefully people have a better chance for a life than they did then.

Heather, exactly how I feel!