Customer Reviews for

If You Lived Here: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 38 )
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5 Star

(14)

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(6)

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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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