Customer Reviews


232 Reviews
5 star:
 (70)
4 star:
 (43)
3 star:
 (19)
2 star:
 (36)
1 star:
 (64)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


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

versus
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


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars A Frustrating Read..., Feb. 16 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book, but it missed the mark. In fact, I was hard pressed to finish it. In Songs in Ordinary Time, it's 1960 in Atkinson, Vermont. The story centers on Marie Fermoyle and her children, Alice who is 16 years old and discovering her sexuality - first with the Police Chief's son and then with a visiting priest, Norm who is hot headed, and Benjy who is 12 years old - ignored by his family, and can't quite figure out what the shameful, nameless "sticky warmth" that unexpectedly appears in his pajama bottoms in the morning, so he sleeps in a towel.
As the story opens, we meet The Judge, but he's dead. His housekeeper lets him stay propped up in the window, refusing to admit he's dead until he starts to get quite ripe.
The rest of the story is about greed, and the human desire to believe that someone can come along and solve all your problems for you. And how badly we want someone to solve our problems, that we ignore the fact that he may be a slick talking, murdering, thief.
This book had such gross and dark images that I just did not like it. I made myself finish the book, but it was difficult.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars What a chore this one was!, Aug. 16 2000
By 
Chrisanthi Tsingos (No. Chelmsford, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
Hmmm-an Oprah book. Could this book be depressing, sad, and non-redeemable like all the other books Oprah, False goddess of america, picks? The answer is yes. Depressing, but there was good writing in there. It seems like Morris was trying to create so many characters and so much plot, but in the end that ended up weakening all the elements of the novel. I hated Duvall, also hated the matriarch at times for being so blind and so self-righteous and pathetic. The town itself was realistic enough and the characters were indeed colorful, but there was too much. Case in point; the daunting and unnecessary length of the novel. And what gets accomplished at the end? There's no hope, and the Fermoyles are not any better off. I wish Morris would have paired the divorced Fermoyles together at the end. That would have been somewhat uplifting, but alas it was not meant to happen.
Still much good prose and many juicy secrets. It sort of reminded me of Peyton Place. I suppose no one would agree though because this book is not controversial (although some of the scenes in it can be morally repulsive).
Don't read this book-Fiona Range is reputed to be better (it's by the same author). And if you want to read an Oprah book, read The Bluest Eye-There is depth there.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good Solid Read, Feb. 12 2000
By 
A. Loveday (Ohio) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I am baffled by the bad reviews I've read for this book. I have read many of the Oprah books, and this is the first one that felt like true literature and not a Harlequin romance. Yes, it is long. Yes, it can be depressing. Yes, it can be graphic. But so can life! Get over yourselves, people!
The characters were so real and clearly defined that, at various points in the book, I loved and hated them all. They had real problems and afflictions that were accurately portrayed by the author. Sometimes they made good choices and sometimes they made bad ones -- no one was a victim. I had to keep reminding myself that the story took place in Vermont, because I felt this book belonged in the Southern Lit course I took in college.
If you want a "happily ever after" book where nothing bad happens to anyone, this is not the book for you. If you want a story where complex characters experience the consequences -- both good and bad -- of their choices, then buy this book. I found it engrossing and hard to put down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars I CAN'T BELIEVE I READ THE WHOLE THING!, Feb. 6 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
I purchased this book because I trusted Oprah's judgment, and I wanted a long book to get lost in during summer '99. Well, it is now February 2000. Through great discipline on my part, I'm finally finished. I feel gypped. There were so many extraneous characters, and their fates were never disclosed. Why introduce characters when they ultimately fizzle out? Why couldn't the author spend more time giving insight into the main characters? Reading this book made me feel voyeuristic. There was a lot of surface "dirt," and I was frustrated by not knowing what made the characters tick. The adults were despicable: sleazy Omar, irresponsible Sam, needy/abusive Marie (I'm no shrink - was she manic-depressive?), among other losers. However, my heart broke for the children. I truly cared about Alice, Norm and Benjy; and I was pleased that the story ended somewhat optimistically - for Alice, at least.
This book should come with a warning: Only read it if you're too happy. It's guaranteed to bring your mood down several notches.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars songs in ordinary time, Nov. 21 1999
By 
Brilliant (Alexandria, Louisiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
Someone once said that the only normal people in the world are those that you haven't met yet. Morris has given us a deep and penetrating look at the inhabitants of Atkinson, Vermont in this tremendous opus and they are us! If you don't think they're normal, then think again and this time think of your friends, neighbors and relatives and all of their little foibles and experiences-not to mention your own. The fact is all of our lives have countless secrets and little ugly facts and twists and turns and when someone like Morris comes along and chronicles them for us a lot of people get damn uneasy. Well, too bad for those not disposed to deal with truth. Morris grabs you by the neck and shoves life right under your nose and a lot of people can't take that and try to find release in Danielle Steele--that dosen't make them bad peolple but it does make them poor judges of real literature in the vein of Cather, Faulkner, Dickens and, more recently, the mighty voice of Mary Mcgarry Morris. Where is her next book? I just can't wait.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Knowing the setting isn't everything, Jan. 11 1999
This review is from: Songs in Ordinary Time (Paperback)
A friend who lives in nearby Rutland, Vermont, loaned me this book because she had loved it. I should trust her taste. I guess I'm a snob because knowing it was an "Oprah Book" and that its setting was Rutland, Vermont (thinly disguised as "Atkinson, VT") slowed down my beginning to read it; I'd had it for a year before guilt set me going once my friend had asked so much whether I'd started it yet. I loved it! It is not a layered piece of philosophic artistry, but the characters are so true and the honest striving of so many of them is so palpable that I'll buy a copy for my classroom library. These people are flawed, for sure, but most of them are striving mightily to live a good, moral life, especially Marie Fermoyle, whose kids probably see her as mean. But the novelist's keen and unflinching sympathies let us see a woman in a hard place trying to do right even if she does not always succeed. I found many scenes very profound emotionally, especially the scene where Benjy wants to drown [285--6] and the scene in which Benjy tells his brother Norm the truth [438]. Many of my favorite scenes involved Benjy, the youngest Fermoyle who just wants his mother to be happy, but who carries the load of so many secrets. I also loved occasional descriptions such as this: "Her perfume smelled of roses and wrinkled dollar bills." [502] The language does not often call attention to itself, but the characters are unfailingly well-observed and believable. There are enough psychologically complex but accessible characterizations to fill a family's social circle in a small city like Rutland. The book also unfolds slowly enough that a reader can really get the sense of the passage of time in the summer of 1960. I moved to Rutland ten years later in 1970, but it was still essentially the town from whose Catholic high school Morris had graduated in 1957. Knowing the geography, however, is not the main pleasure of the novel; its compassionate and accurate reach goes well beyond merely regional items.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 224 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Songs In Ordinary Time
Songs In Ordinary Time by Mary Morris (Audio CD - Aug. 11 1997)
Used & New from: CDN$ 18.58
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews