Customer Reviews for

Amaryllis in Blueberry

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Amazing story of Love, Time and Intentions

    What really caught my eye as a reader was the cover. Now I can say that I tore apart The Poisonwood Bible for an English class and picked apart all the symbolism, but what AIB brought to me was an entire different distinctive read. I was not looking for insight into the African culture I was interested in the family perspective of overcoming obstacles and making it past the skeletons in the closet that had been hiding.
    As the character's stories changed and interweaves from past and present sense in the novel I was enthralled by all of the inner dialog going on. I had a quiet weekend to sit down as really absorb into this book and I came out loving it.
    The description of place was beautifully written as the book took us through Michigan and parts of West Africa. I could feel the environments in the written as well as the building suspense in the storyline.
    The characters and their emotions, shortcomings, and intent was thick enough to cut with a fork and the inner weaving story through all of the book was breathtaking to read and assimilate.
    Over all AIB was a great read. I had to read parts over a few times to catch points that I had missed, but the book presented a fresh new read and a very interesting perspective on people, and I had a great time experiencing all of these amazingly written characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Review: Embarking on tragedy, Amaryllis in Blueberry is a deep,

    Review: Embarking on tragedy, Amaryllis in Blueberry is a deep, probing novel surrounding the implications and consequences of neglect, unfaithfulness, and ignorance upon a middle-class suburban family whose fate is redirected as a result of thoughtless actions and their reckless outcomes. As a whole, I feel this book tries too hard to have as profound an effect as The Poisonwood Bible did, with a reference right inside the jacket flap. Now, I've read The Poisonwood Bible and it's one of my favorites; I know Amaryllis in Blueberry is not exactly the same—the themes, morals, and overall effect are all different—but the premise itself is one that cannot be created without being compared: a mother, father, and four daughters are plucked out of Betty Crocker America and plopped into the wilderness that is Africa, and their lives are changed forever.

    Here's a line that sums up the Slepys: 
    "[They] are all islands unto themselves, and while each island may have clean water and electricity and toilets that flush, being isolated on an island is lonely indeed."
    Each of the characters, while extensively explored and unrooted, are at their foundation, very shallow. I didn't particularly like or dislike any of them.

    Dick Slepy, head of household, is extremely ordinary and particularly foolish for constantly urging the impossible:
    "[He] thinks he can will himself a Dane and will his wife affectionate and will his children respectful, [and also] thinks demanding a perfect family, while snapping a photo of what looks like one, is the equivalent of having one."

    Seena, on the other hand, is complex and ephemeral, like the angel of death herself, but she's equally out of touch with reality, and so even though Meldrum does fabulously at portraying her mother's perspective, I didn't know whether to have compassion or resentment for her. Seena's actions are the pivot point of the entire novel, and their repercussions will take away breaths, taint souls, smother goodness, stain lives, and stalk her forever; this in and of itself was fascinating to read, fascinating discover how small acts of selfishness and of passion could unravel and destroy what's left of everything.

    Stylistically Amaryllis in Blueberry is profuse in description, but still frustratingly vague. While I liked the richness, I found Meldrum's prose too redundant and syrupy at times.

    However, in terms of message and delivery, I was awed by the convoluted, conscious way in which the painful truths of the human heart are presented in the backdrop of Africa. The last few chapters will especially consume—and not to mention, confuse—you, so even thought it starts off sluggishly, I definitely recommend reading it until the very end.

    Pros: Fantastic biblical allusions and references to Greek mythology // Gorgeous prose // Vivid, memorable, and well-expressed characters // Poignant, tender message about humanity and society

    Cons: Flowery language that isn't as penetrating as it would like to be; I had to reread some sentences several times to get their meanings // Far-fetched attempt at imitating The Poisonwood Bible

    Love: "... Envy is not green. And rage isn't red hot, and the blues have nothing to do with blue. Envy is more dust-colored, a transparent sort of gray. It quivers, like heat rising. Rage itself is not any shade of red—it's not any color at all. It's a smell, a fried-up fish. Melancholy? The blues? Melancholy's more of a shimmer than any color. And it creeps: blues on the move."

    Verdict: Christina Meldrum skillfully examines the exquisite human psyche by bringing to light the importance—and devastation—of deception, hidden meaning, falsified untruths, and verified dismissals; this is what makes Amaryllis in Blueberry thought-provoking, strangely beautiful, and absolutely stirring. While some of the prose was a bit too lavish, and the idea of an ordinary American family meeting its ruin upon being caught up in Africa, unoriginal (Barbara Kingsolver ripoff, hello), in its essence, this book is a rare and startling glimpse at a tragedy turned extraordinary, brimming with perceptive truth and soul.

    Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read; highly recommended.

    Source: Complimentary copy provided by LibraryThing Member Reviews in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).

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  • Posted February 8, 2011


    AMARYLLIS IN BLUEBERRY by Christina Meldrum is a contemporary historical fiction set in 1970's Michigan and Africa.It is written in a series of flashbacks from the past to the present. It intertwines past history/story with present. It has adultery,forgiveness,redemption,love,family saga,murder,meditation of faith,loyalty,love,acceptance,Africa,missionaries,fate,buried secrets,sacrifice,slavery,culture difference,exploration of faith,synesthete(visions of artificial light around someone or something)and truth. This is the story of a husband's(Dick) obsession of his wife,Seena,a wife(Seena) who has committed adultery years before,is accused of her husband's murder and four daughters with four secrets.The youngest daughter,Amaryllis,is the child in question,she was born in an Blueberry patch.This is a compelling story of love and a family being forced from their home in Michigan to take up roots as a missionary in Africa,their trials,tributations and culture shock.If you enjoy a complex story with many facets this is a story for you. This book was received for the purpose of review from Gallery Books and details can be found .0at Gallery Books,a division of Simon & Schuster,Inc. and My Book Addiction and More.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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