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229
3.1 out of 5 stars
Mother of Pearl
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Showing 1-10 of 60 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
on January 9, 2000
By selecting this work for her Book Club, Oprah Winfrey put Melinda Haynes in the same category as contemporary masters of fiction such as Anna Quindlen and Jane Hamilton. This is a category to which Haynes, unfortunately, does not belong.
The prose is thick and rambling, and it is loaded with grammatical errors and mixed metaphors. I am a serious reader, consuming books voraciously. I have always operated under the assumption that the failure to finish a book, once begun, is a sign of a weak character. Don't get caught up in this kind of guilt. I gave this book a valiant try and gave up after only nineteen pages. My life is actually better for not having finished it.
I cringed as I read Haynes's horrendous similes. (My favorite example: "Like a sour fart in a tailwind." Please.) Throughout my short experience with this book, I kept thinking (a) that I could do better and (b) perhaps I could return the book and get my twenty dollars back. I am still considering both possibilities.
I have lost my faith in Oprah's literary taste. I hope Haynes can do better with her second novel. If not, perhaps she should return to painting, where muddled colors and misunderstood metaphors are more likely to be considered a strength.
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on January 5, 2000
I'm a voracious reader. There are few books I can put down without finishing - but Mother of Pearl has the dubious honor of being one of them. I labored to get to page 171 and then, well, I just couldn't do it anymore. I can't imagine writing this book much less reading it - it's language is so heavy and extremely confusing. I found myself re-reading passages just to get the gist of the storyline as it (slooowly) went along. To call this novel "wordy" is like calling "Jaws" a pretty big fish. I can appreciate an author's love for words but Melinda Haynes took it several steps too far. I'd like to make note about the characters but I got so boggled, I can't even remember their names!
This book is for three types of people: 1) Those who absolutely thrive on challenge no matter the cost; 2) Those who can appreciate endless banter without really understanding it and 3) those locked away in solitary confinement. Otherwise, save your money but most importantly, save your time for all the novels out there that are so much better!
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on January 13, 2004
Like a typewriter stuck on one letter, this book is full of similes. As repetitive as a woodpecker working on an old oaken log, this book is full of similes. If you enjoy similes like a dog enjoys scratching his fleas, then you may find this book entertaining.
Like a freshman English professor tired of reading excessive adjectives in assignments, I did not.
I too stuck it through to the very end, wading through the tedious and verbose prose; probably more because I'm stubborn (and always finish my books) and not due to the fact that I was enjoying the read.
The storyline, though sometimes confusing, was above average. It almost begs a sequel. But, like an imperfect movie that gets mediocre reviews, this book needs no continuation.
As a fairly frequent reader, I've got one last question:
How did this make Oprah's book club?!!!
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on November 3, 1999
As an avid reader and a fan of most of Oprah's Book Club selections, I have to admit that I was truly disappointed by Mother of Pearl. The characters really lacked definition and despite the various stages of turmoil each was facing in their lives, I didn't care about any of them or what happened to them. The story lines for each character seemed to go no where -- very slowly. Since the book was so long and drawn out and I didn't much care about any of the characters, I actually stopped reading the book with only about 100 pages left. I have never, ever not finished a book before, no matter how bad -- so that should give you an idea of how awful this one was. If you're looking for a good book along the lines of Oprah's usual picks, try Home is Where the Heart is by Billy Letts, Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman or Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen.
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on March 22, 2000
I did something I NEVER do when reading a book. I PUT IT DOWN, and I refused to finish it. It was a tedious story with far too many characters that the author could not sucessfully tie togerther. Not only did I find the writing to be unbearable, it was also full of the worst kind of human suffering. I gave it one star because I had to give it something, and after reading a few of Oprah's picks I have come to the conclusion that they are all the same. They are stories of horrible human suffering, unrealistic circumstances, and just plain horrible reads. I enjoy a good read as much as any avid reader but I cannot comprehend what pleasure anyone could find in this book. So I guess I will chalk this purchase up to poor judgment and toss it in the trash. Sorry, I won't be reading any works by Ms. Haynes and no more Oprah picks for me.
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on September 29, 2002
The reviewer who used the word "pretentious" summed this one up. This book is nothing if not a long, boring, poorly edited anecdote. We have here an unrealistic portrayal of the South, circa 1956 Mississippi. No characters are fully realized, and cheap symbolism is casually thrown about with little apparent link to anything. The repetition of the phrase "You say that true.", and the broad use of the term "hasn't got a clue" (remember, this is 1956 Mississippi) cause the reader to wonder what Martha Levin (the editor)does for a living. Author Haynes needs to pick up a copy of Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" (available here at Amazon) and get this clue: OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS. How I trudged through the pages of this book and completed it is beyond my understanding. Perhaps I could not believe that these words were actually published.
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on October 9, 2000
This book is full of prtences.A group of poor uneducated rural folk in Mississippi carrying on like at a cocktail party at the Museum of Modern Art.Simple black people quoting from Greek tragedies.Unfathomable prose with no respite.The author has an obsession with bodily fluids and every imaginable effuents.Four letter words galore.Stereotyping based on color,profession and religion.To focus on the deep south, the author casually mentions lynchings,Klan and not being served soon at a paint store et al.Impossible situations,meaningless theories,irrelevant characters and pretend pop psychology. Perhaps the author wanted to do a Salvador Dali in a novel form.But it is gone wrong.Perhaps she should return to her vocationand resume painting.But I have lost faith in book clubs and best seller lists.
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on August 3, 1999
This has to be one of the worst books to have ever made it on a bestseller list. From this point on I will steer clear of Oprah's BookClub selections. I really should have taken the advise of other reviewer's of this website and not attempted to read this mess. Even with re-reading sections, the book made no sense. When I was at 300 pages I continued to consider tossing it in the trash, which would have been a first since I never quit a book. But now I wish I went with my initial feelings and tossed it out. The characters were not interesting and by the end I could care less what happened to any one of them. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time. Oprah should get out of the book business and Haynes should return to her first career of painting.
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on July 25, 2000
I originally wanted to read this book because it was one of Oprah's book picks and a real favorite of Oprah's. However, after reading the first chapter of this book, I had to put it down. Just because Oprah recommends something, doesn't mean the rest of us are going to like it (although I have to say that this is one of the few Oprah Book Club picks that I didn't enjoy). I just could not get into this story. The names of the characters, the way they talked, and the plot of this story totally turned me off. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way, because I've talked to other people who also intensely disliked the book. It looks good, but once you open it up you'll be convinced otherwise. Don't blow your money on this one.
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on September 20, 1999
This book was to say the least, a big challenge to read. I read it, and reread it. I have read most of Oprah's picks, but this one I would have opted not to buy, had I known the confusion it would cause in my mind. (A lot of back tracking was done and that didn't seem to help! Anyone out there understand the pig?) This book is one that will retire at a used book store somewhere. I would not recommend it unless you have a lot of time to study and attempt to figure the sorted mess out. Even watching the Oprah show on the book club discussion did not help me to understand. Get past the flood, Oprah said, and then it is smooth sailing and things will come into place. Not for this reader! I just am amazed that it was published.
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