Review – Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver


Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

Genre: Literary Fiction

Length: 464 Pages

Release date: October 16, 2018

Publisher:

The New York Times bestselling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards—including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize—returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval.

Willa Knox has always prided herself on being the embodiment of responsibility for her family. Which is why it’s so unnerving that she’s arrived at middle age with nothing to show for her hard work and dedication but a stack of unpaid bills and an inherited brick home in Vineland, New Jersey, that is literally falling apart. The magazine where she worked has folded, and the college where her husband had tenure has closed. The dilapidated house is also home to her ailing and cantankerous Greek father-in-law and her two grown children: her stubborn, free-spirited daughter, Tig, and her dutiful debt-ridden, ivy educated son, Zeke, who has arrived with his unplanned baby in the wake of a life-shattering development.

In an act of desperation, Willa begins to investigate the history of her home, hoping that the local historical preservation society might take an interest and provide funding for its direly needed repairs. Through her research into Vineland’s past and its creation as a Utopian community, she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood.

A science teacher with a lifelong passion for honest investigation, Thatcher finds himself under siege in his community for telling the truth: his employer forbids him to speak of the exciting new theory recently published by Charles Darwin. Thatcher’s friendships with a brilliant woman scientist and a renegade newspaper editor draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. At home, his new wife and status-conscious mother-in-law bristle at the risk of scandal, and dismiss his financial worries and the news that their elegant house is structurally unsound.

Brilliantly executed and compulsively readable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred—whether family or friends—and in the strength of the human spirit.

rating

four

Unsheltered is definitely one of those “you’ll love it or you’ll hate it” kind of books; it’s polarizing to the extreme. As of this writing, the two top rated Goodreads reviews of this book are a five star review… and a one star review.

Personally, I found myself enjoying it, but I do understand why it doesn’t work for a lot of people. The pacing is somewhat slow, making it feel overly long at times. It’s very wrapped up in political musings and borders on being preachy, to say the least. If you go to fiction for escapism, this book will be torture for you.

That being said, I found myself drawn into both timelines of the story. It took me longer to get invested in the historical timeline than the modern timeline, but it eventually became my favorite. This was in large part because this novel introduced me to Mary Treat, actual historical figure, correspondent of Charles Darwin, and scientist in her own right. Kingsolver’s portrayal of her is eccentric but intensely likable. Mary was a huge highlight of the novel for me, and I’m dying to read more about her life and work now that I’m done.

Kingsolver’s treatment of social issues may come across somewhat heavy-handed, particularly because it relies heavily on dialog and outright debates between character. (Not simply arguments, by the way; at one point in the earlier timeline, there is an actual formal debate on the subject of creationism vs. evolution.) If you enjoy debates as much as I do, this won’t be a detriment at all, but judging by some of the negative reviews, I may be a minority opinion in that regard.

Unsheltered is structurally interesting, with the closing of each chapter leading into the themes of the following one as Kingsolver swaps timelines. Despite the difference between the two stories in the specifics, there were a lot of thematic similarities which I thought were handled really well. Both sets of characters are living in times of social upheaval in very different ways. In the modern timeline, Willa’s family struggles with issues that will feel familiar to most readers: cost of medical care, political polarization, and the seemingly vanishing middle class. Thatcher Greenwood struggles to be taken seriously in a small and somewhat backwards town as an early supporter of Darwin’s theory of evolution. In both timelines, the decaying house looms large as a source of anxiety.

Unsheltered may not be for every reader. It’s somewhat long and meandering, and seems to be trying to do a lot by thoroughly exploring both the person and political in not one but two separate timelines. However, I found myself intensely invested in many of the characters as well as the broader social issues Kingsolver has woven into the narrative. Fans of Kingsolver’s past work should definitely give this book a chance.

Purchase links

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Thank you for reading! Have you read any historical fiction where real historical figures played a major role lately? Share in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday 01/16/2019

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To participate, just answer the following three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m currently reading…

captureSeverance
by Ling Ma
“An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor.” I’m clearly a bit early into this book to have formed any opinion yet.

Queenie
by Candice Carty-Williams
This is a NetGalley ARC with a publication date of March 19th. Queenie follows the story of a young Jamaican British woman as her life goes into a downward spiral.

Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver
This one has super mixed reviews, but I”m enjoying it so far, despite the somewhat slow pace. Unsheltered is half contemporary, half historical fiction and follows the stories of two families living in the same house over 100 years apart.

I recently finished reading…

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An Anonymous Girl
by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Review to come soon! I was hesitant to read this after The Wife Between Us fell really flat for me, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. It’s totally a Lifetime movie in the making and 100% ridiculous, but a super fun thriller. It was also kind of an interesting contrast to The Stranger Inside, which I also read recently. Part of the reason The Stranger Inside didn’t work for me was my intense dislike of the protagonist. The protagonist of An Anonymous Girl shares a lot of similarities with that character as far as what makes her a hot mess, but she was infinitely more likable. Hendricks and Pekkanen did a really excellent job of writing a flawed protagonist without making the readers hate her.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers
by Nancy Jo Sales
This was absolutely not for me. You can read my full review here, but basically, the whole book reads like a lot of hysterical hang-wringing over teenage sexuality while seeming completely divorced from the reality of the situation.

Antigone
by Sophocles
I won’t be reviewing this for a few reasons: I despise reviewing classics because it always feels a bit presumptuous, I find it unfair to rate a play based on reading it rather than viewing it as intended, and also because I mainly picked this up as a refresher while brainstorming my review of Home Firewhich I still need to write. Home Fire is a modern retelling of Antigone, which I hadn’t read since sophomore year of high school, so I thought I should delve into the inspiration of the novel again in order to better understand it. I will try to get my Home Fire review up as soon as possible!

Up next…

Women Talking
by Miriam Toews

(ARC provided by NetGalley; publication date 04/02/2019)

One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

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Review – The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker

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The Dreamers 
by Karen Thompson Walker

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Length: 320 Pages

Release date: January 15, 2019

Publisher: Random House

Synopsis: 

A mesmerizing novel about a college town transformed by a strange illness that locks victims in a perpetual sleep and triggers life-altering dreams—by the bestselling author of The Age of Miracles, for fans of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

Written in gorgeous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking novel that startles and provokes, about the possibilities contained within a human life—in our waking days and, perhaps even more, in our dreams.

rating

four

My thanks to Random House for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. 

If you like stories which answer all of your questions by the end and wrap everything up in a neat little bow, The Dreamers may not be for you. However, if dreamy, evocative prose and heartfelt relationships between characters are what make a novel worthwhile for you, I definitely recommend giving The Dreamers a chance.

The Dreamers alternates between the perspectives of multiple characters in the aftermath of the outbreak of a mysterious sleeping sickness. Sufferers fall into a REM-like sleep and cannot be awoken, but appear for all intents and purposes to be otherwise healthy. The science fiction aspect of the story remains in the background, while the reactions of people both on an individual level and as a group are the focus of the novel.

Facing rising panic in the community as the disease remains a total mystery and continues to spread, we get to know the young daughter of a doomsday prepper who never envisioned this particular possibility, the father of a newborn who is struggling with the danger to which is child is now exposed, the roommate of patient zero who feels guilty for not noticing and trying to help sooner, and a psychiatrist working to solve the mystery of the sleeping sickness. Pressure slowly mounts as a quarantine is put into place and each of these characters spends day after day in fear.

This rising tide of panic provides some of the most interesting passages in The Dreamers. The story is deeply psychological, pushing each character to their limits, often coming back to the same question: will you help when it becomes difficult, when it’s scary, when it can come at great personal cost? What is your breaking point? What if you would put your loved ones at risk in addition to yourself? With the constant threat of spreading this mystery contagion, some characters will step up and some will run for cover. At each step of the way, we are called to sympathize with them for these choices, whether or not we agree with them.

As I said, The Dreamers may not be for you if you need all of your questions answered by the final page of the novel. Despite thoroughly enjoying the process of reading this, I felt at the end that there was a lack of resolution. I wanted more answers. I wanted closure and a concrete sense that those who remained were forever changed by the experience. This lack of resolution kept this from being a five star book for me, but Karen Thompson Walker’s gorgeous prose and exploration of human emotions were well worth the time invested in this novel.

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Purchase links

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Thank you for reading! Have you read The Dreamers? What were your thoughts? Do you prefer science fiction where the deviations from the real world are front and center, or consigned to the background and used solely as a catalyst to explore what it means to be human? Discuss in the comments!

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Review – American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers


American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers
by Nancy Jo Sales

Genre: Nonfiction

Length: 416 Pages

Release date: February 23, 2016

Synopsis: 

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women? This the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment.

What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016?

It means coming of age online in a hyper-sexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls.

Provocative and urgent, American Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

rating

two

American Girls was mentioned in an article I read recently, and I was curious enough to snag a copy from the library. It was not worth the time I invested in it. This is a 416 page book and I can sum it up with one sentence: young people no longer have relationships, and porn and smartphones are the root of all evil.

I’m 28, so I’m a little out of the age range that Sales is talking about in this book, but I know and talk to a lot of younger people, and the culture she is portraying in this book is not one that I recognize at all. While she touches on a lot of very real issues, such as sexual harassment online, an unhealthy amount of time devoted to social media, and lowered self esteem triggered by comparing our real lives to the filtered, unrealistic version that others put online… most of her concerns feel completely overblown.

It also feels like Sales lacks any self-awareness at times. At one point, she remarks that teenage sexual exploration has always made adults uncomfortable, despite it being a normal and natural part of adolescence. This remark is made amidst pages upon pages of hand-wringing over teenage sexuality and how it signals the end of romance as we know it. Hookup culture reigns supreme and relationships are dead to American youth, to hear Sales tell it. This is all purely anecdotal, of course, and it doesn’t remotely match up with the anecdotes from teen girls in my own life. These girls date. They have steady boyfriends.

Sales is also highly critical of sex positive feminism. While I don’t think that movement (or any movement, for that matter) is infallible, Sales’ criticisms simply read as more hysteria over teens being sexually active. All sexual activity and expression is purely for the benefit of the boys, apparently. Sales seems to think that sex positive feminism is simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing dedicated to tricking teen girls into seeking empowerment through fulfilling the needs of teen boys.

Basically, Sales seems to be so hyper-fixated on social media and online pornography that she’s determined to paint a picture that shows how they are responsible for nearly all of the ills in today’s society, even those she has to make up whole cloth (i.e., dating no longer exists). I went into this book expecting to agree with a lot of Sales’ points, so I think it’s telling just how flat it fell for me. Do teens spend too much time on social media? Yes, I’m sure, as do most of the rest of us. Is “hookup culture” a thing? I’m inclined to think not, and studies seem to suggest that hysteria around this issue is overblown. If you’re looking for a thoughtful exploration on teen use of social media and/or modern sexuality, I’m sorry to say that you won’t find it here. Purchase links

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Thank you for reading! Have you read American Girls? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Review – The Au Pair, by Emma Rous


The Au Pair
by Emma Rous

Genre: Mystery

Length: 384 Pages

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Books

Synopsis: 

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

ratingfour

The publisher compares The Au Pair to the work of V. C. Andrews, and with the gothic horror vibe of the story, I get where that comes from. Honestly, though, I found myself thinking more of Lifetime movies while reading. It’s definitely the epitome of guilty pleasure reading, and Rous has no issues with straining the limits of credulity of her readers.

The plot is fun and the atmosphere is mildly creepy, particularly in the flashback scenes to Laura’s timeline. I definitely think that of the two timelines, Laura’s story was stronger than Seraphine’s. Watching things spiral out of control at Summerbourne due in large part to Ruth’s selfishness and instability was infinitely more engaging than watching Seraphine learn about these events years after the face.

The overall story is suspenseful but does feel rather shallow. Rous attempts to do something deeper by exploring themes of identity and family (i.e., the question of whether blood matters more than who raised you) but never really gets anywhere meaningful or evocative in that regard. Seraphine spends most of the book questioning whether her parents were really her parents at all, whether her supposed twin brother is even related to her. With the closeness of a twin relationship in particular, family is very central to Seraphine’s sense of identity. There’s never really any gradual shift in this regard. Blood matters very much to Seraphine… until it simply doesn’t anymore.

Overall, this was a fun read with loads of suspense and mystery but with twists that can border on the ridiculous at times. The Au Pair is the ultimate brain candy: the perfect book to binge when you’re looking for an easy, entertaining read.

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WWW Wednesday 01/09/2019

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday! This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To participate, just answer the following three questions:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m currently reading…

captureAmerican Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of American Teenagers
by Nancy Jo Sales

I picked this one up because of the feminist themes, but I feel like I’m too young for this book. So much of it is telling me things I don’t need to be told. Thanks, Nancy Jo, but I already know what “on fleek” means. It also comes across as hyper-critical of the sex positive movement, and while I think there are very valid criticisms to make of it, I’m not sure that all of the ones in this book fall into that category. Maybe I’ll find something valuable as I get further into this, but thus far I’m not a fan.

Queenie
by Candice Carty-Williams

Obviously I’m not really far enough into this one to have formed an opinion yet, but the publisher describes it like this: “Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.”

I recently finished reading…

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The Stranger Inside, by Laura Benedict
This was an ARC of a February 5th release. It’s a mystery/thriller novel in which a woman comes home from a trip to find that a stranger has moved into her house. Things get… even more ridiculous from there. I wasn’t a fan of this one. Full review to come.

Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie
I had no idea when I started this that it was a modern retelling of Antigone. It has kind of mixed reviews, but I really liked it. The myth is retold with modern Muslim characters dealing with extremism and loss within their family. Full review to come.

The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
In case you missed it, you can find my review here. This was a four star review for me, but the magical themes were much a bit more understated than I’d expected from the blurb.

The Au Pair, by Emma Rous
I had a weird experience with this one, because I feel like it did a lot of things that I tend to dislike in thrillers, mainly stretching the suspense of disbelief way too far and having a copious amount of affairs…. but I kind of liked it? It’s definitely a guilty pleasure kind of read, and it feels like it should be adapted into a Lifetime movie. Full review to come!

Elevation, by Stephen King
Garbage. Sorry, but Stephen King can do so much better than this. You can read my review here.

Up next…

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Severance
by Ling Ma

An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.

So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.

Candace won’t be able to make it on her own forever, though. Enter a group of survivors, led by the power-hungry IT tech Bob. They’re traveling to a place called the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?

A send-up and takedown of the rituals, routines, and missed opportunities of contemporary life, Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Most important, it’s a heartfelt tribute to the connections that drive us to do more than survive.Capture2.PNG

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Review – The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict

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The Only Woman in the Room
by Marie Benedict

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 272 Pages

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Synopsis: 

She was beautiful. She was a genius. Could the world handle both? A powerful, illuminating novel about Hedy Lamarr. 

Hedy Kiesler is lucky. Her beauty leads to a starring role in a controversial film and marriage to a powerful Austrian arms dealer, allowing her to evade Nazi persecution despite her Jewish heritage. But Hedy is also intelligent. At lavish Vienna dinner parties, she overhears the Third Reich’s plans. One night in 1937, desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazis, she disguises herself and flees her husband’s castle.

She lands in Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, screen star. But Hedy is keeping a secret even more shocking than her Jewish heritage: she is a scientist. She has an idea that might help the country and that might ease her guilt for escaping alone — if anyone will listen to her. A powerful novel based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist whose groundbreaking invention revolutionized modern communication, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece.

rating

four

My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark, Booktrib, and The Girly Book Club for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. 

“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”
-Hedy Lamarr

The Only Woman in the Room is infinitely engaging, but woefully brief, coming in under 300 pages. Hedy Lamarr, a Jewish woman who married and Austrian arms dealer and eventually fled Europe during Hitler’s rise to power, found fame and fortune as an actress in America. What she wanted more than anything, however, was for the world to see beyond her pretty face and for her intellectual efforts to be taken seriously.

While this novel is historical fiction, the woman it portrays was quite real. As much as I enjoyed the reading experience, I can’t help but feel that, in the interest of brevity, hugely formative periods of her life which involved rapid change were glossed over rather quickly. Hedy Lamarr has been the subject of nonfiction books, a documentary (Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, which is available on Netflix) and there was a memoir published under her name but written by ghost-writers (Ecstasy and Me: My Life As a Woman). Those who are already quite familiar with Lamarr may not find anything particularly enlightening in this novel. If you are like me, however, familiar with Lamarr only through a vague awareness of her as an actress and inventor, this may be a great place to start. The documentary is a great follow-up to this novel, as it delves into Lamarr’s later life, which The Only Woman in the Room does not.

The Hedy Lamarr portrayed in Benedict’s novel is deeply introspective; her attempts to help with the war effort are fueled in part by a sense of survivor’s guilt. Her first husband, a man she agreed to marry mainly because she thought he would protect her, became quite abusive and aligned himself with Nazi interests when it became clear Austria could not stand against Hitler. When Hedy flees Europe, she initially throws herself into Hollywood without reservation. Benedict does an excellent job of portraying the slowly rising sense of guilt and anxiety which compels Hedy to alter the world as we know it, albeit not in the way she ever envisioned.

Hedy Lamarr’s development of what she termed “Spread Spectrum Technology” is addressed briefly in terms of ramifications for today’s technology in the author’s note at the end of the novel. In short, her patent formed the backbone which allowed later inventors to develop all sorts of wireless technology, such as cell phones, fax machines, wifi, and more. Our daily lives are impacted today by her work, which was largely forgotten in favor of her silver screen accomplishments for most of her life. Benedict’s novel attempts to draw the focus back onto Lamarr’s intellectual excellence as opposed to the image of the ornamental damsel many may think of when they hear her name. The Only Woman in the Room is artfully written and imbued with a sense of respect for its subject.

Purchase links

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Thank you for reading! If you’ve read The Only Woman in the Room, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Do you prefer historical fiction which revolves around real historical figures or original characters? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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