Friday, November 10, 2017

Bel Canto Review

Happy Friday! I finished this book a long time ago but I just never got around to writing my review! So here it is, my review of Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. 

Bel Canto is a wonderful novel, loosely based around true events, that explores thought provoking ideas in a very heartwarming way. The book opens with a dinner party being taken hostage in a South American country that remains unnamed. The suspense of the hostage situation continues throughout the book as the reader guesses what is going to happen at each new turn. As the plot progresses and the reader gets to know the different characters, the ideas Patchett explores in the book begin to stand out and they stick with the reader long after the last page of the novel.

One of my favorite things about the novel is how well the reader gets to know all the different characters. Patchett gives a very well rounded view of most of the characters, even the more minor ones. Their different back stories and feelings about their situation are explored, allowing the reader to make a connection with all the characters, captor or prisoner. The lines of good and bad start to blur as the reader gets to know the different characters and their personalities, and the reader can form their own opinions about the characters.

As the hostage situation continues in the story, it becomes clear that no matter what side of an issue the characters are on, they are all simply people. Captors and prisoners become friends, people without a common language learn to communicate, and life continues. Patchett shows how the issues and ideals we hold so strongly to dissolve as you  get to know someone, and you are able to see who the person truly is. The things about our society we hold onto don't matter in the long run; as long as we are kind to each other we will find meaning in our lives. The setting of the book highlights this concept and the reader is able to see how the characters start to change in their actions towards one another.

The final part of the novel I really loved was how as the prisoners waited to see what their fate would be, the reader sees them releasing what is out of their control and beginning to truly appreciating the small things. A turn in the weather that brings sun instead of clouds, a short walk outside in the grass, or something new and interesting to eat brings them joy like it never had before. We see the characters coming to the realization that not matter what their situation in life, there is always something to be grateful for. 

The only thing I didn't enjoy about the book was the epilogue. There was no indication of how much time had elapsed and the story line for the characters involved seemed abrupt and out of place. After such a fantastic ending to the rest of the novel, the epilogue completely changed gears and I had to read it a few times to really understand what was happening. Even the characters seemed surprised at what they were doing now after the rest of their story line. It seemed like Patchett was trying to give the story closure but it ended up feeling rushed and like it was tacked on at the end. 

Overall, I thought the novel was fantastic and inspiring with the concepts that were covered. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I feel like if I read it again I would get so much more out of it. I gave the novel a 5 on Goodreads and I would definitely recommend it!

P.S. the tea of the day is citrus green tea ^_^

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