Customer Reviews for

Beautiful Ruins

Average Rating 4
( 304 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(121)

4 Star

(88)

3 Star

(48)

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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  • 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 April 26, 2013

    Not worth the read

    Felt it was disjointed at beginning and at times too much detail that really didn't matter to the story. The last 100 pages or so were really good - odd that way. I didn't like the way he wrote the ending - a sort of summary of the characters and where their lives ended up although he forgot to tell much about Shane. I read it for bookclub or I may not have finished it. I personally would not recommend although others in my book club liked it......

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2014

    Not so much

    Can't say I enjoyed it. Only those chapters that took place in Italy in the early 60's with Pascele and Dee. The rest of the chapters seemed to come out of no where and didn't always make much sense ti me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Romance and lost loves blurb a come on

    Then reviews said grafic sex scenes so a cozy it aint buska

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    Honestly, I just don't understand the rave reviews on this book.

    Honestly, I just don't understand the rave reviews on this book. I am not that picky of a reader, but I found this book very hard to get into.  From the opening pages it never captured my interest. I had to go back and reread the first few pages over and over until I could make myself want to keep reading. Since this was a book we were reading in our book club I was going to give it a shot. I found the characters lifeless and felt no connection to any of them. I can't remember reading a book and feeling this detached to it in a long time. The story was not very realistic adding in a story line that included Richard Burton. It was a bit difficult to follow and changed from Italy to the U.S. and from one decade to another. I kept reading and waiting for the story to pick up and capture me. Never did. Half of the book club did not even finish the book. By far the worst book we have read in a year. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    I have been waiting to read this book since this summer and I th

    I have been waiting to read this book since this summer and I think all of this waiting I had to do made my expectations really high… I did not enjoy this book as much as I wish I did.  Maybe I will read it again in a couple months and have a totally different take on it.  However, this time around I was not impressed.  It was too choppy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Too many charactters

    While the book is well-written, Walter introduces far too many storylines. If he had stuck with the main settimg in Italy and told that story with more depth, this could have been called a brilliant novel. Sadly, it falls short, with just too many characters who are all tragically flawed, almost on an absurd level. Any book that contains passages including the Donner Party, and only pages later, other passages about Richard Burton, is clearly takjng on too many subjects. Not a complete waste of time, but Walter's "Financial Lives of the Poets" is much better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    highly recommend

    Great summer read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    I agree with OurBookAddiction.  Way too much fluff about people

    I agree with OurBookAddiction.  Way too much fluff about people we didn't need to know about.  Overall, it was a good story, but very difficult to stay engaged.  By the end I just wanted it to be over. I too bought the book because of the beautiful cover.  I guess we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    So-So

    Book club read and not my cup of tea. Don't like books with other language, hard to pronounce....and the going back and forth between characters and time/place is not something I like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Promising review led to disappointed read

    This novel jumps around with story and timelines. I found it frustrating as well as the dubious use of fact interwoven with fiction. Two stories in the book are worth telling in my opinion, the rest beautifully ruined the experience for me and i debated in even finishing it. I did finish and likely not to read another book by this author. I think the author had great character potential but 299 pages is not enough space to cram in all that was going on here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 3, 2013

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    Posted July 30, 2014

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