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The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters: A Novel

by Elisabeth Robinson

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1,0992114,108 (3.34)14
"Olivia Hunt's Hollywood life has come to a grinding halt. A hotshot producer accustomed to first-class amenities, Olivia has just been unceremoniously fired after her last movie tanked. Her boyfriend, Michael, has dumped her. And she's not the blonde she used to be: dark roots are coming in at an alarming rate. Her next project is a well-crafted suicide note." "Then she finds out what real trouble is. Olivia's beloved sister, Maddie, is seriously ill. Maddie is living the life Olivia ran like hell from - she's happily married to her high school sweetheart and still living in the small town where they grew up. Stunned and bewildered, Olivia catches the next plane back home." "Maddie's idealism and optimism have always driven Olivia crazy. Even now, when the odds aren't good, Maddie never doubts she'll beat them. But Olivia wonders, is hope just a way of kidding yourself? As if to answer that question, Maddie challenges Olivia to produce her dream film, the impossible-to-make Don Quixote. Olivia's life then becomes a tangle of movie sets, IV drips, and letters to Michael asking him what went wrong and if they might try again. When Maddie takes a turn for the worse, Olivia has to face the hardest choices life can offer. How can one person's heart so truly be in three places at once?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
I read this book awhile ago but remember liking it quite a bit at the time. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
This work of epistolary fiction consists of a series of letters written by Olivia Hunt, an aspiring movie producer. The letters are written to her sister, parents, best friend, work colleagues, and ex-boyfriend and deal with the two major topics in the book: her sister's cancer and Olivia's hopes of producing a movie based on the book, Don Quixote. The novel is very readable and the parallels between Don Quixote and Olivia's sister's optimism in the face of her devastating illness would make for a good book club discussion. ( )
  JGoto | Jan 23, 2019 |
Unusual point of view as this whole book is made up of letter written by Olivia to various people in her life. She is a busy new movie director that takes her across the country and in different time zones. (Thus the need for letters). Her sister has just been diagnosed with leukemia and Olivia tries to be with her as much as possible during chemo. She also writes a lot to her boyfriend, with whom her relationship has changed and tires to figure out what is right for her. Very slow moving initially, (maybe due to the movie jargon) Olivia changes throughout the book and becomes less self centered. The author describes smells, sounds, tasters very well and I was drawn into the room with her.
  camplakejewel | Sep 25, 2017 |
I see mixed reviews and predominately average ratings for this one but I have to say, I loved this book. It really hit home for me. Robinson has taken her own real-life experiences - she worked in the film business for 10 years and watched as her optimistic sister died of leukemia - and has written a heartfelt story that was probably a therapeutic release for the author. Robinson succeeds where other authors might fail with the epistolary style: The story is told strictly through Olivia's correspondence. Even using this "one person" perspective, Robinson is able to bring the other characters to life. The reader experiences the near manic highs and gut-wrenching lows as Maddie's disease runs its course. Robinson also portrays how life cannot be placed on hold when a family member becomes ill. One just logs a lot more Air Miles, get a lot less sleep and try to continue to face work as "business as usual". For Olivia, business as usual is the highly demanding life of a film producer. Robinson takes her film business experience and writes a cracking good satire about Hollywood. When I wasn't crying for Maddie, I was laughing at the scathing missives as Olivia does everything she can to get her project - the latest adaptation of Don Quixote - to screen. To fully appreciate this story, and not just the Hollywood satire aspect, it would help the reader to have a good understanding of the subtle nuances and underlying themes of Don Quixote, and not just the fact that some supposed madman raced at windmills.

Lev Grossman says it best:"Tough, tender and tearful, The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters helps us make sense of it all." ( )
  lkernagh | Sep 4, 2017 |
The Hunt sisters couldn’t be more different. Olivia is a Hollywood producer, used to first-class amenities and fleeing from any relationship commitment. Maddie lives the life Olivia ran from – still living near their parents in the small town where they grew up, she is happily married to her high school sweetheart. Olivia rages against the obstacles in her path. Maddie approaches life with idealism and optimism. As the novel opens, Olivia has had one disappointment too many and she is crafting her suicide note. But then she learns that Maddie is seriously ill, and Olivia rushes to her sister’s side.

The novel is comprised of a series of letters, emails, faxes, and telegrams from Olivia to her sister, parents, brother, best friend, ex-boyfriend, and a variety of people in her professional life or associated with her sister’s medical care. In this way the reader really gets to know Olivia, her thoughts, dreams, disappointments, what irritates, infuriates, and excites her.

I was pretty irritated with Olivia through much of the first half of the novel. I found her whiny, irrational, quick to place blame elsewhere, and unable to realize her own culpability in various events. But over time I began to admire her spirit, her tireless efforts to rekindle her career, to “demand” a cure for her sister, to try to set things right with her friends, parents, siblings, ex-boyfriend, colleagues, etc. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 22, 2016 |
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Epigraph
"Hope is itself a species of happiness and perhaps the chief happiness this world affords." -- Samuel Johnson
Dedication
First words
Dear sister,

My name is Olivia Hunt. I am your sister. You are inside mom. Jim is our brother. He's OK for a boy.
Quotations
Dear Maddie, A new entry under the category Huh? is Riverdance. The way they jump up and down, they look like a bunch of little kids who have to go to the bathroom.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Olivia Hunt's Hollywood life has come to a grinding halt. A hotshot producer accustomed to first-class amenities, Olivia has just been unceremoniously fired after her last movie tanked. Her boyfriend, Michael, has dumped her. And she's not the blonde she used to be: dark roots are coming in at an alarming rate. Her next project is a well-crafted suicide note." "Then she finds out what real trouble is. Olivia's beloved sister, Maddie, is seriously ill. Maddie is living the life Olivia ran like hell from - she's happily married to her high school sweetheart and still living in the small town where they grew up. Stunned and bewildered, Olivia catches the next plane back home." "Maddie's idealism and optimism have always driven Olivia crazy. Even now, when the odds aren't good, Maddie never doubts she'll beat them. But Olivia wonders, is hope just a way of kidding yourself? As if to answer that question, Maddie challenges Olivia to produce her dream film, the impossible-to-make Don Quixote. Olivia's life then becomes a tangle of movie sets, IV drips, and letters to Michael asking him what went wrong and if they might try again. When Maddie takes a turn for the worse, Olivia has to face the hardest choices life can offer. How can one person's heart so truly be in three places at once?"--BOOK JACKET.

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