“I disliked this book for the same reasons others on here have mentioned--slow, dull, hard to follow. I worked hard at reading while earning a masters degree and teaching for many years. Now, I just want to enjoy books. ”Rita M wrote this review Tuesday, July 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“278 pages; Ugh! I did not like this book really at all. The book is about two friends, Toby and Deborah who meet in a park one day with their children and strike up a friendship. The book is set over a 20 year time span and chronicles their lives, raising their children, becoming teachers, and getting involved in politics. Simultaneously, another story is being told. Deborah lends a book to Toby, The Trolley Girl. She begins reading it and the Book Borrower flashes back and forth between the two stories. The Trolley Girl is a memoir about a Jewish anarchist who leads strikes on the trolley system long ago. Alice Mattison is a very good writer and the book was easy to read, but as the story progressed it just kept getting weirder and weirder. A big twist half way through the book completely changed the outcome, and was one I definitely didn't see coming. Overall, not very good- I unfortunately wouldn't recommend it. ”Erin wrote this review Saturday, March 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I liked this and the character Toby caused me to reflect on how others may perceive me. Not a favorite, but it was worth reading.”Jennifer P wrote this review Tuesday, February 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wasn't thrilled with this one, but I finished it. It seemed to jump around too much and was not what I thought it would be. Just an ok read.”Sandee63 wrote this review Tuesday, January 29, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Difficult 2 books to read:
1) Your reading 2 books: The one & the borrowed one.
2) Dialogue has no punctuation marks so it's work!”
“I didn't like this very much, particularly at first. First of all I am not much interested in women's friendships and I didn't connect in any way to any of the main characters. The book within the book about the anarchists was more interesting but it was told from the pov of the dullest character. I really wanted to see the world from Jesse's eyes.
I think that this is another one of these high concept books that manage to get published in spite of the lack of feeling or realistic characters.
At the end, after one of the main characters dies, I think it got better. Mattison could really express the feeling of grief. I do think Mattison can write however and I think if she had only been a little braver and gone a bit deeper into her characters it would have been a much better book.”
“This book jumped around a lot. I was never fully engaged in the story unless it was relating the history of the strike.”terry d wrote this review Monday, December 20, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I did not like this book at all. It was depressing and never really seemed to go anywhere. ”Nancy K wrote this review Wednesday, December 15, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Deborah Laidlaw meets Toby Ruben while at a playground with her children and lends Ruben a favorite book of her husbands the Trolley Girl. Thus begins a friendship which will last for years. Interwoven in the story are excerpts from the Trolley Girl a story of two sisters in the 1920's, one of whom was an anarchist involved in a trolley strike.
Deborah and Toby become not only friends but colleagues. Teachers who first teach child care workers high school equivalency and then work as adjunct instructors in an English department of a college. There teaching philosophies vary and therein lies much of their conflict. Deborah believes in kindness and giving people what they seem to want at the moment and Toby is idealistic and truly "wants to teach." The book leads you gently to its lesson in life between the two friends.
Not a terribly heavy book, but it was an enjoyable read. It was interesting to me because the friendship they first had seem so similar to friendships I had in the 70's. Also as a person who has worked among teachers for many years their professional rivalry, seemed true to form. The taste of a historical novel added by the Trolley girl made the book all the more interesting.
“I think this would have been better as a short story. The main character was very quirky and hilarious at moments, but the story seemed to meander pointlessly at times. I found the tie in between the main story and the book within the story to be anticlimactic. I still enjoyed it, though.”cxmelliott wrote this review Tuesday, November 9, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No