Reviews

Weather, by Jenny Offill

richard_morrow's review

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reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

Poetic and introspective from the opening lines. Shows the issues faced in modern life trying to juggle work, family, life while maintaining an educated opinion on what’s going on. A powerful read in a world that’s focusing on the climate crisis and what may happen. Somewhat reminiscing of JM Coetzee in her style of prose. Beautiful stream of consciousness prose which demonstrates the struggles we face when trying to balance life, family and relationships. 

stephaniejaykay's review against another edition

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5.0

I immediately found this book whimsical, and through the pages, my love just grew. Lizzie is a sort of non-traditional prepper and accidental librarian living in Brooklyn with her husband and son. The book is written in short little paragraphs that I thought would grow annoying, but they were profound little bursts. Offill’s smart, funny, familiar writing belies two sources of major anxiety: Lizzie’s brother, a real albatross whose needs she chooses again and again over her three-person family unit, and how to prepare her son for future climate devastation. Oh, and the last quarter of the book introduces a sweet surprise quasi-love story.

alina_bernadette's review against another edition

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emotional reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

srhanthny's review

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funny hopeful lighthearted reflective

3.75

eruthd's review against another edition

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4.0

Quick read that stayed entertaining with snippets of her life

katieparker's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars. Similar style to Dept. of Speculation, but I didn’t find it was as successful. The prose was a bit more confusing to me (over how many years did this take place?), and didn’t find its vignettes to be as poignant. I appreciated the messaging and the anxieties it handled (climate change, Trump, etc.), but something was missing for me. Or maybe just got lost along the way.

katums's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.25

damien_reads_books's review against another edition

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3.0

Jenny Offill has a knack for humor and, I’m hoping, satire. In this, Lizzie finds herself dealing with her brothers addiction issues, middle-class white liberal woes, and her worries about her family as her current gig (answering emails for her former mentors climate change focused podcast) pushes her closer and closer to the doomsday fanatic that she originally makes fun of. We get a lot of philosophical imaginings but also hysterical reactions to climate change, Donald Trump and other current political topics.

The novel is short, 200 pages written in what I guess could be called vignettes, but also a sort of stream of consciousness? I admire in author who can do powerfully do that and still get their point across.

Part of me falls on the, this probably wasn’t the right time for me to read this. With recent events involving the murders of unarmed Black people this well written novel about white liberals deciding on whether or not they need to move to canada while worrying their children won’t live into 2047 fell a bit flat. But I really did love a lot of this.

wordsaremything's review against another edition

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2.0

"The work is going well, but it looks like it might be the end of the world."

You know how the weather can change in an instant? Sunny one moment, raining the next? That's how this book felt. In the first few pages, I was confused. What is happening? I asked myself as I read. Then I started to understand. Stream-of-consciousness. Life in vignettes. Deep prose and lines that make you go, "Ah, that's inside me, too."

It was at about the halfway point that this book started to lose me. The election. To bring such a viscerally true real world event into this book took me out of it. I enjoyed it less and less until I got to the point that I flipped ahead to see how many more pages until I was finished with it.

That said, Offill has a beautiful way with words, even if I didn't like her story. Words about love like:

The problem with assortative mating, she said, is that it feels perfectly correct when you do it. Like a key fitting into a lock and opening a door. The question being: Is this really the room you want to spend your life in?

Sometimes your heart runs away with someone and all it takes is a bandanna on a stick.


And words about existence like:

Young person worry: What is nothing I do matters?
Old person worry: What if everything I do does?

She gave us a formula: suffering = pain + resistance.

And then it is another day and another and another, but I will not go on about this because no doubt you too have experienced time.


And of course, words about "preppers" (doomsday people). Offill has made me interested in this prepper society, but it's also immensely depressing to think about it. However, there is humor to be found, like in this passage:

I've been thinking more about my doomstead. Choosing people for it is tricky. First, you must assess their character. Will they lead, will they follow? Will they dominate others the moment this becomes possible? Are they alpha? Beta?
[...] Second, you must balance the skills of the people you choose. Is one handy? Is one musical? Is one medical?
Third, you must figure out how to tell them you have drafted them for your doomstead.


I don't think I would take this book into my doomstead, but it was an interesting — though gloomy, and torrential — read.

laurenbowes's review against another edition

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emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0