Customer Reviews for

Open Me

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2007

    Mothers and Daughters from a unique perspective

    Mem 'her secret name' is the last of a dying breed of women who are called 'Wailers': professional mourners. The profession, like prostitution, is illegal in these modern times, yet exists on the fringes of respectability, earning huge incomes for its 'master' practitioners. Mem is a master--a star. And as the last of her kind, she has the responsibility of choice--to keep the profession alive, or abandon it and quit living in the shadows. Unfortunately, Mem cannot stop living in the dark places that created her. She is bound to them by something stronger--her relationship with her mother. The profession of wailing is illegal because when young girls are born into it they are trained from birth by mental abuse, exposure to death and dying, and being hidden from society. They dress in the special garb of wailers--the doole--and are taught how to cry on demand. Through these methods is fostered an acceptance of their own uniqueness and a history that goes back to pre-Christian times, but the training takes its toll on the young girl's psyche, changing it forever, breaking and scarring her soul. Mem takes to her profession as if it were in her genetic code, but she also struggles--though she learns well the lessons it takes to become a wailer, she manages to also find her own voice in the society, and this small innovation, this tiny little rebellion--doing it her way instead of the way it is taught--sows the seeds of its destruction and her stardom together. While this book is about the fictitious profession it details, it is also about something else: the bonds and the relationship forged between a mother and a daughter, and what happens to that relationship when it is abused, twisted, perverted. Mem and her mother will crash and burn, but they will also find the love that lives in spite of the training that is designed to destroy it. This is a feminine version of the story of Icarus and Daedelus--told from a wholly female point of view. Sunshine O'Donnell can write an entire page of emotion in one or two sentences. She gets under the skins of Mem, her mother, the profession they inhabit and the masks they hide behind she lays them out on the autopsy table and guts them without mercy, but manages to preserve their humanity and the beauty that hides beneath the skin. There is insight and wisdom in her unique point of view, and a poetry in the tale you will not soon forget. It draws few conclusions, but that is not detrimental to its message. Any mother and any daughter can find something in this novel to take back with them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007

    Fresh, Beautiful, Thoughtful, a Book to Keep and Read Until it Falls Apart

    I saw this book at my local Barnes and Noble store as one of the new authors, and I read about the author in Poets and Writers magazine. After reading the historical note in the beginning, I was hooked. Once I began reading, I could not put the book down. Ms. O'Donnell explores the world of professional mourners through her protagonist, Mem, and other characters. Readers can follow Mem from her early training to be a professional mourner through her rise to stardom. I laughed and cried and wanted to hold the little child. More than the story of Mem, though, was Ms. O'Donnell's ability to make me think of relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, and family. I also found myself contemplating death and what it means to different people. To the professional mourners, funerals were work, a means to make money, but for the 'unprofessionals,' funerals meant something entirely different. She explores the words used for dead people, from the words spoken at a funeral to those used by children, which seemed to be preferred to Mem. In between the chapters, which are titled with questions, Ms. O'Donnell has included poetry, prose, and documents which help readers to understand. Ms. O'Donnell's background in poetry is evident, too, in her use of imagery throughout the book. In addition to the beautiful imagery, and the interesting way I will now look at everyday items, like oscillating fans, there was a rhythm to her writing which guides the reader throughout the book. I will keep this book on one of my many bookshelves, and I will read it again and again, and I imagine that I will need a new copy down the road. I plan to donate a copy to my library, and I will purchase copies for my friends. This is a debut novel by a gifted writer, and I look forward to reading more by her. Open Me is original, fresh, eloquent, and filled with interesting characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    Not recommended.

    I could tell while reading this book that the author was a poet without even doing any research into her life. A mediocre plot and completely indifferent characters serve as a motive for frustration which is only magnified by the whimsical and often pretentious overkill of symbolism and metaphors in the writing itself. I could see how in small doses of poetry the writing would be impressive but an entire book of the exhausted efforts of the author to show her writing strengths was very strenuous to endure and to top it all off you are met with a predictable and meaningless ending.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    I am so proud of Sunshine

    I knew Sunshine personally, and I am so proud to say that I read this book a long time ago when she first wrote it. I could not put it down. The story was moving and the author is wonderfully creative. I cannot wait to purchase the published copy. It brings joy to my heart knowing that Sunshine is still writing. She was born to write. I am certain that Sunshine will continue to bring mystery and joy to everyone who reads her works. I had the pleasure to call her my sister once

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2007

    Unlike anything I've ever read before.

    This debut novel is fantastic and has elements of a great first novel: Original plot and great characters. This book is utterly and refreshingly original and causes the reader to ponder what death - and life - really mean. The book is written beautifully with poetic imagry. The book is written so well, that I felt for the main character, Mem, and wanted to comfort her and get her out of this world. I cannot wait to see what Ms. O'Donnell comes up with next!

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    Posted September 8, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 16 of 15 Customer Reviews
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