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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The search for Truth
This story is an excellent snapshot of small town life and an intimate portrait of vulnerable people. My life has been less than perfect, so I felt a kinship with the characters in Songs in Ordinary Time and their struggles. I was especially impressed with the accuracy and detail which the author delivered in portraying the emotions and behavior of the alcoholic...
Published on Dec 4 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unworthy of Oprah's endorsement
I agree with the first three reviews I read...simply not worth the time. Maybe Oprah saw something I didn't, but I can honestly say I've never been so frustrated by ANY fictional characters as I was with the entire Fermoyle family. What a bunch of losers! Usually I can empathize with downtrodden characters, but Ms. Morris took these past my limit. I finished the book...
Published on Dec 4 2003 by rita0721


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unworthy of Oprah's endorsement, Dec 4 2003
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I agree with the first three reviews I read...simply not worth the time. Maybe Oprah saw something I didn't, but I can honestly say I've never been so frustrated by ANY fictional characters as I was with the entire Fermoyle family. What a bunch of losers! Usually I can empathize with downtrodden characters, but Ms. Morris took these past my limit. I finished the book only because I kept hoping it would get better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have patience..., Dec 23 2002
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
If you can get through the first 150 pages, you'll be happy you did. With a slow start, that's when the story really starts to pick up & you start to remember the characters, there's a lot of them! I agree with an earlier reviewer in that there were too many sub-plots & characters.
I did end up liking the book, and I was VERY close to putting it down & not finishing it. I am glad I stuck it out.
The characters are memorable. Their plights, long & hard.
You will cringe with them when things go wrong. It's a story that is so believable it feels real. I see why Oprah picked it.
Just remember, there are many books that start off slow, but they don't always have such a rewarding ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The search for Truth, Dec 4 1999
By A Customer
This story is an excellent snapshot of small town life and an intimate portrait of vulnerable people. My life has been less than perfect, so I felt a kinship with the characters in Songs in Ordinary Time and their struggles. I was especially impressed with the accuracy and detail which the author delivered in portraying the emotions and behavior of the alcoholic ex-husband, the lonely divorced mother, the ostracized teenagers, the timid child, and the master of manipulation, the con man. This book has something for everyone: love, sex, drama, murder, and best of all, lessons in living. I almost forgot it was fiction. The story seemed so real to me, that my heart ached for justice for the unfortunate family. Yet the frustrations of the characters are so drawn out that I hoped for resolution long before the end came. I couldn't put it down and spent the morning of my day off finishing it. I highly recommend it for the drama and sentiment. It is not just entertaining, it blooms with the pain, longing and unfulfilled dreams of real life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Like Seeing the Skeletons Inside The Closets of Everyone, Dec 22 2003
By 
J. Fenk "janice-f" (Cranberry Twp., PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
This was the first McGarry Morris book I've ever read and I have mixed feelings on it. The entire mood of the book was quite depressing. No happy endings here, no sir. I also found the behavior of many of the characters to be unbelievable, thereby causing the entire tale to lose credit. For instance, I found it amazing that, after commiting murder, con-man Omar Duvall chose to take up residence in the same town where he killed a man, and the rotting, putrid body still lies. I'm not a criminal myself, but if I commited such an act, I imagine I'd want to miles away from the scene of the crime!
Next, we have Marie Fermoyle and her three unusual children. I found it sad that she was so desperate for love, that she fell for the fat, slovenly Omar Duval in his one and only shabby suit and his see-through lies.
Overall, the entire cast of characters and their individual miseries interweave into an overall story that plays out rather well. Basket-case USA.
One thing that really stuck in my craw was Alice Fermoyle's treatment of Blue Mooney. Maybe because I've always been attracted to just such a guy, I thought she should have given Blue more of a chance. Oh well. That's my opinion.
If you want to read a book that has a multitude of characters and sub-plots, this is a good choice. But don't expect a happily ever after.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Snoozer, Nov. 10 2003
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"elstrickland" (Pittsburgh, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
This book was very difficult to keep my interest. Aside from it being a depressing story, it had too many characters. I often found it difficult to keep track of who was who. This book was not the worst I've ever read, but it did not keep my attention. I usually like to finish a book once I begin reading it, but this book I had to put down. It was more like a bedtime story opposed to an interesting read. I definitely would not recommewnd this book to others. Honestly, I have read other Oprah's book club picks and this is the first one I did not like at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Faint-Hearted!!, Dec 19 2002
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Lisa Gatz (CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I had a love-hate relationship with this story as I read it. In the end, my verdict is that it was well-written with Morris' characters intricately formed. The story had me turning the next page and mulling the characters and plot over even when I wasn't reading it. This is the sign of a good book to me.
It seemed that Morris gave a generous helping of human flaws to each of her cast of characters with none playing the role of "good guy". The story demonstrates to me a truth: that no one is all bad or all good.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Despite all its flaws, a readable book, March 20 2002
By 
Tanja L. Walker "Tanja L. Walker" (Norman, OK USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I really, really wanted to dislike this book. Few of the characters were likeable, there were far more subplots than necessary, and as a previous reader noted, it could have easily been 300 words shorter. But somehow, the story of a small town in 1960, with all its meandering plots, its residents' twisted lives, secrets, desires, and blind spots, pulled me along. As unlikeable as the characters were, they were believable, and ultimately, that is what kept me going through 740 pages. At least they were 740 relatively fast pages. The one exception to the believablity quotient was that Norm, after 650 pages of hating Omar Duval, suddenly fell under his spell for about 50 pages. The sudden change of heart made no sense and seemed entirely plot driven. At least Norm did come to his senses pretty quickly!
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2.0 out of 5 stars an annoying chore., Jan. 29 2002
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Turnpike (Seattle, Wa United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I have for the most part stayed away from Oprah's book club selections. I have found in general that the story lines are as follows....I was raped, I was poor, I was raped again and then somebody died. I decided to ignore my instincts and gave Songs in Ordinary Time a go. This book should be re-titled "All the Things That Could Go Wrong In a Small Town For 800 Pages" This book was relentless almost to the point of being humorous. There was no pinnacle, no point and then the book was done. I suppose life is often that way too.....so if you live a life of miserable and quiet desparation and you would like a little more of the same read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Begins and evolves as ordinary..but !!, Dec 15 2001
By 
Marc North (Trafalgar, Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
An extraordinary book, that begins and evolves slowly and as the story unfolds it seems terribly ordinary as in the title. But beneath the prose lies an extraordinary understanding of her characters that claims your attention so that you must continue and finish reading the book to discover where they end up. I'm satisfied that I completed reading it, but at times I found it hard going. If your looking for suspense or thrills, forget it for this is an awesome book about ordinary people that live in an ordinary town living for the most part ordinary lives. One vulnerable but fascinating family have the misfortune to encounter a life sucking salesman that they can't seem to shake off. But it ends beautifully in the end, it just took quite some perservarance to get there. Worth the trouble though so I gave it four out of five. Writer perhaps has her best writing ahead of her.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Uh...., Nov. 19 2001
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This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I only managed to get about a chapter and a half into this book. I set it down to answer the hpone, and never bothered to pick it back up. It just didn't grab me, I didn't care about any of the characters enough to want to read any further.
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Songs In Ordinary Time
Songs In Ordinary Time by Mary Morris (Audio CD - Aug. 11 1997)
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