Customer Reviews for

If You Lived Here

Average Rating 3.5
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Dana Sachs' 'If You Lived Here'

I was drawn to Dana Sachs¿ novel ¿If You Lived Here¿ because one of its settings is Wilmington, North Carolina, where my son lives. But the moment I picked up this wonderful book and started to read, I felt myself drawn into a world much more complex than any locale. T...
I was drawn to Dana Sachs¿ novel ¿If You Lived Here¿ because one of its settings is Wilmington, North Carolina, where my son lives. But the moment I picked up this wonderful book and started to read, I felt myself drawn into a world much more complex than any locale. The two main characters, Shelley Marino, a mortician¿s wife who desperately longs for a child, and Mai, a Vietnamese entrepreneur who owns an Asian grocery in Wilmington and who fled Vietnam and carried a desperate secret with her, have become as real to me as my own family. Both women and the other characters who people this novel walk off the pages and stand before me in flesh and blood. And the story Ms. Sachs tells exposes their hearts in a way that very few books ever have for me. And I am an avid reader who, at the age of 60, has a hard time finding anything new under the sun! Today, it takes a very rare and exceptional book to move me. Ms. Sachs is a wordsmith beyond compare. Not only did I love the path she carved for me, but I found myself savoring the way she used words to exactly tap and reveal her character¿s souls. Shelley and Mai are two very strong women who, despite different cultures, forge a wonderful friendship which carries them both on a journey to Vietnam and on a journey of healing and discovery. I simply opened my own heart to them and, while reading their story, I felt suspended from my own life. That is how compelling this book is. I also received a special bonus while immersed in this story. I am old enough to have lived through the years of our war with Vietnam, and I had a front row seat to its horrors on television newscasts. My myopic view of Vietnam hasn¿t changed since I was a teenager. In fact, I had put ¿Vietnam¿ aside as a memory and as a country which no longer plagues us. Ms. Sachs, with her beautiful words and her heart¿s investment in her story, has changed my vision! Her story is so well told and so consuming that she has managed to draw me in another direction entirely. I plumbed the depths of two women¿s lives. I struggled with Shelley¿s husband Martin until he finally opened up and told his story. And when Shelley and Mai and Martin and other characters forgave each other and themselves, I wept and forgave too. But while doing so, I awoke to the story of Vietnam. The flickering black-and-white images of destruction and human pathos from my teen years have permanently been replaced. I have now discovered, through Ms. Sachs¿ eyes, a Vietnamese people with beautiful souls and a Vietnam of greens and reds and yellows and blues as palpable as the country right outside my own front door. What a gift! What a release! Tonight I will settle down into my pillows and start reading Ms. Sachs¿ memoir of her time in Vietnam, ¿The House on Dream Street!¿ I am now hungry to hear more!

posted by Anonymous on April 6, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Enjoyed it

I enjoyed reading this book. I empathasized with the main character because I adopted my son internationally. It was also interesting to follow along with Mai and her journey back to her homeland. I loved the connection they established.

posted by 7423633 on October 18, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2008

    Dana Sachs' 'If You Lived Here'

    I was drawn to Dana Sachs¿ novel ¿If You Lived Here¿ because one of its settings is Wilmington, North Carolina, where my son lives. But the moment I picked up this wonderful book and started to read, I felt myself drawn into a world much more complex than any locale. The two main characters, Shelley Marino, a mortician¿s wife who desperately longs for a child, and Mai, a Vietnamese entrepreneur who owns an Asian grocery in Wilmington and who fled Vietnam and carried a desperate secret with her, have become as real to me as my own family. Both women and the other characters who people this novel walk off the pages and stand before me in flesh and blood. And the story Ms. Sachs tells exposes their hearts in a way that very few books ever have for me. And I am an avid reader who, at the age of 60, has a hard time finding anything new under the sun! Today, it takes a very rare and exceptional book to move me. Ms. Sachs is a wordsmith beyond compare. Not only did I love the path she carved for me, but I found myself savoring the way she used words to exactly tap and reveal her character¿s souls. Shelley and Mai are two very strong women who, despite different cultures, forge a wonderful friendship which carries them both on a journey to Vietnam and on a journey of healing and discovery. I simply opened my own heart to them and, while reading their story, I felt suspended from my own life. That is how compelling this book is. I also received a special bonus while immersed in this story. I am old enough to have lived through the years of our war with Vietnam, and I had a front row seat to its horrors on television newscasts. My myopic view of Vietnam hasn¿t changed since I was a teenager. In fact, I had put ¿Vietnam¿ aside as a memory and as a country which no longer plagues us. Ms. Sachs, with her beautiful words and her heart¿s investment in her story, has changed my vision! Her story is so well told and so consuming that she has managed to draw me in another direction entirely. I plumbed the depths of two women¿s lives. I struggled with Shelley¿s husband Martin until he finally opened up and told his story. And when Shelley and Mai and Martin and other characters forgave each other and themselves, I wept and forgave too. But while doing so, I awoke to the story of Vietnam. The flickering black-and-white images of destruction and human pathos from my teen years have permanently been replaced. I have now discovered, through Ms. Sachs¿ eyes, a Vietnamese people with beautiful souls and a Vietnam of greens and reds and yellows and blues as palpable as the country right outside my own front door. What a gift! What a release! Tonight I will settle down into my pillows and start reading Ms. Sachs¿ memoir of her time in Vietnam, ¿The House on Dream Street!¿ I am now hungry to hear more!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2011

    excellent book, especially for those interested in adoption

    I originally picked this book for the location as my daughter lives near Wilmington and I am very famaliar with the city. I was also interested since we have an adopted son.
    The main thing I liked is the characters " rang true ". Both women were strong and independent, but at the same time knew the importance of the marriage relationship. There was no belittleing of Martin or his concerns, but an understanding of why he felt the way he did.
    A very good book. Thanks for your insight into the beautiful country of Vietnam and the kindness of the people there.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    Delightful

    The first third of this novel takes place in North Carolina and is a pleasure to read. It introduces some interesting people, starts engaging plots, and is occasionally quite funny. The rest of the novel takes place in Vietnam and is simply and absolutely wonderful. Partly, I got more invested in the characters and the delightful turns of their intertwined stories. But equally important are the off-hand descriptions of Vietnamese culture that make everything so vivid. I actually hoped for traffic on my bus-ride home so I could read a little more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    4.5 stars worthy

    Two sides of a story woven together beautifully.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Excellent

    So happy with this book it was a lovely story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I so loved this book.  I could barely put it down to go to slee


    I so loved this book.  I could barely put it down to go to sleep, or fix dinner, or really do anything.  
    It is a slow sweet book about love and friendship, second chances and forgiveness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 18, 2011

    Enjoyed it

    I enjoyed reading this book. I empathasized with the main character because I adopted my son internationally. It was also interesting to follow along with Mai and her journey back to her homeland. I loved the connection they established.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2011

    Best book in a long time!

    I purchased this as a bargain book and now it is being passed to all my friends. It is well written and captures your heart from start to end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2007

    A Moving, Beautiful Story

    I simply adored this novel. An interesting, different story, with believable, realistic characters. I was moved to tears in certain parts, and become totally emeshed in the tale. A fresh, new author, I can't wait for her to write another novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2007

    A wonderful book!

    This book was good reading from beginning to end. I didn't want it to end ---- but it couldn't have ended better then it did - it was perfect! I look forward to reading more books by this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    This was a great read. Grabbed you from the beginning. Author has a wonderful easy to read style and I look forward to more books from her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    To milab

    Ash here

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Well written

    I did not like this book. The only reason I can give is I do not care for this type of book. There is is nothing wrong with it other then that.

    AD

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Good storytelling

    In Wilmington, North Carolina, Shelley and Martin Marino are arguing over adopting a Vietnamese orphan. She strongly wants to while he says no as he has two adult children from his first marriage and does not want to raise someone else¿s offspring especially in his middle age years though he also hides from his wife a deeper fear of how he will react as he served in the military in Nam during the conflict.-------------------- Shelley refuses to give up her dream so she turns to neighborhood Vietnamese grocery store owner Xuan Mai who fled the communist regime over two decades ago for advice. With her spousal rejection of the adoption including his refusal to accompany her to Southeast Asia, she hopes to persuade Mai to go with her. Mai wants to accompany her, as Mai has estranged family still living in Viet Nam, but hesitates over the welcome one would receive after being gone so long would receive.-------------------- This is an interesting look at American-Viet Nam relationships from the viewpoints of the three protagonists. Fretfully Martin fears the awakening of the nightmares that he buried Shelley innocently seeks completeness with the right child and hesitantly Xuan wonders if you can really go home. The story line switches perspective and turns insightful once the players reach Viet Nam. However, though Dana Sachs¿ shows her love for the nation, everything and everyone ties up too neat. This subtracts from the merging of the disturbing storms of the three ¿outsiders¿ with locals into an emotional tsunami.------------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 8, 2010

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    Posted September 14, 2011

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    Posted February 24, 2011

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    Posted March 2, 2011

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    Posted May 21, 2010

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    Posted May 1, 2010

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