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Customer Reviews for

Beautiful Ruins

Average Rating 4
( 300 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(120)

4 Star

(86)

3 Star

(47)

2 Star

(24)

1 Star

(23)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

95 out of 103 people found this review helpful.

I work in a bookstore, go through books like water, and share al

I work in a bookstore, go through books like water, and share all kinds of recommendations with customers. I read British and Scandinavian mysteries, heavier novels like "Freedom," literate non-fiction---generally, everything from best-sellers to classics. ...
I work in a bookstore, go through books like water, and share all kinds of recommendations with customers. I read British and Scandinavian mysteries, heavier novels like "Freedom," literate non-fiction---generally, everything from best-sellers to classics. So I'm not a book snob, but don't tend to read the lightest of light, either. I loved the Dragon Tattoo series, and all of Elizabeth Strout's books.
Sometimes I plow through rewarding, beautifully written books. But I do tend to whine a bit about this question--why can't authors write books that are entertaining, with mesmerizing characters, interesting settings, relationships between people that are real, flawed, but occasionally deep, and compassionate?.A story that makes me laugh, blink with recognition, and want to cheer out loud for the characters? But where the story doesn't pretend life is not what it really is, either, so that I can't believe it. Then I picked up Beautiful Ruins. And there it was. Buy this book, savor it, and encourage Jess Walters to keep writing.

posted by JanTX on August 14, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

21 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

As usual I¿m in the minority of the glowing reviews on this. I¿m

As usual I’m in the minority of the glowing reviews on this. I’m having a serious problem with rating this book. For starters, I read it all in one day so I was engaged in the story. I didn’t even mind so much the back and forth between time as it was necessary to the s...
As usual I’m in the minority of the glowing reviews on this. I’m having a serious problem with rating this book. For starters, I read it all in one day so I was engaged in the story. I didn’t even mind so much the back and forth between time as it was necessary to the storyline. But I do take issue with writers who feel the need to fill pages up with unnecessary writing.

Examples – Alvis, the wanna-be-writer that goes to the hotel each year to write more of his book. Leaves behind what he has written so far and then we have to read the entire thing within the book? Shane, the wanna-be-screenwriter who along with reading in detail the “pitch” for the screenplay, we have to actually read the entire pages of the pitch also. This kind of fluff irritates me greatly in books. A writer needs to keep the story tight and not meander off because that is how you lose a reader. It is usually at this point where disengaged readers chuck the book to the bedside never to be picked up again. I found myself skimming through all that as I heard the voices of the parents on Charlie Brown in the back of my head saying “wok, wok, wok, wok, wok…”

But when all this wasn’t going on, I did enjoy the book. So I’m giving it a solid 3 which by Goodreads standards means “I liked it”. In my mind though, it could have been a 4 or 5 if we weren’t dragged through unnecessary details. Those parts were just painful to me.

posted by OurBookAddiction on December 29, 2012

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 300 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 15
  • Posted August 14, 2012

    I work in a bookstore, go through books like water, and share al

    I work in a bookstore, go through books like water, and share all kinds of recommendations with customers. I read British and Scandinavian mysteries, heavier novels like "Freedom," literate non-fiction---generally, everything from best-sellers to classics. So I'm not a book snob, but don't tend to read the lightest of light, either. I loved the Dragon Tattoo series, and all of Elizabeth Strout's books.
    Sometimes I plow through rewarding, beautifully written books. But I do tend to whine a bit about this question--why can't authors write books that are entertaining, with mesmerizing characters, interesting settings, relationships between people that are real, flawed, but occasionally deep, and compassionate?.A story that makes me laugh, blink with recognition, and want to cheer out loud for the characters? But where the story doesn't pretend life is not what it really is, either, so that I can't believe it. Then I picked up Beautiful Ruins. And there it was. Buy this book, savor it, and encourage Jess Walters to keep writing.

    95 out of 103 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2012

    La Bella Vita

    This is a novel of utmost grace and beauty. It spans the decades from World War 2 to present day. It leads you lyrically through Italy and the United States. It trips through the automobile industry, the film industry and the writing industry. It drives you through learning Italian, teaching Drama and living your life. It takes you from the bottom of the worst bits of life to the peak of the ultimate best parts. A wonderfully delicious novel for all five senses. I read this book in two days, unable to put it down. Well worth the buzz it is getting.

    40 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 27, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I am a voracious reader-at least two books a week. I loved this

    I am a voracious reader-at least two books a week. I loved this book-it is the best work of fiction I've read all year. It was beautifully written with wonderfully developed characters. It was one of those novels that you're sad to see end. I will be looking for other works by Jess Walter.

    25 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    As usual I¿m in the minority of the glowing reviews on this. I¿m

    As usual I’m in the minority of the glowing reviews on this. I’m having a serious problem with rating this book. For starters, I read it all in one day so I was engaged in the story. I didn’t even mind so much the back and forth between time as it was necessary to the storyline. But I do take issue with writers who feel the need to fill pages up with unnecessary writing.

    Examples – Alvis, the wanna-be-writer that goes to the hotel each year to write more of his book. Leaves behind what he has written so far and then we have to read the entire thing within the book? Shane, the wanna-be-screenwriter who along with reading in detail the “pitch” for the screenplay, we have to actually read the entire pages of the pitch also. This kind of fluff irritates me greatly in books. A writer needs to keep the story tight and not meander off because that is how you lose a reader. It is usually at this point where disengaged readers chuck the book to the bedside never to be picked up again. I found myself skimming through all that as I heard the voices of the parents on Charlie Brown in the back of my head saying “wok, wok, wok, wok, wok…”

    But when all this wasn’t going on, I did enjoy the book. So I’m giving it a solid 3 which by Goodreads standards means “I liked it”. In my mind though, it could have been a 4 or 5 if we weren’t dragged through unnecessary details. Those parts were just painful to me.

    21 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 19, 2012

    Worth the Effort

    I almost put this book down without finishing it. It seemed disjointed when I wanted it to continue the story it was teling in the beginning. Sticking with it will reward you with a good story interwoven well together. It was an enjoyable read.

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Engaging and entertaining

    On the surface it's a bubbly, summery tale about Hollywood and Italy in the 60s and currently; underneath it's a lovely and timeless reflection on love and life and desire and duty. Good stuff.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    wow! Found this book by accident...admit I started reading based

    wow! Found this book by accident...admit I started reading based on cover picture and Mediterranean scenery. But I actually discovered an amazing book that was a very real delight and pleasure to read. A great story of human feelings, behaviours, failings and living life, all played out against a background of a small town Italian dreamer and Hollywood. And what an inspiration by the author to make Richard Burton of all people a key piece of a fictional story. Try this book, you won't be disappointed, you'll love it.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Timeless Brilliance

    Timeless recognition of life, human intentions, . I adored this book and found it to be beautifully written. Wondrous visual verbiage creates a luscious landscape for your imagination. I enjoyed the raw emotion felt and shown through each character. Being so much involved with film and theater towards the end, the last chapter's layout was not my favorite but relevant to the format of storytelling in the latter half of the novel.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Not worth it.

    The sample you get for this book is deceptive. That narrative ends. From there on it is a shallow detailing of hollywood. The characters arent likeable, but they arent interesting either. Everyone is just empty and unhappy and you just begin to think: hey i dont need this. You dont. This book was reviewed well in many publications but it is simply not a good novel.

    9 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Beautiful Ruins is so aptly named. In turns tragic and poignant

    Beautiful Ruins is so aptly named. In turns tragic and poignant but still romantically ideal, from the lovely settings to the perfectly formed characters. I highly recommend.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    ok book

    I had heard great reviews on the book that's why I purchased it. It was a nice read, nice story but that was about it. I found it a little slow.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Wonderful!

    What an interesting love to have had. I imagined myself on this tiny island in the book wuth such peace and joy .

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    A sweet, poignant mixed up story that does more than tell of peo

    A sweet, poignant mixed up story that does more than tell of people's intertwined lives.  It paints their lives with both the bold sweeps of successes and the dark tones of failures; the ruins aren't ugly at all.  I love the characters and how the author keeps moving the tale forward, sometimes jumping decades but then taking us back to the place we first met the protagonist and the others.  Intelligent writing, terrific descriptions, engaging characters.  Five stars easily. 

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Beautiful Italy!

    I loved this book. The switching back and forth between areas, times, and people was a first a bit confusing but I couldn't put the book down after I became comfortable with the characters and places. I love the mention of the different places in Italy. It's made me curious enough to check out some of these places in the future. I also enjoyed reading about the seedy side to the industry in Hollywood. I wouldn't doubt that a similar situation could have occurred as was described in the scandal laid out in this story. Very fun read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Good Read

    This book is well written and a fast read. The characters are likable and it is interesting to find out how their lives are connected.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Loved It !

    This was a great story.. although i must admit was a tad frustrating at the onset, going back and forth between eras... BUT kept me reading avidly for my vacation at the beach ! A must read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    In the beginning, I thought this book wasn't all that good. So

    In the beginning, I thought this book wasn't all that good. So not good, I'll have it finished within 48 hours of purchase. I can't say it's a page turner but I'm looking forward to seeing how all these stories meet up. It's a perfect beach read.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book is absolutely astounding. It is near countless interwo

    This book is absolutely astounding. It is near countless interwoven stories of seemingly unlinked lives that span across five decade and come together - influencing each aspect of the story - in a way that flows completely naturally, but with no shortage of great surprise. The language is beautiful. The relationships are complex, but the emotions that hold them together are simple. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Ugh!!!!!!!!

    This book is not worth $12.99. There isnt enough detail in the stories. I didnt even finish the book. Its such a slow page turner! Nothing! I dont recomend this book to anyone!!!!!!!!!! >:(

    3 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    One of the best books Ive read.

    Beautifully written. A true joy to read. You become immersed in the story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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