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Autobiography of Us [Anglais] [Relié]

Aria Beth Sloss

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Amazon.com: 3.1 étoiles sur 5  86 commentaires
35 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A tale of a complex female friendship with a shocking climax. A must read. 6 février 2013
Par K. Corn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I didn't intend to read this one through in a single sitting but I couldn't help it. I was quickly engrossed by the author's description of Rebecca and her early and lasting connection to Alexandra: "We found each other like two animals recognizing a similar species."

It would be enough if this was a well- written tale of the often tumultuous bond between these two women through the years. But it is so much more. it is also a rich portrait of the 60s and an unflinching view of women's choices in those years..

The portrayals of Rebecca and Alexandra are vivid and richly layered - yes, friends but sometimes antagonists, almost two halves of a puzzle. They may seem to resemble each,other but they are far from identical. Yet even when they are separated Rebecca feels compelled to write letters to Alexandra. She doesn't send them but they still serve a purpose, allowing Rebecca to imagine her friend beside her, listening.

There are some striking differences between the two women. Rebecca is envious of Alexandra's more privileged life and embarrassed by her own relative poverty. For her part, Alexandra is impatient with Rebecca, pushing her to be more direct and less obtuse. Alexandra also struck me as more skilled in ferreting out Rebecca's secrets

What ultimately hooked me, pulled me into Autobiography of Us, was more than the women's complicated relationship, although it was wonderfully depicted. It was also the vivid and detailed examination of how female dreams and aspirations were affected by some hard realities in the 60s -as reflected in Rebecca and Alexandra's lives. I remember those years, making the book especially resonant for me.

Their sense of confusion and frustration is expressed so poignantly when Alexandra and Rebecca ask one another how their mothers managed- how on earth they coped and survived in their marriages and domestic life. The culture was changing but that left a betwixt and between time and it was challenging. Author Aria Beth Sloss captures this time very well.

Alexandra and Rebecca kept some major secrets from the other through the years and their communication had dry spells. And then there is a shocker of an ending, one I didn't see coming. If you're looking for the type of book that engulfs you, gives historical perspective, and then leaves you reeling, I urge you to put this on your " must read" list.
30 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Anyone we love..effects our lives so deeply..we hardly know what they mean until they are gone." 5 février 2013
Par Amelia Gremelspacher - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Rebecca lost her best friend Alex twice. But I am not sure she ever had her as the best friend Rebecca believed to exist. It takes Rebecca a life of growth to understand what she learns of friendship. . Coming of age stories in the era of the 50's and 60's are not scarce on the ground. However this novel holds a resonance for me. Rebecca, the barely middle class lover of books, and Alex, the wealthy seeker of fame, are not a likely friendship. At surface level, it would seem that Alex plays the well known lesser girl foil to the pretty girl. The interplay of their interior lives is thoughtfully drawn and escapes the temptation of cliche.

The captivating part of the book is that our narrator, Rebecca, reveals what she doesn't know. She has a singular meaning as a touchstone to Alex. This makes the events of their relationship a poignant tale. Our narrator is also well aware of their cultural differences, her mother makes sure of that. However at a more profound level, Rebecca is able to point us to deeper waters. The deeply engrained efforts of Rebecca 's mother toward respectability draws a dimension to our narrator's perception.

The writing immediately draws the reader into the story. The settings draw catches of memory for those of us who are a certain age; but describe this world well to those naive to those times. Vignettes of the people around them are beautifully detailed. I enjoyed this heralded book, and I think This book is a well earned Amazon Best Pick.
26 internautes sur 33 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A Novel with Great Potential that Fell Short 22 février 2013
Par Lenushka_13 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book is marketed as a novel about friends, and while a somewhat miss-matched friendship provides an umbrella context for the plot, it's not really about friendship. This is a novel about mothers and their children, or more specifically, mothers and their daughters. However, Aria Beth Sloss doesn't really seem to know that. In fact, Aria Beth Sloss doesn't seem to really know what she's writing about at all.

Because is Autobiography of Us really about friendship or motherhood at all? Or is this a novel about the turbulent sixties and seventies? Is it a novel about the plight of women during that era? Is it a metaphor for love in all its unconventional forms? Or is it a novel about a would-be starlet who burned to bright, only to fall back to earth in disgrace? The answer is...sort of. This short novel - not even 300 pages - is packed with all sorts of lurid details: a drunken one-night stand, an illicit abortion, a childhood friend lost to war, a closet homosexual. But it unfolds like a greatest hits album. The highlights are all here, but without any overarching significance or emotional resonance. It's like Sloss decided to write about the sixties and complied a list of everything she knew about the time period, but forgot to focus on one idea or another.

She even seems to have forgotten character development. None of the characters are particularly well drawn and they lack motivation. Rebecca dreams of becoming a doctor, but when she's not recommended to medical school, drifts through life until she gets married. Alex's dreams of becoming an actress are similarly dashed, but we're never exactly told why. She just doesn't become an actress, who cares why. At the end of the day, Alex only exists to remind Rebecca of her failings, to underscore to readers that Rebecca's the one we're supposed to be cheering for. Not that Sloss gives us much of a reason to cheer. And never mind any of the other secondary characters. They're all basically forgettable cardboard stereotypes anyway.

Maybe I could forgive some of these issues if I could find an emotional core to this book. Don't get me wrong - in crafting this novel as a narrative told by a mother to her daughter, Sloss has set up a strong emotional backbone to the book. But it simply doesn't deliver. Even when Rebecca discovers a long-kept secret that binds her ever closer to her mother, the implications are left unexplored. The characters make much of their choices, and the choices that are thrust upon them, but they never really consider the implications of those choices. Revelations thus had little consequence, because characters never really try to discern what those revelations mean.

With the setting and buried nuggets of possible insight, there is so much potential in these pages, but readers never see it. The prose is passable, if bland, and I wasn't surprised to see that Sloss was a product of a creative writing MFA factory. After all, this is literary fiction at its most rudimentary. There is nothing exceptionally interesting or compelling about this novel, ultimately because there's really no emotional center to guide it.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Beautiful debut 9 février 2013
Par Pink Amy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Rebecca and Alexandra (Alex) are unlikely friends. Rebecca is a quiet,bright, goal oriented teenager when they meet, Alex loud, flamboyant and sarcastic.
I had trouble buying into this best friendship, narrated by Rebecca, who seems to envy the over-the-top new girl. Alex never impressed me as a nice girl or a nice woman as she ages. She's pushy and dominates the relationship, and treats Rebecca with not-so-veiled sarcasm.
While I had trouble rooting for the friendship, I loved Rebecca's way with words in her narration. I enjoyed the backdrop beginning on the late 50s and continuing through decades. The fact that I didn't buy into the friendship didn't effect how much I enjoyed this debut novel. I will look forward to her next book.
8 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Autobiography of unrequited Lust 1 mars 2013
Par cyntelligence - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I am quite ambivalent about this novel. It got soaring reviews. It takes place in a time frame I enjoy reading about. It takes place in parts of the country I enjoy reading about. The writing at times is absolutely exquisite in it's descriptions of places or feelings. But somehow, I just never bought into the characters. They were not developed well enough, and although I understand that in that in that era it was not easy for a woman to follow a career, I still think it was quite possible for a summa grad of UCLA in 1965 to apply to med school, if it was her passion, and even if her parents did not support it. The same goes, and even more so, for a beautiful, vivacious, talented actress/singer. The two main characters, Rebecca and Alex were whiny and fatalistic to me-they barely tried. It is a quick read, and again the writing beautiful, but the substance is not really there.
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