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The Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth
Author: Jane Hamilton
Winner of the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel, this exquisite book confronts real-life issues of alienation and violence from which the author creates a stunning testament to the human capacity for mercy, compassion and love. A passionate coming-of-age story of an uneducated small-town girl with far more romance in her s...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780385265706
ISBN-10: 0385265700
Publication Date: 12/1/1989
Pages: 336
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 594 ratings
Publisher: Anchor
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book was a very insightful account of a young woman who'd been "different" all her life. Made to feel unworthy and unwanted by her mother--especially when compared to her accomplished younger brother--Ruth embarks on life after high school at a dreary job in a dreary town. Her life is changed in many ways--not all positive-- when she meets, marries, and has a child with Ruby, an immature, impulsive boy in a man's guise. A tragic series of events changes Ruth's life forever and, it seems, puts her on a better path after all.
reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This was an wonderfully written book with a shocking ending. I suggest you reread the first few pages after you finish the book.
reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Our narrator tells a simple yet emotionally moving tale of a life filled with quiet desperation and infinite dreams. I was moved enough to write a review, which I never do. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys challenging their perception of what defines a normal family.
mazeface avatar reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 66 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
None are so blind as those who do not wish to see. Ruth, the unreliable narrator of this sad tale, lives this maxim throughout her life. "The book of Ruth" is an uncomfortable reminder of how we can be blind when we want something bad enough'even if that thing is an unwise choice. With success, Jane Hamilton places the reader in the mind of a disturbed young woman; somehow Hamilton creates sympathy for the undesirable characters in this novel. Definitely a triumph for the author's first book.
blacktoastintolerate avatar reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I worked in a group home for mentally retarded men while I attended college. There is (was) a very large mental institution in my hometown that had mainstreamed most of it's almost 15,000 residents (in it's hey day) back in to the community. There were multiple group homes for men and women and I often supervised parties and dates for the clients. This book brought all of this back to me. Ruth and Ruby are both fairly high functioning retarded people. This relationship got out of hand mainly from May's iron-fisted way of dealing with her daughter and her constant comparison of her with her genius son Matt. There were parts of their relationship that I thought were beautiful, but most of it was like the beauty of the vibrant patterns on a rattlesnake's back; beautiful but dangerous. This book brought all the sadness back to me that I felt watching people with little or no control of their life attempt to have a relationship.
This was certainly a worthwhile book to read and I would recommend it to anyone.
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raread13 avatar reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 4 more book reviews
This book is a seemingly simple narrative, from a seemingly simple perspective that is filled with emotion and complex characters. Ruth offers insights into a life without all the extras. She shows through reflection how emotions can be twisted and shaped. This was a unique read but still interesting.
reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 4 more book reviews
Wrenching story about the sad life of Ruth, but I found that I couldn't put it down.
reviewed The Book of Ruth on + 29 more book reviews
This book started off slowly for me. I was also uncomfortable with the characters' life situation. The characters and their lives are unpleasant but they are beautifully written. The book remindes me of how often we write people off as ignorant, ugly, unsalvageable--when what separates us from them is often an accident of birth. I felt hopeful for Ruth at the end and the possibility that her sons will escape her fate. A must read, if for no other reason than to get in touch with your own prejudices.
sunnymoody avatar reviewed The Book of Ruth on
This was a well written,heart wrenching ,disturbing book. I recomend it