Beautiful Ruins

By Jess Walter

This book is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. It makes me question saying other books were good, because surely nothing can compare to this one. I could go on and on, but couldn’t hope to describe just what this book means to me.

The best kind of stories are not about characters, but about the stories the characters tell in their own voices. This cast is so diverse, so alive. I could go into an in-depth description of all the characters and how they all fit into each other’s circles, but I’m not going to. For one, I would butcher the story that Walter has laid out so well. And secondly, I’ve already tried that, and gotten very stuck.

I think this is the kind of review that shouldn’t ramble on too long. [I might even simplify the format of my reviews from now on. I’m not a professional book reviewer, and I don’t need to add another book report to the internet. You can find summaries and polished reviews anywhere. I’m going to focus on what the book meant to me, my thoughts on it if I have any, and if I’m keeping it or giving it away]

There’s so much going on in this book that it’s really hard to sum up just what it meant to me. I can see a bit of myself in each character. Their dreams and flaws and regrets are so tangible that I felt like I was inside their heads for a while.

Reading the last few pages, I felt a irresistible urge to cry and couldn’t even figure out exactly why. There was just so much love and loss. Deep connection and cutthroat backstabbing. I feel like the conclusion of this book just yanked real hard on my heart strings. It was the kind of reaction that is hard to explain. I felt sad tears accompanying happy tears from the way this author tied up all the loose endings of each person’s tale.

It was funny in a satirical kind of way. Inspiring in a “I wish I could write like this” kind of way. Uplifting in the sense that amidst all this chaos, good people do exist and continue to hope for better. Satisfying when the bad guys were shown a lesson. Touching when seeing a couple grow old together. And everything in-between; this book has it all.

I will be proudly keeping this one. I’d say that it belongs in my collection because I felt hooked while reading it, satisfied when I finished it, and I even look forward to reading it again. And just like the last book I posted, this one gets an



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