Customer Reviews for

Sing Them Home

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Begins very odd but well worth the read!

Stephanie Kallos's first book Broken For You is the reason I searched for her second novel's debut early on as I felt her first book's plot and integration of characters provided a wonderful read with a redemptive ending that most women (at least) crave and desire. As ...
Stephanie Kallos's first book Broken For You is the reason I searched for her second novel's debut early on as I felt her first book's plot and integration of characters provided a wonderful read with a redemptive ending that most women (at least) crave and desire. As I began this book, I wondered if I would like her characters when she began in her Prologue and first chapter with some that were dead! I kept on reading and got hooked however, and even her use of the dead talking somehow fit more into the plot later on, given the youngest daughter Bonnie's particular early assimilation of life. Revealed in this second novel are three siblings, two sisters and a brother, who are part of a mid-Western dysfunctional family, each who end up with a redemptive ending in their own way.

I was impressed with how this author interweaved the mother's diary entries (over 17 years of time) with the present day of the characters' lives. Though hard to do, it worked for me, even though the diary notes at times were long and involved conversations and I wonder if any person would really write the dialog down like that. However, the diary entries gave a huge insight into Hope, the mother of these three children, and her motivations and her view of life's reality as she saw and experienced it, and thus it gave us insight also into her children and their subsequent acting out of their own lives.

I was fascinated with the fact that Ms Kallos wove this story out of a real part of her own history as the plot sounds so far-fetched. Also I was intrigued with the Welsh traditions of funerals which I assume are real as I think Ms. Kallos researched her material well on all fronts as expressed in her Acknowledgments in the end of the book. Part of me wanted to experience this myself as it must be a very unique cultural background that only the Welsh could claim. I would have loved to have heard the Welsh words and the singing harmony of the townspeople!

Since I feel all novels should offer a redemptive ending, I found this one satiated my own reader's palate. I ended up with a feel-good glow as the book's ending provided a double entendre of the book's title, "Sing Them Home."

posted by Megan_Fisher on February 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Sing Them Home not quite in tune

Those who fell in love with Broken For You (and I rate it in my top 5 books of all time) could be disappointed in Sing Them Home. The quirky and compelling characters of her first book are replaced by characters in Sing Them Home who are merely irritating in their dys...
Those who fell in love with Broken For You (and I rate it in my top 5 books of all time) could be disappointed in Sing Them Home. The quirky and compelling characters of her first book are replaced by characters in Sing Them Home who are merely irritating in their dysfunctional whininess. The pacing of their development also tends to increase their annoying qualities since none of the siblings seem to have any self-insight at all. One of Kallos's great strengths as a writer comes from her background in acting and stage settings--she provides the requisite detail of behaviors, surroundings, and "props" to fully realize her characters and bring them vividly to life. That strength was not as in evidence in Sing Them Home.

The plot is sufficiently off-beat and dramatic enough to engender some interest, but again the pacing is too slow and by the time you have finished the book, you are simply relieved. For anyone who has lived through tornados, there is nothing implausible about the plot, although the fantasy elements clearly are not subject to the "plausibility" definition.

Mostly, I was sad that the book did not fulfill my high expectations. I read close to 200 books a year and on the strength of my love for Broken for You, I would buy anything that Kallos wrote. I probably would not again buy multiple copies of her books as gifts until after I had read the book, just to be certain that it met my standards for recommending and giving it. So, while I would say it's worth reading, it's not in the same class as Broken for You. I'm hoping her next effort will be.

posted by BookWomanLG on March 2, 2009

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