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Love and Shame and Love by Peter Orner
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Love and Shame and Love

by Peter Orner

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Showing 5 of 5
As another Goodreads reviewer put it, it's an "epic book about non-epic happenings". ( )
  olevia | Apr 5, 2013 |
Love and Shame and Love came to me through the First Editions Club at Book Passage. It's the story of a secular Jewish family in Chicago, focusing primarily on Alexander Popper but including significant parts of his parent's and grandparent's lives. The earlier generations were self-made men who one reviewer likens to the characters in Saul Bellow's novels. Alexander struggles to find his identity throughout the book which follows his life from childhood to his 30's. The book moves back in forth in time alternatingly dealing with the three generations, a stye that Booklist described as "iridescently mosaicked". I found it somewhat distracting in the beginning but got used to by the end. All by all I enjoyed the book and would say it's definitely worth a read. ( )
  RebaRelishesReading | Sep 29, 2012 |
Description:

Love and Shame and Love chronicles four generations of the Chicago-based Popper family as they struggle to come to terms with the choices they've made and the repercussions that followed.

Review:

Peter Orner is a wonderful American writer whose books, Esther Stories and The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, blew me away with the quality and realistic styling of a true storyteller; so when I got the chance to read his newest title, Love and Shame and Love, I had to jump on it. As soon as I started reading, I noticed that each section was narrated by a different character, (some in distant decades), and ranged in length between one and twelve pages; an interesting set-up, reminiscent of Faulkner's stream of consciousness in The Sound in the Fury. I liked this set-up and the way each character had their own distinct personality, even though I did get confused a couple of times and had to reread a section or two. The constant point of view and character changes only added to the illusion that the Popper family really existed, and the way that Peter Orner filled each section with descriptive poeticisms kept me inside the Poppers' world. I also appreciated the humor throughout, and how each character was linked in some way besides just being related. The illustrations added an extra layer to this already amazing novel and I was surprised to find out that Peter Orner's brother Eric Orner was the artist behind them. Overall, I enjoyed the choppy flow of this book, just like in real life, time isn't just a straight line but a series of overlapping events that make up a life and a story. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a story with characters that they'll remember for years to come, and a message that rings true for everyone.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Book Blogs) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ( )
  Allizabeth | Dec 30, 2011 |
I won this book from a GoodReads giveaway. The book centers around the Popper family, four generations of it. The book actually skips around in point of view and date. That had me a little confused when I first started reading it but I eventually became used to it. This book seems to chronicle just how unhappy each generation of this family was. The grandmother(Bernice) and mother(Miriam) are unhappy in their marriages (and eventually both stray from their marriages), the father(Phillip) is unhappy with the his wife's betrayal. But I'm not quite sure how to describe the main character, Alexander Popper. It seemed to me that he was stuck in the consequences of his family's actions.

This book at times had me confused, mainly because of it's organization and then sometimes because of the plot I guess. After I finished reading this I was still left thinking about everything that had happened in the book. I'm still a little confused about some things, but my mind has wrapped itself around most of it. I would say that this is something that I think people should read. I can definitely see this as a book that is taught in schools in years to come.

I loved that this book took place in Chicago and the Chicagoland area considering I am from Chicago and currently live in the Chicagoland area. (I love that it mentioned Schaumburg, and Woodfield Mall.) It was really nice being able to actually know the areas that they were talking about. I also loved the mention of local Chicago politics (just don't get me started on the Daleys though).

I apologize if this review isn't really helpful, it's just hard for me to accurately describe this book. All I can say is go out and read this book. ( )
  dpappas | Nov 11, 2011 |
Alexander Popper can't stop remembering. Four years old when his father tossed him into Lake Michigan, he was told, Sink or swim, kid. In his mind, he's still bobbing in that frigid water. The rest of this novel's vivid cast of characters also struggle to remain afloat: Popper's mother, stymied by an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the relentless energy of Chicago; his brother, Leo, shadow boss of the family, retreats into books; paternal grandparents, Seymour and Bernice, once high fliers, now mourn for long lost days; his father, a lawyer and would-be politician obsessed with his own success, fails to see that the family is falling apart; and his college girlfriend, the fiercely independent Kat, wrestles with impossible choices.

Covering four generations of the Popper family, Peter Orner illuminates the countless ways that love both makes us whole and completely unravels us. A comic and sorrowful tapestry of memory of connection and disconnection, Love and Shame and Love explores the universals with stunning originality and wisdom.
  SalemAthenaeum | Nov 10, 2011 |
Showing 5 of 5
"Mr. Orner has found a distinct writing style for his fiction work: short, lyrical chapters that give his work a mosaic-like feel."
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316129399, Hardcover)

Alexander Popper can't stop remembering. Four years old when his father tossed him into Lake Michigan, he was told, Sink or swim, kid. In his mind, he's still bobbing in that frigid water. The rest of this novel's vivid cast of characters also struggle to remain afloat: Popper's mother, stymied by an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the relentless energy of Chicago; his brother, Leo, shadow boss of the family, retreats into books; paternal grandparents, Seymour and Bernice, once high fliers, now mourn for long lost days; his father, a lawyer and would-be politician obsessed with his own success, fails to see that the family is falling apart; and his college girlfriend, the fiercely independent Kat, wrestles with impossible choices.

Covering four generations of the Popper family, Peter Orner illuminates the countless ways that love both makes us whole and completely unravels us. A comic and sorrowful tapestry of memory of connection and disconnection, Love and Shame and Love explores the universals with stunning originality and wisdom.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:23 -0400)

The interactions of four generations of the Popper family reveal the ways in which love, memory, and connections can make individuals whole or completely unravel them.

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