A Complicated Kindness

by Miriam Toews | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0676976131 Global Overview for this book
Registered by aliaskris29 on 5/27/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by aliaskris29 on Saturday, May 27, 2006
A Complicated Kindness, Miriam Toews's third novel, is a very funny book about going AWOL in Mennonite country. Sixteen-year-old Nomi Nickel lives with her depressingly cheerful dad Ray on the edge of East Village--not the hip one in New York City where she would prefer to be but a small, backward Mennonite town in Manitoba ruled by a pious pastor whom Nomi calls The Mouth. Several years before, Nomi's rebellious older sister, Tash, left town on the back of her rocker boyfriend's motorcycle. Not long afterwards, her mother, Trudi, also disappeared for reasons never fully disclosed. As Nomi explains at the outset, "Half of our family, the better-looking half, is missing."

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, May 28, 2006
I received this today at the Buffalo meetup during a live swap! I did a lot of plotting and stealing to get this book, and look where it is! :)
Thanks Kris!

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Touted by the CBC last year as being a book all Canadians should read, I was expecting something, ANYTHING from this book! Nomi, a teenager growing up in a Mennonite town in Winnipeg, is dealing with not only Menno life, but also with the fact that her sister and her mother no longer live with her. Her sister rode off with her biker boyfriend and her mother left for unknown reasons, both never to be seen again. So it's just Nomi and her father, and all the quirky residents of the town, including "The Mouth" who is Nomi's uncle, but also the minister at the church. Nomi describes life as a Mennonite and how there are so many rules which makes the kindness of the city complicated.
I thought that Toews did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of Nomi and making the reader believe that we really were listening to Nomi's thoughts. But one part of the book really ticked me off. I don't care what happened to the mother and the sister, they are family and I would expect them to try and keep in touch with their daughter/sister in at least some form. Even if it's through unmarked postcards, I'm sure Nomi could figure out who they were from. That part bothered me throughout the entire book, and was even confirmed at the end. It seems that this family is the type that is perfectly ok with abandoning each other and then making up excuses as to why that abandonment is ok. Maybe I'm missing the point of the book (knowing me, I probably am). But reading to me is about how I perceive it.
I also felt like the story went further backwards than it did forwards. There wasn't that much movement in the book. Just random thoughts from Nomi. And the ending wasn't enough of a revelation to justify the pace at the beginning of the book.

Heading off to KarinAlyssa next.

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, February 18, 2007
Sent today to KarinAlyssa as a RABCK.

Enjoy!!

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