Reviews

The Light of the Fireflies, by Paul Pen

hottesen's review against another edition

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4.0

Fascinating, devastating, infuriating... every time I thought I knew where this book was going I didn't. I wouldn't say there are huge twists or surprises but just a story about bad decisions and the consequences and just asking yourself what would you do for your family? Oh man the end got me. Morally gray characters, morally gray ending. Like I said, infuriating, but I'll be thinking about it for a while. It was a bit slow through the first half for me, but once it picked up I finished it very quickly!

m0rdred's review against another edition

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2.0

One of the worst books i read for. Just giving it two stars cause 70% are written very well. it's interesting to read about boy trapped in the cellar and the reason why the family is here trying to keep a secret. But from this point the author just tries to find excuses for the psychopathic behaviour of the family and turns the only normal member, the sister, into a villain. Her family treaded her like shit for a mistake in her teenage years which lead to her hate and a feeling of disconnection from her family.
(spoiler)
also did she get raped by her mentally disabled brother and forced to have the child? and did the author still try to turn her into some crazy monster? dude must hate his sister.
(spoiler end)
And to make the book even worse: After all these traumatic experience and learning the truth about his family the main character lived happily ever after.
So it's a very stupid book. The characters are irrational and their psychopathic behaviour depicted as normal cause "it's for the sake of the family". it's a switch from good to evil to good but they're actually all just very dumb.
You should only read the book if you want to be mad and complain about its stupidity to your friends or book club. I really wanted to throw it across the room after i finished but i was reading it on my kindle so i just deleted it immediately.

azapolya's review against another edition

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3.0

I wasn't sure how to rate this book. It's a lot like a train wreck that you can't look away from. The book draws you in from the beginning, but more because you just want to understand why these people are so...??? You don't really start to understand until the middle of the book when there is a flashback to help explain all the missing pieces.

I gave this book a 3 because 3 1/2 is not an option.

meg728's review against another edition

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5.0

Brillant Must Read

I don’t know if words can describe this fantastic story of how a family deals with a tragedy and fights to stay together in a most unconventional way. Paul Pen is a brilliant writer with an amazing imagination. You truly just need to read this book to delve into the lives of this family and see how the fight to survive and unravel the twists and turns that this book weaves until the very end.

cmcgowan76's review against another edition

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2.0

It took me a long time to read this book because it was boring. I don't give many bad reviews per se, but this is going to be a one – star for me. The plot is ridiculous, the research on how to deal with those mentally disabled that have committed a crime is flawed – and I'm being nice when I say flawed. The characters are useless, and I can't find really anything to redeem this novel. All I can say is I'm glad it was free.

leilah_'s review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

godtooth's review against another edition

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  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No

1.0

desertway's review against another edition

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3.0

2.75 stars

I was captivated at the start by the bizarre, unfathomable situation that was presented in the opening pages of the novel. A family is living in a basement, completely cut off from the rest of the world. The father is apparently tyrannical and sadistic, one son is mentally disabled, the older daughter, about to give birth, is forced to wear a mask. More and more such strange details are presented. Eventually, I began to believe I had a handle on the dynamic within this seriously dysfunctional family. I was wrong. By the end of the novel I found out that all of my presumptions about them were mistaken.

Unfortunately, the reveal was ultimately unsatisfying. The hatred of the parents, especially the mother, toward the daughter is certainly not without cause, but after repeated acts of cruelty on the part of otherwise loving parents, I began to shake my head. That the mother makes so little effort (as far as we know) over all the years of isolation to reconcile with the girl makes little sense to me. The mask, a central motif, is particularly unbelievable and juvenile. So, while I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the destination left me disappointed.

spilled's review against another edition

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1.0

No. This book is crap. It tries to be profound or shocking but one does not earn profundity just by throwing a lot of weighty topics (abuse, incest, living in a basement for ten years) at a "plot" and then doing the Gone Girl sort of twist where I'm supposed to be shocked that NOTHING IS WHAT YOU THOUGHT WOOO JAZZ HANDS DUN DUN DUNNN. Nope. The characters are not empathetic even once you're supposedly given all the stories, and a father is abusive, but out of love, see? and massive brutal crimes are never brought to justice but LOOK OVER HERE IMAGINARY TWINKLY FIREFLIES. No. I should have picked something else, anything else, for my free Kindle first read for March. I hated this book. Noooo.

knittingjenni's review against another edition

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Wish I had read Kenneth's review before I started reading this book. I didn't waste my time reading the whole book. Can't believe it was described as a story of hope.