Customer Reviews for

Blame

Average Rating 3.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Quiet & fascinating novel

This book is not a murder mystery or fast-paced. It is the story of a woman who kills two Jehovah Witnesses because she is driving drunk. The book is about her life since that occurred and how she deals with guilt and the choices she makes. This is a totally character-d...
This book is not a murder mystery or fast-paced. It is the story of a woman who kills two Jehovah Witnesses because she is driving drunk. The book is about her life since that occurred and how she deals with guilt and the choices she makes. This is a totally character-driven story so if you don't like the characters, specifically Patsy, the main character, then you will not like the book or care about her choices. Critics keep mentioning the "twist" in the novel and they should stop because that pretty much gives it away. Plus, it's not all that dramatic. I suspected it almost from the beginning. The choices she made after the "twist" she may have made anyway. This is a very low-key novel, very well-written, interesting. The author made an unusual choice in not using quotation marks for dialogue. I often found that somewhat annoying and confusing because I wasn't sure if someone had said something aloud or if it was a mental comment. However, it did work with book to underscore its muted tone. Patsy is a woman who gave up some of her vivacity and personality when she gave up alcohol. Or is it because she is dealing with her guilt that she feels the need to be tamped down? Good discussion book.

posted by KrisPA on January 30, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing and Predictable

What a boring snooze, after the first two parts. It was so predictable and all the characters were so one note. They are all beautiful and have endless supplies of money and privilege. Why couldn't Patsy have been relegated to a life of linoleum and public transportatio...
What a boring snooze, after the first two parts. It was so predictable and all the characters were so one note. They are all beautiful and have endless supplies of money and privilege. Why couldn't Patsy have been relegated to a life of linoleum and public transportation? Why didn't anything really happen? I'm supposed to feel bad for her because she resists an affair when she's married? And then we see that the man, her soulmate! has continued to carry a torch for her, after all these years. All the years she "suffered" with her older, wealthy (amazing good looking and virile) husband, expensive horses, organic garden and huge ranch dubbed the "Ponderosa". But inside she's felt blamed. Horrors! She was a drunk who thought she ran down and killed two people! She couldn't even remember! And aside from a few chapters about a short stint in prison (she gets blisters!), she suffers and struggles -- not at all. Upon her release there's a picturesque apartment, a colorful assortment of educated, wealthy friends, very cheap therapy and a seemingly well-paying job waiting for her. Oh, and I can't forget her thick, long, blonde hair which seems to stay with her even as she hits 50. She does lop it off in a soapy, sappy scene seemingly staged for a screenplay -- Charlize Theron maybe? I'm sure the hack job managed to look elegant, somehow. Couldn't she have any tribulations? A mole? A nasty prison scar? It's set in the 80s, so there are even the over-the-top gay characters, one of whom dies graciously of AIDS. I was stoked to read this book. It got so many good reviews. There were little bits that were brilliant, like a letter an old friend writes to Patsy when she's making her amends. These little sparks kept me going until the end, but it was really an intellectual's fairy tale. Ooh, look at the PhD with the DUI -- she didn't get to reproduce. Waaa, waaa. She'll have to settle for her land (enough to accommodate 2 horses and a barn) in Southern California and a successful career. The children were written by someone who does not have or know any. They were either amazingly wise and beautiful. (The clue is their "curls") or spoiled brats throwing tantrums that are indulged by the caricatured parents of today. This was trying to be Ian McEwan and falling way short. Read him instead. Atonement and On Chesil Beach are honestly touching and romantic and heartbreaking. Wow. I didn't realize how MUCH I didn't like this book until I decided to write this review.

posted by Corfiela on December 31, 2009

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing and Predictable

    What a boring snooze, after the first two parts. It was so predictable and all the characters were so one note. They are all beautiful and have endless supplies of money and privilege. Why couldn't Patsy have been relegated to a life of linoleum and public transportation? Why didn't anything really happen? I'm supposed to feel bad for her because she resists an affair when she's married? And then we see that the man, her soulmate! has continued to carry a torch for her, after all these years. All the years she "suffered" with her older, wealthy (amazing good looking and virile) husband, expensive horses, organic garden and huge ranch dubbed the "Ponderosa". But inside she's felt blamed. Horrors! She was a drunk who thought she ran down and killed two people! She couldn't even remember! And aside from a few chapters about a short stint in prison (she gets blisters!), she suffers and struggles -- not at all. Upon her release there's a picturesque apartment, a colorful assortment of educated, wealthy friends, very cheap therapy and a seemingly well-paying job waiting for her. Oh, and I can't forget her thick, long, blonde hair which seems to stay with her even as she hits 50. She does lop it off in a soapy, sappy scene seemingly staged for a screenplay -- Charlize Theron maybe? I'm sure the hack job managed to look elegant, somehow. Couldn't she have any tribulations? A mole? A nasty prison scar? It's set in the 80s, so there are even the over-the-top gay characters, one of whom dies graciously of AIDS. I was stoked to read this book. It got so many good reviews. There were little bits that were brilliant, like a letter an old friend writes to Patsy when she's making her amends. These little sparks kept me going until the end, but it was really an intellectual's fairy tale. Ooh, look at the PhD with the DUI -- she didn't get to reproduce. Waaa, waaa. She'll have to settle for her land (enough to accommodate 2 horses and a barn) in Southern California and a successful career. The children were written by someone who does not have or know any. They were either amazingly wise and beautiful. (The clue is their "curls") or spoiled brats throwing tantrums that are indulged by the caricatured parents of today. This was trying to be Ian McEwan and falling way short. Read him instead. Atonement and On Chesil Beach are honestly touching and romantic and heartbreaking. Wow. I didn't realize how MUCH I didn't like this book until I decided to write this review.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Quiet & fascinating novel

    This book is not a murder mystery or fast-paced. It is the story of a woman who kills two Jehovah Witnesses because she is driving drunk. The book is about her life since that occurred and how she deals with guilt and the choices she makes. This is a totally character-driven story so if you don't like the characters, specifically Patsy, the main character, then you will not like the book or care about her choices. Critics keep mentioning the "twist" in the novel and they should stop because that pretty much gives it away. Plus, it's not all that dramatic. I suspected it almost from the beginning. The choices she made after the "twist" she may have made anyway. This is a very low-key novel, very well-written, interesting. The author made an unusual choice in not using quotation marks for dialogue. I often found that somewhat annoying and confusing because I wasn't sure if someone had said something aloud or if it was a mental comment. However, it did work with book to underscore its muted tone. Patsy is a woman who gave up some of her vivacity and personality when she gave up alcohol. Or is it because she is dealing with her guilt that she feels the need to be tamped down? Good discussion book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    I am surprised by the people who thought this book was boring, b

    I am surprised by the people who thought this book was boring, but would suggest that one gets out of a book what one brings to the experience. I thought the book was well written, but also echo the sentiments of the reviewer who was annoyed by the lack of punctuation to indicate dialogue.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2010

    A good read

    I thought this was a great story. Patsy shows us how to live life on life's terms ~ something some folks (like me!) need to be reminded of every day.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    Just Okay

    I enjoy reading memoirs, and thought this would be a good life story although fiction. Overall a good read, but I felt that with this type of story line the remorse was never really explored and the important factor in this woman's life after prison - recovery in AA wasn't quite developed either.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2012

    Story was more of an "overview" than an in-depth chara

    Story was more of an "overview" than an in-depth character-driven story. Not much detail placed on Patsy's rise and fall and rise again. More character development and detail would have aided this story. I felt absolutely nothing during Patsy's trying times whereas if more depth were added, I could have felt like I was "inside" the story instead of floating on top of it. Wished this would have gone deeper.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2012

    I was definitely bored by this book. It was slow and and unevent

    I was definitely bored by this book. It was slow and and uneventful. I found the main character unlikable and a disappointent.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Blackouts and Guilt

    When Patsy has an accident that kills two Jehovah Witnesses who are solicting her home she does not remember a thing. Even though she is a professor at a nearby college, for years she has spent her free time bingeing on alcohol and pills. How the rest of her life is navigated by her tremendous guilt and the choices she makes because of it is the jist of this novel. There is a twist at the end, but what I loved most about this book was the characters and how each of their lives were impacted by this event. I have recommended this book to so many people and I think it is a wonderful book for book clubs. Interesting how the choices we make reverberate through our whole lives.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    very well written

    I loved this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Tyrellshadow

    Hiya Thunderheart...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Windstar

    Waits

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    intelligent look into addiction and denial

    This novel spoke in terms and phrases of someone who understands the disease of drug and alcohol abuse. The characters are well developed, complicated and real. It is a story of healing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Recommend for book club

    This book was an easy read. It would be a good book for book club discussion groups. It has several different topics written about in the story line and it is to begin cheerleading for several of the characters in the book. Enjoyable.

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  • Posted September 20, 2012

    Slow and Unlikeable

    I really wanted to like this book more but for some reason it just did not connect with me. None of the characters generated much sympathy including the husband and father of the people killed. Patsy seemed to suffer very little for the what happened. The whole Gilles sub-plot seemed unnecessary and superfulous

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Worthy read...

    The book kept me rooting for the heroine after her huge, tragic mistake and subsequent search for redemption, but was a letdown in it's finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Good read !

    I think there is a lot to be learned from this book, mainly about consequences and learning to live with them.

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  • Posted December 14, 2009

    Excellent.

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was captivating and poignant.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    The writing is beautiful

    I started to dog-ear pages and underline passages, but soon found almost every page had an associative pleasure, compelling a pause, re-read, and reflection. I've read reviews that said things like "beautiful, spare prose", but none of those books measured up to the expectation like this one. An added bonus - If you want to know the tempo and environmental feel of living in Southern California, this book takes you there. I am buying all her other books today.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A COMPELLING CHARACTER STUDY

    With untold numbers of commercials and promos to her credit Hillary Huber is well known, sought after and respected in the voice role community. Luckily for listeners she turned her attention to audiobooks several years ago (Skinny Bastard, The Art Of Social War, and The Cheater). Not only is Huber blessed with a remarkable voice but she well knows how to use it, reflecting a state of mind.

    When Patsy, the central character in Michelle Huneven's Blame, is asked by her psychiatrist why she comes to see him, her answer is "Guilt. How to live with guilt." The way those five words are delivered by Huber tells volumes about both the story and Patsy, striking a nerve for many of us. With Huber at the mike words are no longer just words but feelings, emotions.

    There is a great deal of both in this honest, insightful story. History professor Patsy MacLemoore is for all accounts a success - she is also a drunk who wakes up in a jail cell one morning unable to remember why or how she got there. Almost laughingly she asks, "What'd I do?" As it happens two women, Jehovah's Witnesses, were found dead, run over in Patsy's driveway.

    She is sent to prison where she attains sobriety thanks to AA. Upon her release she marries, teaches, and tries in many ways to atone. Yet always, ever, it is as she told her psychiatrist years before - the guilt.

    Decades later the unthinkable happens and her life is again turned upside down. Blame is a penetrating character study, compelling and beautifully written leaving us with much to ponder.

    - Gail Cooke

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