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Mister Sandman: A Novel [Hardcover]

Barbara Gowdy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book by Gowdy, Barbara

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JOAN CANARY was the Reincarnation Baby. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous Work from a Wonderful Canadian Author May 14 2001
Barbara Gowdy's Mister Sandman is a wonderful find. It is amazing to discover how much fun and quirky the book and the characters are and, yet, somehow the writing always reaches deeper just when the reader does not expect it. The book creates emotion out of chaos and pieces together a novel of the heart that a lesser writer would have made straight forward and senimental. The author has simply made it strange turning into unusual turning into delightful turning into moving and then coming back again. These are characters that are hard to forget, particulary the baby Joan, a truly unique creation. It is great to find a Canadian author of such talent.
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Gowdy has quite an imagination. This is the most dysfunctional family I've read about (right up there with "Fall on Your Knees"). There is homosexuality, promiscuity, lies, secrets, and the silent Joan, who is the youngest daughter, thought to be brain damaged but extremely intelligent, and aware of her families betrayals in her own way.
I am still trying to decide if I liked this book. The characters were interesting and they did draw my interest. But the story is way out there...certainly not a mainstream read. Gowdy's style confused me a bit at first by changing timelines often, and once that settled down I could follow the plot much easier.
An interesting and somewhat shocking read...not sure that I would recommend it to others.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes funny, possibly disturbing Oct. 23 2001
I was suggested this book by Amazon's recommendations engine and then was convinced by all the 5 star reviews to add it to my wish-list. So then I got if for Christmas and finally got to it a couple weeks ago.
I wouldn't call it a waste of time. There are some very funny parts (mostly in the beginning and the end) and it's definitely unique. But... the story didn't really hold together well for me. It was more like a bunch of short stories set in the same place, as Gowdy takes one character at a time and exposes their strange (though I'm sure more common than most people think) lives. I wasn't disturbed by the amount of sexual material in the book but anyone that thinks this book is about some cute, angelic child should definitely beware.
Another reviewer mentioned purpose and resolution. I would have to agree, the ending didn't really explain much or give you any idea about the future of the family members. I don't think there really was a point Gowdy was trying to get across, unless it was "life is stranger than it looks at a glance".
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5.0 out of 5 stars I must agree with the rest April 19 2000
By Jen
This is definitely one of those books you really can't put down. (I also couldn't get the song Mister Sandman out of my head.) Each character has such distinct personality traits. So bizarre yet so real. The story line flows into each chapter. I would recommend this book to anyone who reads.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mister Sandman April 12 2000
This is an amazing book! I have read it at least six times. The characters are so strange and bizare but yet so real and human. I could not put this book down. The most facinating chapter is the one that describes how Joan, a mute savant, sees the world. Prepare yourself, it's a strange tale but well worth the read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it! Feb. 3 2000
Cleverly written, Mister Sandman looks into its characters' lives with honest and intimate detail. The characters are richly and vividly portrayed; the Canarys are strange yet familiar. I fell in love with Joan and hated to have to say goodbye. One of the best books I've read in a long time!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Island Pick Jan. 21 2000
By A Customer
This is an amazing book! It's well-crafted, funny, sad, sensitive, mystical- all of the elements of the story come together for an ending that is perfection! This is a novel EVERYONE should read because it will change the way you look at "ordinary people". I cannot rave about it enough!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a dreamy yet very real book June 7 1999
By A Customer
I picked up Mister Sandman at the library around three years ago (paperback version)I was through in about a day.All I can say is that this is one of the most bueatiful books I have ever read (let's keep in mind that my family calls me bookworm-so I must have read quite a few!)It stays with you after reading it -kind of like a freindly ghost...little incidences will crop up at random and I'm left racking my brains ,wondreing where that came from....
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