Frog Music

Frog Music

by Emma Donoghue
2.7 38

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Frog Music: A Novel 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
Frog-catcher Jenny Bonnet, an unorthodox young woman often jailed for wearing men's clothing, is shot dead one evening, the bullet narrowly missing her friend Blanche Beunon, a former circus horseback rider turned exotic dancer. In her new novel Frog Music, Emma Donoghue takes this actual unsolved murder from the intense heat wave and smallpox epidemic of 1876 San Francisco and creates a powerful look into the lives of the city's outcasts. There's so much inside this story that gives a clear picture of societal attitudes and norms of the time, including matters tucked away out of sight, out of mind. The latter being, without giving anything away, one of the most appalling and heart-wrenching things I've read about in a long time. Frog Music is altogether exciting, suspenseful, tragic, unsavory, and scandalous. Its characters are gritty and flawed in all the best ways. Donoghue writes in a naturally beautiful style, interspersing smatterings of French throughout (there's a glossary in the back of the book), but the pace is quick, which kept me turning page after page. There is so much more I want to say, but I'm holding back because those things caught me by surprise as I was reading. Let's just say, I think this book would give reading groups a wealth of topics to discuss. As a musician, I was especially thrilled to find Song Notes in the appendix of the book, filled with background information about the music that appears throughout the story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music is as raucous and ebullient as its title implies. The cast of characters is a hardscrabble, resilient and eccentric never-say-die cast including Blanche, a French dance hall girl not entirely above selling her favors, a cross-dressing frog catcher named Jenny (hence, the amphibious title), a prematurely retired peacock shyster aerialist and his sycophantic partner in crime - all struggling to survive in smallpox-ridden San Francisco in 1876. When Jenny the frog catcher is murdered only inches away with buckshot that may have been intended for Blanche, a cat-and-mouse drama unfolds as Blanche tries both to solve the mystery and rescue Petit, her infant son who has been kidnapped as surety against her truthful testimony in court. The reversals in Frog Music are relentless and darkly fascinating. As read by Khristine Hvam, Emma Donaghue’s portentous, serpentine third-person narrative has the feel of a turn-of-the-century penny dreadful or a ‘read-all-about-it’ headline - exactly the kind of ‘can’t-look-away’ allure that causes good people to rubberneck at the scene of a car crash. Frog Music is a rare treat in that it is truly divergent from the vast majority of popular fiction. The characters are wickedly eccentric, complex, and drawn in the most fascinating strokes imaginable. The narrative is uncompromising and compelling. The tension is ratcheted up in unexpected ways that border on the perverse. Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music demands that we look head-on at things and people that we would normally view only in sidelong glances. As a result, it is an unforgettable and eminently worthwhile read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I loved Donoghue's powerful 'Slammerkin' - well-researched, soulful and moving, I have found Frog Music to be an agitating read, perhaps because of the 'then and now' chapters, perhaps because dense description jarrs against light character development. The thought occured to me that famous writers sometimes take out-of-the-box writing risks that work, but after 50 plus pages, I have turned to another riveting read of the same time period and also in the U.S.: Valerie Boyd's 'Wrapped In Rainbows', a biography of Zora Neale Hurston.
ABookishGirlBlog More than 1 year ago
I know not all books can live up to the hype that is thrown upon them by advanced book reviews but I was quite disappointed in Emma Donoghue's Frog Music for I was hoping it was going to be as good as everyone said it was. But it wasn't! My eyes felt heavy and my brain numb as I tried to read through some of the nauseatingly long paragraphs so I started skimming the pages reading only what seemed important because the only thing that really kept me plugging away at it was because I wanted to find out who really did it. I normally love literary novels but this one was as limp as a dead frog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An adult book, not because adolescents wouldn't understand it literally but because it is a little raunchy and nonsequential in its construction for no apparent reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read the summary of the book I thought it looked very interesting. However, I found the story very difficult to follow. The author jumped from one thing to anothr. It was very difficult to follow and I had to go back each time to figure out who was who. It begins with the main character meeting a young women. From there the story becomes very disjointed. And the smattering of French was distracting and I know French. I finished the book because I kept on thinking it would get better. Would not recommend. Very disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story not very compelling. Not fond of the author's writing style in this story. Seems disjointed as the narrative jumps back and forth in time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved Room, but this one was just awful. Could not fid a character to care about. Stopped at page 80, when I decided that to finish it was a huge waste of time.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so boring after about the first 25 pages I just couldn't stand reading any more of it. To submit a review I guess you must rate things at least one star, but in my opinion this book should get none.
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Beauty res 1
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt compelled to post a review because so many of those posted struck me as being very misleading. I agree that this book is very different from 'Room'. This book stands on its own and I found it to be very interesting and very evocative of its setting and time. Readers who do not finish the work or who only "skim the long paragraphs" are not serious readers. This book definitely deserves to be read and savored and enjoyed. As with 'Slammerkin' I do not think you will forget it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really average read. Perhaps i expected a book as good as Room but it did not come close. Not sure what to expect from her next book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED "Room" and could not wait to read Frog Music. It was a disappointing read. The story never really grabbed me and in my opinion the writing was disjointed.
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