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Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel av Caroline…
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Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel (utgåvan 2016)

av Caroline Leavitt (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2267289,999 (4.15)15
It's 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy's default caretaker for most of their lives, Charlotte's youth has been marked by the burden of responsibility, but never more so than when Lucy's dream of a rural paradise turns into nightmare.… (mer)
Medlem:PrettyTarantula
Titel:Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel
Författare:Caroline Leavitt (Författare)
Info:Algonquin Books (2016), 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek, Ska läsas
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Cruel Beautiful World av Caroline Leavitt

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Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, free love and the Manson murders, Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt is a bittersweet novel about two sisters who discover that life very rarely lives up the their dreams.

After their parents' death when they were young, Charlotte and Lucy moved in with their much older, distant relative Iris. At one time extremely close, the sisters began drifting apart as teens and by the time Lucy disappears, Charlotte has no idea what is going on her sister's life. At the urging of Iris, she goes to college as planned but she is soon struggling to keep up academically with her fellow students. Meanwhile, Lucy's life with her thirty year old teacher boyfriend William Lallo is slowly falling apart as she grows increasingly unhappy at their remote home in rural Pennsylvania. Iris is trying to come to terms with her empty nest while at the same time dealing with the realities of growing older. After Lucy's life with William completely unravels, Charlotte tries to make sense of what happened to her sister in the year since she and Iris last saw her.

Oldest sister Charlotte is rather shy and serious but she is fiercely protective of Lucy. Determined to get into a good college, she is focused on getting stellar grades and acing her SAT. Completely consumed by thoughts of her future, Charlotte does not even notice when she and Lucy begin to drift apart. After Lucy runs away, she realizes she knows absolutely nothing about her sister's life in the months leading up to her disappearance but this does not stop her from trying to find Lucy. After her hard work in school leads to an academic scholarship to a prestigious college, Iris insists she follow her dream instead of remaining at home with her. Charlotte is stunned by the reality of life on campus as her hopes of finally fitting in are quickly shattered and worse, she is struggling in all of her classes. An out of the blue phone call from Lucy resurrects old resentments, but Charlotte puts aside her feelings to try to rescue her sister.

Lucy is a bit of free spirit who struggles to live up to her teacher's expectations. When popular teacher William Lallo takes a special interest in her, she is excited and thrilled to finally have a class she excels in. When their relationship takes a romantic turn, Lucy sees nothing wrong with a thirty year old man loving her but she knows society will not turn a blind eye to their romance. As the school year draws to a close, she eagerly looks forward to them leaving and starting a new life together in Pennsylvania. Dismayed to find herself living in isolation with no friends and plenty of empty hours to fill while William is at work, Lucy soon falls out of love but with no money or job skills, she feels trapped by her impetuous decision. Trying to find some measure of independence from William, she begins roaming the countryside where she befriends the owner of vegetable stand, Patrick. Convincing him to let her work for him, Lucy's yearning to escape William continues to grow but will she find a way to escape her controlling boyfriend?

Taking place during the tumultuous late 60s and early 70s, Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt is a compelling character driven novel that is beautifully written. While heavy foreshadowing leaves little doubt how Lucy's story will end, Charlotte's story arc is less defined but just as intriguing. The storyline is somewhat poignant yet ultimately uplifting as it wends its way to a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
This novel has great potential to be more of a psychological thriller but the story line is kept too shallow for that to happen. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader turning pages. I would have liked more insight into what different characters were thinking throughout the story. Would also love to know what happened to the characters after the novel ends. It has good potential, just scratches the surface of this phenomenon in American culture. ( )
  LizBurkhart | Sep 5, 2019 |
I picked up this book blind on someone else's recommendation, and it just swept me away. I love it when that happens. Set in 1969, the story opens with Lucy, a high school sophomore, running away with her English teacher. Her older sister and adoptive mother are left to grapple with her disappearance, while Lucy herself discovers her new life was not the fantasy she'd envisioned. All of the characters became so real to me as the story unfolded, especially the girls' guardian, Iris, who is also coping with getting older and losing her independence. This is a bittersweet story that rings absolutely true. ( )
  sturlington | May 26, 2019 |
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but in this instance you can. I fell in love with the vintage look of the cover and then completely fell in love with the book as well. I picked it up one day and read a little of the story and was immediately drawn to Caroline's writing style. The next time I picked the book up, I didn't put it down again until I was finished. I felt something for each character, which rarely happens to me when reading. I was completely surprised by an event that happens in the book but I loved that it kept me guessing about how the book would end. I love this book so much and I've found a new favorite author! ( )
  Squirrel820 | Nov 21, 2018 |
Lucy and Charlotte are sisters. Charlotte is studious and straight laced. Ever since their parents died when they were small children, Charlotte has felt responsible for Lucy. And keeping Lucy in line is a hard job. She’s not studious and is kind of flighty. She doesn’t always make the best decisions as evidence by the fact that she runs away with her boyfriend William, who is currently her high school English teacher. They move to an isolated area in the middle of nowhere and Lucy soon learns that William isn’t the man she thought he was.

The description on the inside flap of this book said it was “set against a backdrop of peace, love, and the Manson murders,” which I was looking forward too since I’ve always been intrigued by the Manson family and have read books and listened to podcasts about them. However, I was disappointed that they were only briefly mentioned and didn’t have much bearing on the story. The other criticism I have is that although the book is set in the 1960s, the characters say words and phrases that weren’t common until later like, “It is what it is.”

Cruel Beautiful World was one of my book club’s selections. Lucy’s relationship with William gave us a lot to talk about. I won’t say much more because I don’t want to give anything away.

The characters in Cruel Beautiful World are complex and well-developed. All of the characters have a rich back-story, especially Iris, the girls’ guardian. There were a couple of surprises in the plot that I didn’t see coming. As Lucy’s relationship with William progresses, Leavitt creates an atmosphere thick with foreboding that kept my stomach in knots. I enjoyed this book and think it makes for a great summer read. ( )
  mcelhra | Jul 22, 2018 |
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For Jeff and Max.
You made my heart grow nine sizes.
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Lucy runs away with her high school teacher, William, on a Friday, the last day of school, a June morning shiny with heat.
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Lucy knows that anything can happen and age is the hand at your back, giving you an extra push toward the abyss.
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It's 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy's default caretaker for most of their lives, Charlotte's youth has been marked by the burden of responsibility, but never more so than when Lucy's dream of a rural paradise turns into nightmare.

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