Monday, April 4, 2011

Cutting For Stone

This tome took me six weeks to finish, hence the lack of posts lately. I heard a bit about Cutting for Stone on Goodreads, and it has nearly five stars on Amazon with some crazy-like 900 reviews. So, lots of people liked this book. Marion, one half of twins, tells his story of childhood and coming of age in Ethiopia. He lives at a hospital where his adoptive parents, both Indian, take up residence. We learn about his birth, his growing up, the patients at the hospital, Ethiopian politics, the history of his immediate family... there's a lot in this book. I didn't quite know what I was getting into, so all of the backstory at the beginning left me wondering where the book was going. But, when I talked to my girlfriend about the book (she had also read it), she said it reminded her of Middlesex - a family history. Then it clicked for me. (I may have been slower to catch on because I was reading it on my Kindle and didn't have a book flap to sum things up for me.)

Cutting for Stone is quite deep and detailed. The author can really paint a picture, and he especially can flesh out characters. I fell in love with Hema, Marion's adoptive mother, who is a spit fire of a lady, a smart gynecologist and a mama with a sweet heart. I also fell in love with her husband Ghosh. He was a gentle man and the two had a loving relationship.

Because he's a doctor, too, the author went quite into detail when it came to the medical side of the story. I learned way more than I needed to know about lady parts, vasectomies and a whole other slew of surgeries. It was quite graphic (I felt really queasy on the bus during one part), and I would say if that turns you off, it almost takes away from the story. Almost. But, if you can keep reading through it - or skim over those parts like I did - the story gets awesomely moving in the last third of the book. This was by far my favorite part, probably because the story comes full circle, and I was sad to see the book end.

Beautifully written, somewhat graphic, and a lovely telling of a family and a culture that you don't come across every day. I'm really glad I read it.

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