Customer Reviews for

The Book of Ruth

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted April 13, 2013

    One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The story isn

    One of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

    The story isn't pretty of course, it's sad.  Ruth's life is sad; Ruth and May and Ruby all broken people, and don't know how to do it, don't know how to live with grace or ease.  Awkward, all of them, and cruelty in them all, weaknesses.

    But I love Ruth.  No, really -- I love her.  She's one of my all-time favorite heroines.  She's no comic book heroine, she's not perfect by any definition you'd ever find.  Except maybe as a storyteller, getting it all down for us, telling us about it all.  Completely unconscious of her greatness, words and phrases of simple beauty come out of her pen.

    Hamilton is brilliant.  The book she's crafted here -- her first book out of the gate, too -- it's a gem.  I think of Heller, his amazing characterizations -- how I loved Catch22!  Because he painted his characters with such intimacy, is why; yes, it's a very funny book, and a great book, but my greatest love of it is reading the characters he's created, and given to us.

    Hamilton is as good.  People in reviews I've read go on about how sad it is, it's a depressing story, it doesn't have a Hollywood ending, etc and etc.  Hey, it's Saturday evening as I key this in, get yourself to your local cineplex and watch some Hollywood garbage, a perfect smile kissing fake breasts and both of them walking off into the sunshine.

    Meanwhile, back here in the real world, there are real, live, breathing people, doing what they can, as they can.  That's what Hamilton gives us -- real people.  Ruth.  May.  Ruby.  Miss Finch, telling Ruth she had "good thoughts.".  Elmer.   The Rev .  The cruel, cruel children in her schools.  Aunt Sid.  Daisy, for chrissake.  Matt.  On and on, one after another, Hamilton takes us right there, we're with these people, she gets us right into the rooms with them, and the pastures, and the school rooms, and the old house that binds and binds

    And Hamilton gives us pure art, her turns of phrase just flat amazing, the turns of her story every bit as good.  She tells us out of Ruth's mouth, in Ruth's character, in Ruth's tongue, but in the turns of her story she puts stories into Ruth's life, the blind tapes from Miss Finch, which gives Ruth words and metaphors, and Ruth being so shy and so isolated and insular the words are simple, the story, while large, told simply.

    I'm from Illinois, a brother trades, shows, breeds Belgian draft horses, lives not far from where Hamilton put this story.  The people are real.  That town -- Honey Creek -- it's dead on the money, Hamilton nailed it.  I haven't lived in those towns -- no way I'd want to -- but I know them well, and Hamilton has those people pegged.  It rings true.

    I've given this book to people who aren't afraid to look life in the eye, who love beauty even if it's not prettiness, can understand that difference, don't need to be lied to.  It was passed my way by a woman I trust totally, a great art heart, and I've since bought it for others who don't need a burnished Vermeer or soft purple Monet, people who get Van Gogh and Braque, who aren't put off or uncomfortable standing in front of a Hans Hoffman painting.

    I don't know what else I can tell you.  Read this book.  Or don't, if you need pretty.  But if you love beautiful, this is a great place to look -- beauty lives in Hamilton's words.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2005

    Engrossing yet very depressing

    One of the best first novels I have read. But be sure to do so when your spirits are high. It is too depressing for a cold winter's read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2004

    Classic style

    The book of Ruth has a fitting title, it has a 'biblical', almost martyrlike heroine who is ever tolerant and forgiving,yet, the reader can feel that Ruth possesses more strength than even she is aware of. The writing style is poetic without being too flowery (hard to achieve)...and what I like most is: the book is realistic. Sometimes a hero or heroine, just survives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    The BEST of a long time!!!

    This book will have you going and not want to put it down. It has romance, deceit, tragedy, and everything else you can imagine. This will be one book you will finish, maybe in less than a couple of days depending on how much you liked it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2004

    A definite page turner

    i read this book within hours on vacation. i enjoyed the plot and it was well written. i highly recommend this book if you like to read a love story gone sour.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    Hauntingly, disturbingly beautiful

    Reading Ms. Hamilton's characters made you feel like you were belong with them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2003

    Finally A GOOD read!

    I have to say that this was such an incredible book and definitely something I am going to have to read again. I was so tired of picking up pointless and boring books that I really didn't expect much from this book and was absolutely amazed by it. My jaw just dropped reading parts of this book. Truely an incredible book. I wish there was a sequal. I'm interested what would've happened to Ruth, Justy and the new baby, and even Ruby. After I finished this book I had to go back and re-read the first chapter. Took awhile to get into it but was so so so worth it!! Highly recommed this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2001

    Enthralling and poignant

    I was so deeply entrenched in this novel from the first page that I immediately felt like part of the story. Ms. Hamilton's writing style is so pure and honest that the voice of Ruth was realistic and captivating. The novel is so well written that I found myself chuckling out loud at some of Ruth's romantic and idealistic notions of the people and world around her; yet I was also moved to tears by the underlying theme of perpetuating a family cycle of emotional and verbal abuse as well as learned insecurity and expectation for tragedy as the norm in one's life. Although Ruth is portrayed as a rather simple character from the first chapter, the reader is able to grasp her coming of age as brilliantly written by Ms. Hamilton. Despite Ruth's simple language and use of sentences without complexity one is amazingly able to understand the depth and personality of every character in this novel. The pacing of this book enables one to easily gain insight into Ruth as a child, adolescent and young adult without any gaps in the storytelling. The range of emotions I unexpectedly felt while reading this book surprised me with every turn of the page. Without giving away too much of the story, the events that transpire are shocking yet at the same time expected almost like a self fulfilling prophecy. This story still haunts me despite finishing it days ago; I have not yet delved into another novel because I am still feeling the need to process 'The Book of Ruth' and ponder my feelings about such a wonderful, although not uplifting book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Amazing!

    I loved Hamilton's writing style. The way she brings her characters to life with realistic details, her dry humor and her raw and bold vision of daily life makes this novel as impressive as the stories of relatives. It's as though we know that it must have happened to someone. The climax surprised me the way life sometimes does. It has been more than a year that I read it, and I am still with my mouth open in disbelief. I keep on asking myself 'how could it happen?' and then I say 'but of course...'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2001

    DO NOT USE AS BOOK COASTER

    To say that this book changed my life would be an exaggeration,but it stayed with me while i was in the midst of reading it,when i read the last word on the final page, and it is still with me,three years later.It is the kind of book that I would recommend to all of my friends, but never lend for fear that I would not get it back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2000

    Very disturbing but makes you think

    This is the first book that I started reading again from cover to cover as soon as I finished it. I was so disturbed by it I thought about it for days. I know that there are really people like this in the world. Telling the story from Ruth's uneducated point of view makes it very believable and touching. I could clearly see that Ruth has so little confidence because she's been told she's worthless all her life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2000

    My favorite

    I just loved this story. It was sad, funny, disturbing, and real. There were times when each character made me angry, made me sad, and made me happy. Just when there were glimmers of hope for the mother, something would happen to ruin everything for her. No boring parts at all. I'm looking forward to reading it again

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2000

    this book changed me

    I thought I belived people were born bad, but after I read this masterpeice I realized we get pushed over the edge. I got lost in this book. Ruth became a real person, my friend. I fell in love with the immagery that Jane Hammilton uses. Read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    HAT'S OFF TO JANE HAMILTON

    I rate this book ten stars and a thumb's up. I have never been taken so high from a book alone as I was with this one. I was left speechless when I finished reading it. The main character, who was Ruth, let me walk side by side with her throughout her most important path, her life. It takes a special someone to create such unique yet ordinary characters. So many trials she was taken to but because she had Ruby to love her and a wonderful aunt, she was able to keep afloat. I highly recommend this book. By far, this is the best book I have ever read. Thank you Jane Hamilton you are wonderful.

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted August 15, 2009

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    Posted July 20, 2010

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    Posted March 4, 2010

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