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Reviews by Generosa Rader

Finn The Wolfhound

by A.J. Dawson

This is a riveting story not just for the "Young" but for all ages. We follow Finn's life from puppy to adult, related by the author in language which tugs at your heart during Finn's many sad, painful, abused, tormented episodes, and his joyful, loving life with his beloved Master and Mistress of the Kennels. You will be mesmerized and unable to stop reading. HIghly recommended for animal lovers and for anyone who enjoys an excellent story - gripping and wondrous. I rate it 10 stars. There is a sequel "Jan" which I have not yet read.

Reviewed on 2012.05.25

Camilla: A Tale of a Violin

by Charles Inman Barnard

This biography is about Camilla Urso, the first woman to achieve world-wide fame as a violinist. Through her grit, determination, and extraordinary talents, she was the first female to study at the Conservatory of Paris - at age 7. Though very poor, her family sacrificed and toiled to pay for her expenses. Ultimately, after many hardships, she achieved spectacular fame and wealth.

Readers who have studied classical music on any instrument will identify with the unending hours of practice and discipline which Camilla undertook to maintain the excellence of her performances and the admiration of fans. The author never mentions if she married - I suspect she did not. Her violin was her life.

Reviewed on 2011.02.03

Jennie Gerhardt

by Theodore Dreiser

Dreiser's great theme in his works was the tremendous tensions that can arise among ambition, desire, and social mores. He pioneered the naturalist school and is known for portraying characters whose value lies not in their moral code, but in their persistence against all odds.

Jennie Gerhardt (published in 1911) typifies Dreiser's depiction of unaccepted aspects of life in that era, such as sexual promiscuity. He was often forced to battle against censorship regarding his novels.

Jennie is a destitute young woman who meets Senator George Brander while she works as a maid in a hotel. He becomes infatuated with her, helps her family and wishes to marry her. Grateful for his benevolence, she has an affair with him, they never marry, she becomes pregnant, and he dies unexpectedly. She gives birth to a daughter, has her mother care for the child, and moves to another city, where she finds employment as a maid for a wealthy society matron. Here she meets Lester Kane, a prosperous manufacturer's son, and they embark on a long term love affair.

The novel dwells at length on the struggles they both have regarding right and wrong, social mores, pressures of family disapproval of their life-style, dis-inheritance of Lester by his wealthy father, the love they have for each other, and Lester's ambivalence about marrying Jennie.

I thought the drama between all these forces and this couple was too drawn out, and somewhat boring. But in 1911, it reflected the prevailing moral code which one did not violate, i.e., an honorable person did not engage in lack of social and religious mores under any condition whatsoever, no matter how well-intentioned he or she may be.

Dreiser's prose is incisive, thoughtful, and moving. He portrays his characters with realism and empathy. This is a book which provokes serious questions about our basic human values, ethics, societal norms, religious beliefs, and one's happiness or absence of it, at what cost?

Reviewed on 2010.04.02

The Titan

by Theodore Dreiser

The Titan is the second book in Dreiser's Trilogy of Desire - the first book being The Financier.

I was disappointed in this book compared to The Financier which I rated 5 stars. In The Titan Frank Cowperwood continues to build his financial empire, stopping at nothing, including bribery of elected officials to further his goals. He engages in multiple love affairs, discarding women at whim, mindless of the effects his reckless behavior has on his wife and marriage. The financial schemes drone on endlessly. He survives all sorts of plots to demolish him and his riches, and starts life anew with a young wife, after discarding the old Aileen. I was bored and could barely finish this book. Still, it merits a 3 rating for Dreiser's superb writing style, but not for the plot.

Reviewed on 2009.07.02

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