Reviews

Spartina, by John Casey

cde10's review against another edition

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3.0

I would not have picked this book up on my own, but I received it from my Used Books Monthly subscription. Spartina is the story of Dick, a man who’s decided he’s down on his luck, the rift he’s created with his wife and sons, and his ambitious project of building his own boat. It takes place in a small fishing town in Rhode Island, and the imagery of the ocean and salt marshes are great. For me the book falters when it’s gets into the nitty gritty boat language and in its depiction of the “modern 80s woman.” The author writes likes he’s never actually spoken to a real woman before - which is why I couldn’t rank this any higher.

lisagray68's review against another edition

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1.0

Didn't finish it. Not so interested in a self-absorbed middle aged boat builder who isn't very nice to his kids and wife and going through a midlife crisis....

disasterchick's review against another edition

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3.0

Read this for the Kansas Humanities Book Discussion or I probably never would have found this book. I liked the book, but really didn't care for any of the characters. Dick is a grump. May has no backbone. Elsie could have had so much potential as a character. Overall, I think this was suppose to be about the love of the sea that only generations of fishermen have similar to the love of the land that generations of farmers have. Being from a landlocked state I probably had a harder time identifying with this novel, but it seemed to be more about building the Spartina and class-rage. I did have to look up when the Andrea Gail sank because I was beginning to think about The Perfect Storm. This was written in 1989 and the Perfect Storm occurred in 1991.

annikajdr's review against another edition

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1.0

Ugh. I did not like this book. I read it to fulfill the requirement of a book published the year I was born, and it had won awards, so it seemed promising. No. At first I was won over by the inside look into the life of a New England fisherman, but an unsympathetic main character, and a plot that seemed built purely on creating drama, not on logic, made this a somewhat painful read. Spoilers ahead because I need to rant a bit. Even though I could guess that an affair was coming, but it didn’t seem to make sense once it actually happened, nor is it that likely that the chick would get pregnant after such few instances, and, really, what are the chances that a life-long fisherman would launch his new boat, the thing he’s been working on for the whole book, and not stop to check the weather first and notice that a GIANT HURRICANE was coming that day to the exact spot where he lives?! That defies disbelief. And I don’t care if the girl tells you she can do well on her own, if you get a girl pregnant, you automatically offer to help pay for the support of the child, and you don’t come to that conclusion as an afterthought. Lastly, tying up a crummy book with some “deep” thoughts about everyone being just small things floating in the waves of the universe is a stupid cop-out. Rant over.

mcurry1010's review against another edition

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5.0

Once I read Compass Rose, I knew I had to read Spartina, written 20 years before with the same characters/setting. Now I'll read Compass Rose again! since I'll have a different perspective on the characters and their action. First though I plan on reading Casey's American Romance. His sense of place is vivid and his characters' actions are fascinating.

bearforester's review

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4.0

Spartina was surprisingly good. I took a chance on it because it won the National Book Award (in 1989 or something). The book, according to its description, is about a Rhode Island fisherman, and it compared it to Moby Dick and the Old Man and the Sea (since those took place at sea). I wasn't really looking forward to reading it, but I decided to anyway.

Well, it started out a little slow, but around the 75 page mark I realized I was starting to enjoy the book a lot more, and by the midway point, I really enjoyed it. I looked forward to reading it, and didn't want it to end, which after finish a book last week that it took me a couple months to get through, is a big positive.

Yes, the book takes place at sea in parts (only very small parts). It is more about a man who happens to be a fisherman, his town, and the other people in a small town. Are any of the characters people you care a lot about? Not really. But they are all interesting, believable, REAL characters.

Definitely recommended.

lisagray68's review

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1.0

Didn't finish it. Not so interested in a self-absorbed middle aged boat builder who isn't very nice to his kids and wife and going through a midlife crisis....

juliamrichardson's review

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dark slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

This book was kind of my white whale. Started it, abandoned it, started it over, put it aside, did a big push the past few days. Learned a lot about boats and fishing terms. Loved the Rhode Island setting. Loved the class stuff. Loved pushing myself to read out of comfort zone. But it was stiff in a Harvard-educated male author kind of way, you know, the kind who writes books about unhappy men making bad choices.
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