Customer Reviews for

All Souls

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( 8 )
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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't Get Past The 1st Chapter

    I guess it's true what they say - Don't judge a book by its cover.
    I really liked he cover of this book, so obviously I gave it a go. Too bad I couldn't even get past the first chapter. I found it too confusing and too many characters with few detail were mentioned before the second chapter.
    I couldn't grasp the concept of the book, though I liked what I could understand of the plot. I'm not one to simply give up reading a book, but as much as I tried I couldn't get into the story.
    A real dissapointment.

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    All Souls

    This book was AWESOME!! I loved it!!! This book kept me reading and wanting more. I thought this book was good because in a way I could relate to Astra. I mean not the part about being sick but the part about not being able to dance. This book really made me stop and think about all the things that I can do and not all the things I can't do. I can dance in my entire dance in all my dance shows, unlike Astra who can't dance because she has that really bad disease there for causing her not to dance. My feelings about this book were very sad. They were sad because I felt like I could have done something to help her and to be her friend because she didn't have any friends. So I felt like she needed a friend. Those are my thoughts and feeling about this book. I would recommend this book to teenage girls, especially girls who take dance classes and love the sport of dance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    this was a dud to me

    I tried, I really tried - I began twice, in fact, and found the book to be superficial, with shallow character development. From now on I will not read reviews, I will see if I can read the first few pages before I waste my money.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    An insightful read

    All Souls is an amazing character development of a group of girls in a private school who are touched by the seemingly terminal illness of one of their friends. The interplay between the friends and themselves, the sick girl, and their parents, mirrors many of the issues that face families and students today, even though the novel is set many years before.
    All kinds of jealousies occur. An overwhelming desire of several senior girls to get into Brown makes the college plans of others in the class seem less worthwhile until the end of the book. Those who considered themselves "the best friend," of the sick young girl are nonplussed by the fact that the outcast of the group is the only one who actually visits her regularly. Two teachers, who can never seem to address their actual feelings, find catharsis in their visits to the hospital. And, one friend actually addresses the true fate looming, even though she does so in blunt and untactful words.
    For the reasons outlined above, and the dysfunctional family situations portrayed, the characters of this novel amuse, entertain, sadden, and challenge the reader. But, the real value of the book is the fact that the reader has to stop cold several times and ask, "have I acted like that?", "do I feel like that?", "has my life been like that?"
    There are so many mirrors placed before the reader that this book continues to bring pause long after the last page is read.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    There aren't any descriptions of tranquil happy school years, those 'good old golden rule days' are prehistoric in Christine Schutt's spot on story of the students, parents, and teachers at Manhattan's Siddons School for Girls. A New York prep school teacher herself Schutt well knows of what she writes, and she does so with always delicate, sometimes sparse yet revelatory prose. Characters are displayed to a farthing in snippets of conversation or thoughts. At the center of the story is Astra Dell, a senior class girl who is suffering from a rare form of cancer. She is that 'pale girl...the dancer with all the hair, the red hair, knotted or braided or let to fall to her waist, a fever, and she consumed.' Her father is scarcely able to cope with his beloved daughter's illness. He longs for Grace, his late wife who was killed in an auto accident. Despite Astra's suffering, knowing his sorrow, it is she who tries to console him. Carlotta Forestal, known as Car, is Astra's best friend. Car has an eating problem, devoting the tense meals shared with her mother to simply pushing and mashing the food on her plate. She has a retreat - her father's apartment to which she has a key. She would go there simply to wander about and phone. It is there that she can light a cigarette and 'ash it on the table.' Mr. Forestal had an unlisted number and her mother didn't know it, so she was safe. Car thinks of Astra and writes frequent notes to her, which are added to the surfeit of good wishes, balloons and flowers that decorate her hospital room. Another who often thinks of Astra is Marlene Kovak who visits her often, and pens lengthy letters to her. These missiles are sometimes single spaced and three pages long. Marlene will sit in a corner of the school lounge, listening, taking notes, all to be relayed to Astra. A misfit among the daughters of wealth Marlene is an enigma. She attends Siddons solely because her mother, Theta, borrowed money to keep her there. Theta works in a dentist's office to maintain their modest home and make payments on her debt. Theta is as out of place among the mothers as Marlene is among the students, most of whom are economically privileged and emotionally deprived. Some other soon to graduate students are Alex and Suki, best friends, who yearn to be party girls and whose college acceptance is assured thanks to family wealth. Although in a group they often engage in sub rosa conversations. As obsessed as they are with their own futures they, too, are affected by Astra's illness, remembering that she came back to school the day after her mother's funeral and agreeing, 'She's perfect.' Add to this mix the teachers, specifically Anna Mazur who had come to New York from Michigan seeking 'sophistication and experience.' She found neither, is attracted to Tim Weeks, the most popular teacher at Siddons, and continuously confuses the names of two black girls. When asked, 'Do we all look alike, Miss Mazur?' The thought is 'The problem was the girls did look alike.' Another faculty member is Dr. Meltzer, 'a fat man who smelled like the movies.' After a mishap in class, he screams at a girl, 'Who do you think you are?' The reply is 'A Du Pont.' This is the world Schutt invites us to enter, and it is a fascinating one peopled with finely wrought characters and quite memorable. - Gail Cooke

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    Posted November 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

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