I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

My photo
I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review: State of Wonder

State of Wonder
Ann Patchett

So the last week of school all the 6th graders at Wm's school go to this sort of arcade place with bowling and a few rides.  Wm had taken some of his own money to blow on whatever it is that 12 year old boys feel is important and came home with a Kindle that he won from a claw game.  I'm not kidding.  "I only spent $1.00, mom!"

I am a book traditionalist, or so I thought...I like the feel of a book and I look at glowing screens a lot during the day, so I don't want to spend the last 1/2 hour of the day unwinding to a screen too.  But since I was going out of town, I thought I'd give his kindle a try--it is remarkably light and thin and easy to carry around, and since it was just a regular kindle, not a fancy one-it doesn't light up.  Our library has access to a limited elibrary, and so I downloaded a few books to take with me.

State of Wonder was one of those.  I had read Bel Canto before at the recommendation of friends, and liked it ok...not love, but thought I'd give another book a try.

I really liked this one.  The characters are based in Minnesota at a pharmacology development lab but the bulk of the story takes place deep in the Amazon jungle where a new drug is being developed.  The Lakashi (reportedly named after Ms. Patchett's favorite breakfast cereal), an indigenous tribe bear children forever--perhaps well into their seventies, and Dr. Swenson is the lead Dr. that Vogel (the drug company) has sent to do this research.  She is elusive and unreachable by an means of modern communication, so the drug company sends a researcher, Dr. Eckman down there to find her and find out how the development of the drug is coming.
Dr. Marina Singh, is then sent down to find Dr. Eckman.
While the relationships within the book are complicated, as most are, the most interesting is the one between the brush Dr. Swenson and Dr. Singh, who studied under Dr. Swenson at Medical School.  Marina cows to any rebuke or dismissal from Dr. Swenson and clearly seeks her approval, much as she did nearly 20 years earlier in medical school.
Although, not a mystery, there are things to be discovered and Ms. Patchett does a very good job at weaving the tale.  There are unexpected results in almost every character's life, yet they do not feel forced, as though the author were throwing them in for good measure, to make sure the book were interesting enough.  They feel organic to the story.

Overall, a good summer read.  Not terribly complicated, but not really brain candy either.  Good solid fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment