Wednesday, February 23, 2011


RevolutionRevolution Jennifer Donnelly

For some reason when everyone was raving about this book my main thought was "probably not for me." Something about the way it was described made me believe that it was probably awesome, but... just not for me.

I can't remember what finally made me pick it up. Just so I could say I had read it? Possibly.

I loved it. I really did.

Basic plot-- Andi's family falls apart after the death of her little brother. Andi blames herself and has fallen into a very self-destructive pattern. Her father wasn't around that much before Truman died, but he's officially left town and is now with his lab assistant. Andi's mother has gone crazy.

When her father finally learns that Andi's about the fail out of school and won't graduate, he comes back to Brooklyn to drag her to Paris so she can write her senior thesis outline-- her one chance at graduation. He also checks her mother into a mental hospital.

Andi's father is in Paris to do genetic testing on a heart that may or may not belong to Louis-Charles, the youngest son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi's researches her thesis on the music of Amade Malherbeau and his influence on later musicians to the modern day. While Paris is the best place to research Malherbeau's life (it's where he lived and composed) it doesn't get Andi's mind off things. Louis-Charles has Truman's eyes.

And then Andi finds a diary of Alex, a street performer who was Louis-Charles's companion and caught up in the horrors of the Revolution...

I like that, even though it's two stories in one, the focus stays on Andi. I was also wondering how the two were going to come together. How they did was... unexpected, but I liked it.*

Andi is so unpleasant, but the portrait of someone torn about by grief and guilt is so well done. I loved the solace she found in music and the advice of her guitar teacher.

Also... finding solace in classical guitar? Nice choice.

OH! And I looooooooooooooooooooooooved how human Marie Antoinette was. I haven't read a lot of fictional accounts of the French Revolution, so I don't have a huge basis for comparison, BUT, in popular culture she's portrayed as such a monster. I loved seeing a portrait of her as a mother and person.

I didn't find Alex's story as gripping, but I loved how taken Andi was with it and I think that if we hadn't been able to read what Andi was reading, we would have really lost what Andi was feeling and how important Alex became to her.

I was utterly engrossed in the story, and even though it's pretty lengthy (472 pages) I couldn't put it down and read it quickly (not that it's a quick read, just that when you read it CONSTANTLY...)

I'm not sure how I feel about the epilogue... I think I needed something more immediate and less nice, BUT overall, yes, this is a wonderful book and I'll add my voice to everyone else's.

*Slight spoiler-- I totally thought that Alex would end up being Malherbeau and that Malherbeau's big mystery was that he was really a she. Glad that I was wrong!

Book Provided by... my local library

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