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Something Red

Something Red When Jennifer Gil s first novel Golden Country was published The New York Times Book Review called it an ingeniously plotted family yarn and praised her as an author who enlivens the myth of the Am

  • Title: Something Red
  • Author: Jennifer Gilmore
  • ISBN: 9781416571704
  • Page: 343
  • Format: Hardcover
  • When Jennifer Gil s first novel, Golden Country, was published, The New York Times Book Review called it an ingeniously plotted family yarn and praised her as an author who enlivens the myth of the American Dream Gil s particular gift for distilling history into a hugely satisfying, multigenerational family story is taken to new levels in her second novel InWhen Jennifer Gil s first novel, Golden Country, was published, The New York Times Book Review called it an ingeniously plotted family yarn and praised her as an author who enlivens the myth of the American Dream Gil s particular gift for distilling history into a hugely satisfying, multigenerational family story is taken to new levels in her second novel In Washington, D.C life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the shifting landscape of the times It is 1979, and Benjamin is heading off to college and sixteen year old Vanessa is in the throes of a rocky adolescence Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, ventures into a cultlike organization And Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, tries to live up to his father s legacy as a union organizer and community leader.The rise of communism and the execution of the Rosenbergs is history The Cold War is waning, the soldiers who fought in Vietnam have all come home, and Carter is president The age of protest has come and gone and yet each of the Goldsteins is forced to confront the changes the new decade will bring and explore what it really means to be a radical.Something Red is at once a poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies, and a masterfully built novel that unfurls with suspense and humor.

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      Published :2019-01-11T06:00:20+00:00

    1 thought on “Something Red

    1. This was a little disjointed, haphazard. At the end, I said "so?" Not a desired response I would think. She developed her characters well, but it felt like a snapshot of a time and her late 1979/1980 did not feel like my 1979/1980 at all. Stock characters- the caterer wife, the bulemic dghtr, the jock/Grateful Deadhead, all uninteresting to me. I was a little surprised by the ending, but again underwhelmed and found it easily dismissed from my mind. She wrapped it all up too quickly and I would [...]

    2. I found this title on the NYT's list of 100 best books in 2010, and I enjoyed reading it. Similar in a way to "Freedom", it's the story of a husband, wife, nearly grown son and daughter, set in 1979/80 in Washington, DC. Each of the main characters have a running sort of stream of consciousness that surrounds the dialogue and storytelling, the present embedded in the past. And some of the chronology didn't quite fit together, if you ask me, combining the Old Left from the 1930's, Ethel Rosenberg [...]

    3. I heard Jennifer Gilmore speak and read from her recent book, "Something Red: A Novel," at the Miami Book Fair 2010, last Sunday. She was articulate, interesting and a showstopper! This story takes place in 1979 after the flurry of the '60's, the heat of the Viet Nam War, Judy Chicago's "Dinner Party," and Charlie Manson. And during the wheat embargo that was "the USA's first attempt to starve the world," as she quoted. I absolutely loved her readings from her book about the "ordinary" family ba [...]

    4. This is one really lousy book.I'm really starting to wonder if Christians are nervous of criticizing books about Jews. Well, I'm Jewish and I'll tell you- this is one really lousy book.I am truly sorry to say this but the writing is atrocious.The sentences go on and on and on.In one sentence she covers 6 different topics - with 4 different points of view- and 3 different tenses.I swear that's true. After one sentence like that my head has been whipped around so many times that I have NO IDEA wha [...]

    5. This was an excellent book in many ways, a very vivid and entertaining portrayal of a lefty but non-radical family wondering how their politics and sympathies can survive into the future. I thought the subject matter and the way Gilmore handled it were very original -- 1979 politics through the prism of food: the mom with her organic locavore catering business searching for something more through EST, the jaded and distant dad working in the US Department of Agriculture, the daughter going throu [...]

    6. Solid read, well-developed, and attention-grabbing. My only quibble (and if this sounds obtuse it's because I'm trying to avoid spoilers) is that the twist near the end came out of nowhere. Other potential twists had been hinted at, but not this one, so it seemed a bit odd that this is where the novel went. A bit of foreshadowing earlier on (and maybe it was there and I missed it? Don't think so, but.) would have made this a 4 1/2 or 5. Overall, the characters and plot were well-developed and I [...]

    7. I was just really bored. I kept waiting for more things, any thing, to happen. Gilmore isn't a bad writer by any means but she spends so much time giving backstory and describing various things that there isn't really much that actually happens (until the crazy thing at the end). I wanted more dialogue, more writing "in scene," as opposed to the endless description by the author. While some of the characters were interesting -- Sharon, especially -- I found others not very believable. And enough [...]

    8. "Historical fiction" is often defined as fiction set in a time period before the author's birth/capacity to remember. Technically, Jennifer Gilmore can remember the late 1970s/early 1980s, but her novel certainly has an aura of the "historical" (in a good sense!). The author was a terrific guest at the Jewish Book Council Twitter Book Club meeting that featured her book (see the transcript here. One of the best discussions to date!

    9. "Something Red" is full of contrasting viewpoints: socialism versus communism versus capitalism, straight edge punk rock vs. Grateful Dead college hippie love. A critical thing lacking for me was a likeable character for much of the story. I slogged on with the reading, because I hate to stop mid-story and I was ultimately rewarded with character growth and a surprise ending.

    10. I have such mixed feelings about this book. I loved the time period (late 70s into 1980) and the location (Washington DC) and even the characters were interesting. But it was lacking something. It was kind of slow and the twist at the end left me saying "so what?" Glad to move on from this one, but it definitely had its moments.

    11. Can’t get into it. The characters feel like trite cliches and the plot is plodding at best. Don’t bother.

    12. I so wanted to like this book so I plodded on. Disjointed with characters I did not like. Glad it is over.

    13. I grabbed this book primarily because it was set in 1979/1980 during the cold war and some of my teenage years. I thought it would be interesting to look back through the long lens of time and see what what I think. This book, based on reviews, is either one you love or one you hate. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. I liked this book a lot. I thought the subject matter was interesting, I thought the story was pretty good and I thought the twist at the end was good, although a little c [...]

    14. This book is a tremendous feat. I can only imagine the level of research required to accurately portray various historical and cultural details from the late 1970s. It is a time period I never fully examined before. Even as an American history major (who focused on modern America), I barely made it beyond 1972. But this book - with its lyrical language and richly developed characters-captures the zeitgeist of the time period. I greatly enjoyed the multi-faceted experience of reading this book: I [...]

    15. I thoroughly enjoyed Gilmore's first novel, "Golden Country". It was a wonderful multi-generational story, set on NYC's lower East Side and I was eager to read Gilmore's next novel and was pleased it was a Vine selection."Something Red" is also multi-generational Jewish family story, this time set mainly in Washington DC - with side plots set at Brandeis University and in New York City. The setting is 1980, that time of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian Hostage crisis. And from [...]

    16. Jennifer Gilmore's "Something Red: A Novel" is part historical fiction and part coming of age story for a suburban D.C. family in the 1970's. Gilmore creates characters with depth and believeability; however, she often does not give her characters the opportunity to show themselves to the reader through their actions and dialogue. Instead, the majority of her novel is told in lengthy paragraphs that are part internal character dialogue (of whichever character is most important at that time) and [...]

    17. I met and heard Jennifer Gilmore discuss her book "Something Red" at the Miami Book Fair in late 2010. She is a brilliant young woman with alot to say about the happenings of Washington, DC, during the Carter years. It's an odd time in American history, but a time that we will remember as ordinary families slightly jarred by the passing of the Viet Nam War, the Communist threat and parents beginning to bounce back into what they hope is the American Dream.Ms Gilmore has a wry sense of humor. In [...]

    18. The book before this was Blood Meridian, and although I was knocked out by it, it didn't give me that pleasure of immersing myself in the world of a novel. Thank you, Jennifer Gilmore, for Something Red. The book takes place in 1979-80, and everyone in the Goldstein family - mom, dad, son, and daughter - missed out on the 1960's. The parents were a little too old, and the kids too young; Benji, a college freshman, takes a class called "American Protest!" (exclamation point included) and longs to [...]

    19. I had this book on my "to read" shelf for so long. Finally got it from the library, and then slogged (seriously slogged) through it. Oh my dull. This is a very boring, slow-paced book. I have great tolerance for wordy, descriptive passages, but this was just too boring. None of the characters felt particularly sympathetic; I guess Benji seemed ok, and his girlfriend was pretty great, but all the others were mostly irritating in their hand-wringing and general disastrousness. Gilmore does not wri [...]

    20. This is one of those books I had to force myself to read. It was a good story and the writing wasn't terrible I just wasn't invested in the story so much that I was dying to know what would happen next. The family is no more dysfunctional than any other. The context is very interesting, I liked immersing myself in the 80's and the cold war but I was way too young to really have much of a clue about the depth of the fears many adults felt at the time. I think everyone can relate to the teens in t [...]

    21. I had started reading this book when it first came out in 2010. But life was especially crazy back then, and I hadn't finished it. I started over and finished it now. Wow. I don't know that I can really say I had specific expectations, but this book took me by surprise (in a good way). What I thought was going to be a bit of an interesting family story sort of book was that but also so much more. And the description of a scene in Moscow, in the GUM shopping center, was especially meaningful to m [...]

    22. WA very good book, set in the late 70's (during the Carter Administration and the hostage crisis). The family is Jewish Russian immigrants, and this fact remains of great importance throughout the novel. The perspective on America, socialism, religion, all of it is shaped by where they come from and their culture--mixed with the culture of their adopted country. Which some of them adopt better than others of them. Beautifully written and a good story, start to finish. This is a talented writer.

    23. I liked the minor threads of themes that were shared by the main characters (ex: food, music and sex). I appreciated the different characters' perspectives. There was a serious lack of plot until almost 80% into the book. I kept looking for something to happen. The characters were so wrapped up in their own crap they were very unlikeable. I got the impression the ending was supposed to be very shocking, but I felt really blasé about it. The cagey way it developed didn't appeal to me either. Eh, [...]

    24. Just finished Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore and all I can say is meh. It is a family saga (not my favorite) about parents who attended college in the late 50s (not my time period) with the story taking placed as children leave for college in the late 70s (again, not my time period). The background of the Carter administration/Washington D.C./music of the period brings the characters some interest, but overall I found the story uninspired and the characters not well developed. The author is a [...]

    25. I thought this book was alright, and a different type of story trying to blend fiction with the historical events at the time. However, I felt the book was a little draggy, too wordy and not enough action. But that's just my opinion, I also found the twist at the end a little far-fetched. I don't want to spoil it for someone looking to read it so I won't say any more. It was an alright read, not the best.

    26. I enjoyed several parts of this book, but it ultimately left me dissatisfied. The story tries to cover multiple events and perspectives but never forms a coherent whole. Although the various stories had their own merits, I was left searching for an overarching plot direction. The ending is unexpected to the point of being random, and it leaves more loose ends than it ties up. An interesting look at life and politics (and their intersection) in the Cold War period, but not a great story.

    27. We picked this for my book club and I tried to read it. Nobody could get into it so we decided to skip it. I gave it a good try, getting about 1/4 to 1/3 the way through and just didn't get it. It is rare that I don't finish a book and I couldn't find anyone who read it to actually give me encouragement to finish it.

    28. I think Gilmore may have been better off to have focused attention on telling this story from just one character's perspective. Splitting the narrative up between all four family members slowed the pace and exposed weakness in character development.I am not really sure what the political or life message here was supposed to be but I enjoyed the middle. I found the Sharon character depressing.

    29. Gilmore brings us back to the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Goldstein family. From their different points of view, we see their reactions to the politically changing world outside. A reviewer said that the event at the end was a jump but thinking about it, I think it was Gilmore's way of showing that political opinion and political action are not the same thing.

    30. Interesting novel set in 1979. Denis and Sharon are the children of immigrants;Russian/Polish Jews. The grew up n the 60's and comsidered themselves rebels. Now he works for the government; she is a caterer; their son is going to college and their 16 year old daughter is a mess. Family drama: husbands and wives; parents and children with an overtone of the Cold War.

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