All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews

It's funny how you read a book years and years ago, and remember it, but in a completely different way.  I read Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness for a book club many years ago, and always thought that I liked it.  When All My Puny Sorrows popped up as a potential review book, I requested it right away, eager for another of her stories.

I liked All My Puny Sorrows, but I didn't love it.  The premise was immediately intriguing, as it's the story of two sisters.  One sister is determined to die, while the other one struggles between wanting her sister to be happy and wanting to keep her alive against her will.  The story has Mennonite roots, like A Complicated Kindness, but it wasn't the basis of the story.  The book had its touching moments, but the story dragged a bit at other times.  On the whole, I liked it and I might try Miriam's other book, Irma Voth, which I've heard is her best book.

As a random aside, this is my Goodreads review from A Complicated Kindness, which also pretty much sums up my thoughts on All My Puny Sorrows...

Weird. Weird. Weird. There were lots of moments that made me laugh out loud but, on the whole, it was a little strange. It's the story of 16 year old Nomi who lives, and rebels, in a Mennonite town. Her writing style is interesting enough that I might try another of her books. Maybe it was just the subject material that made this book a little tough to read? Nomi is a likeable character though, slightly eccentric and more than a little odd.

A review copy was provided by Random House, but this has not influenced my thoughts on the book in any way.



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