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Her characters feel like people who may be living in some part of the world and that is true for this novel too.
If you have come here looking for a quintessential book review you will be disappointed. I don’t do those, honestly I can’t do those. I get too emotionally invested in a book to ever objectively comment upon one. I can tell you which books I liked best and which books betrayed me like one of those men who promise a lot of glitz but have no sparkle of their own.
Anyway, this is about a book I read recently by Isabel Allende, who’s an expert story-teller and happens to be one of my favorites. I read her ‘In The Midst of Winter’ through February and was highly disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, her female characters continue to be real and with a depth that is usually absent from male narratives. These are strong women who are neither afraid of their sensitivity nor of their sexuality. What lacks in the novel, ‘In the Midst of Winter’, is not characters that could cruise the story on their shoulders but the story itself. It’s a weak story that revolves around three people who have had their fair share of misfortunes in life and they are all carrying the burden of it. The decisions they make during the course of the story is often influenced by what they have experienced in their lives.
With their strong characters, it should be easy to love them or at least like them. But it isn’t so. The characters feel as much a misfit as a mariachi band would be in an Indian wedding.
There are three characters in the novel – Richard Bowmaster, Lucia Maraz, and Evelyn Ortega. Lucia and Evelyn are immigrants in the country, and Richard is living a borrowed existence in his head. While reading the portions about Richard I felt uncomfortable, but it was not the discomfort at his trials but discomfort at the pity he shows himself. Perhaps, I have come to expect more from Allende’s characters.
The events all three protagonists go through are harsh, terrible and often feel surreal, like a black-and-white movie that you know is a movie. While I sympathized with the characters, I could never really bring myself to identify with any of them. It wasn’t entirely because of the severity of their situation but because the characters felt removed from reality, and no it wasn’t magical realism in any way.
However, I would still recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read a book by a woman author. Isabel Allende, you can feel it while reading, puts hard work into her characters. Her characters feel like people who may be living in some part of the world and that is true for this novel too. They, however, look ill at ease with where they are.
The novel can also be a good entry point for people who wish to read something fictional about people in South America and immigrants. Perhaps my inability to connect with any of the characters in the novel is because of my lack of understanding of the immigrant situation in US. In near future I hope to pick the book back up and be wiser to understand the nuances of an immigrant’s life. Till then off to another book.
Image is the cover of the book
I am a writer who loves to daydream about food and has her nose in books. I can give amazing relationship advice, bad at following one though. You may detect a hint of sarcasm in read more...
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We need to stop stereotyping women's bodies, and also be more sensitive towards our children who are growing up with terrible self-confidence leading to loneliness and depression.
When Kate Winslet said, “Young women should enjoy their life instead of worrying about how they look,” it stuck a cord with me. I am one of those women who struggle with body image issues in a society heavily influenced by unrealistic beauty standards and societal expectations, and Kate’s statement was empowering.
I grew up listening to unsolicited advice about wearing clothes a size bigger than what I wear; everyone took a free ride to comment about my bra and how big it was. I have spent most of my life loathing how I look—my size, weight, clothes, appearance, skin tone, and hair. This isn’t because I’m not too fond of how I appear, but rather because I’ve been told repeatedly by most trusted people around me that I have one or more flaws.
It is imperative that, as a society, we shed our stereotypical thought not just to support women but also our children who are growing up with terrible self-confidence leading to loneliness and depression. We can significantly impact our mental health and well-being by fostering a culture of compassion, understanding, and empowerment.
Here are some online tools for startups to use for their tech needs for organising work, mind mapping, ideation, etc.
Most startups are bootstrapped, the budget is low, there is no funding, startups need some support and excellent tools to run the show. The team may be working at one place or the team is spread across the globe, but the team needs to brainstorm. Brainstorming can be fun. Listing few resources which a startup or entrepreneurs can use for brainstorming.
Bubbl.us is an interesting tool which is useful to take notes, brainstorm and organize new ideas, collaborate, and capture thoughts. It allows you to avoid distraction by focusing on task, to collaborate and share with friends, families, team and social media. Essentially no hassle of downloading any app, works on mobile and desktop. You can use the basic plan to explore and later subscribe for at $4.91/month, $59 billed annually.
Miro offers the quickest, easiest way for teams to capture, organize and visualize thoughts, solutions, ideas across the team. Other than brainstorming, it can be used for project planning, creating organizational charts and sales strategies. It runs on all devices: mobile, tablet, desktop or interactive display.
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