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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
Allende's `The Infinite Plan' tells the story of Gregory Reeves's life from his early childhood as the youngest member of a vagabond family until his 50's when he's a lawyer in California. Most characters have a hint of the superhuman, and face immense lows and highs. Yet there's something very human about their reactions to the situations they face. The plot includes...
Published on 17 Aug. 2000

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shows early promise but disappointing in the end.
From the outset this story set in 20 th. century west coast America has a lot of promise of interesting philosophical ideas explored through the eyes and experiences of the key character, Gregory Reaves. Senora Allende introduces us to a number of fascinating characters and the promise of enjoyment is great as Gregory develops from an urchin of the barrio, to a...
Published on 8 Oct. 1999


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 17 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
Allende's `The Infinite Plan' tells the story of Gregory Reeves's life from his early childhood as the youngest member of a vagabond family until his 50's when he's a lawyer in California. Most characters have a hint of the superhuman, and face immense lows and highs. Yet there's something very human about their reactions to the situations they face. The plot includes surprises, tense moments, confrontations, episodes where people feel helpless in front of not so impossible obstacles, and an above average portion of coincidences. Because of the depth of the characters and because of the moments of introspection they go through, you get the feeling that you're "learning something about life", which may be a rather false feeling as this is not a psychology textbook. But, hey, it's all great enjoyment and a really good read. I think that most people will really enjoy this book. I preferred Allende's earlier `The House of the Spirits' but that's not saying that this book is no good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 24 May 2010
By 
Y. Brownlee "vonny-b" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this - Allende on great form. It started off rather slow, but as the characters evolved and the story moved on, it became another one of her cracking novels. A thoroughly enjoyable read!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shows early promise but disappointing in the end., 8 Oct. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
From the outset this story set in 20 th. century west coast America has a lot of promise of interesting philosophical ideas explored through the eyes and experiences of the key character, Gregory Reaves. Senora Allende introduces us to a number of fascinating characters and the promise of enjoyment is great as Gregory develops from an urchin of the barrio, to a student of Berkeley graduating finally in law then going off to fight in and survive the Vietnam war. From this point on the writing loses its magic and the narrative fizzles on like a damp squib to a rather lacklustre conclusion. Sorry Isabella.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Enjoyable, 29 Feb. 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
Another rattling good read from Isabel Allende. 'The Infinite Plan' was Allende's first novel to be set in California (where she now lives) and is loosely based on the life of her second husband, a lawyer.

Gregory Reeves spends his early childhood travelling America with his Australian father Charles, the founder of a strange faith or cult called The Infinite Plan (which seems loosely linked to Buddhism and Freemasonry, plus a bit of Christianity!) which understandably never quite catches on, his Russian mother Nora and her friend Olga and his sister Judy. Charles becomes ill and the family settle in the Spanish 'barrio' of Los Angeles. Soon after, Charles dies, and Nora sinks into depression. Gregory grows up spending most of his time with the neighbouring Morales family, particularly the lively second daughter of the household, Carmen and soon regards himself as part-Spanish despite his blond complexion. The Reeves family are wretchedly poor, and Gregory is made to leave school at 16 and get a job. A keen reader, he continues to self-educate in his spare time, and soon becomes friends with a workman with socialist sympathies - when this elderly man dies, it turns out he's left Gregory enough money to go to university. Gregory ends up at Berkeley in the Swinging Sixties, where he studies and works ferociously hard, makes various friends, and falls disastrously in love (or rather, in lust) with a rich filmmaker's daughter named Samantha. A string of accidents lead to Gregory and Samantha marrying - the marriage goes horribly wrong, and the couple's baby is neglected and grows up to become a tormented soul. But before this happens, Gregory is made to do his military service in Vietnam, a time brilliantly depicted by Allende. He comes back after much suffering a changed man, hardened and determined to no longer be vulnerable. A brief fling with his old friend Carmen - which might have led to real happiness - goes nowhere due to Gregory's increasingly capitalist views as compared to Carmen's tolerance. Gregory becomes a high-level lawyer, has a second disastrous marriage, this time to a young, rather tarty girl who wants to be a model, has another child (this time with hyperactivity problems), sets up his own business after his boss refuses to take on a humanitarian case that Gregory really wants to deal with, and has various adventures, until, finally in mid-life, he comes to some sort of serenity, acknowledges his mistakes, and realizes that there is no 'Infinite Plan'. At that point, his life begins to change for the better. Gregory's story runs parallel to that of Carmen, who is forced to leave America after getting pregnant and nearly dying due to an illegal abortion, who travels in Europe, sets up as a jewellery designer and later adopts her dead brother's half-Vietnamese son.

Allende is a most wonderful storyteller and this novel, ranging from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Europe to Vietnam, is compulsive reading. She has a cast of fabulous, often very compelling characters, including Gregory's opera-obsessed mother, Olga the Russian fortune-teller, Judy, Gregory's overweight sister obsessed with motherhood, the Morales clan, Leo Galuppi the Italian rogue with a heart of gold, Tim, Greg's university friend, Mike Tong Gregory's assistant, King Benedict the African-American who Gregory defends - and of course, Gregory and Carmen themselves. The story is well paced and exciting, and the language beautiful, though the later sections of the book, particularly concerning Gregory's daughter's collapse and the end of Gregory's second marriage, can get quite depressing. I stop short of five stars in reviewing the book (I wish I could give it four and a half) because I didn't find Gregory all that sympathetic as an older man (I think Allende could have analysed a little more - and made Gregory analyse - why he kept falling for such useless women, who he had nothing in common with), and felt that the ending was a tiny bit rushed - I think Allende did this because she didn't want to write herself into the novel as the woman Gregory ended up with (SLIGHT SPOILER) but it would have been good to see Gregory really happy with someone at last. There were also slight moments of silliness in the story - like the women Gregory lived with posting a burned bra in their restaurant to show their liberation - that I didn't quite believe in. On the whole, particularly from about halfway through the book, I preferred the Carmen story - I thought Carmen, or Tamar as she later called herself, was magnificent. Mind you, Gregory's story, however one feels about the character, is an excellent read. On the whole a really good novel by one of the world's top storytellers.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Isabel Allende!, 11 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
I've never read a novel by Isabel Allende that I didn't like and the Infinite Plan is no exception. Unlike the author's other novels, the storey takes place mostly in the US but with a strong, Hispanic element, of course. If you're an Isabel Allende fan, then the Infinite Plan is a must read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 20 Sept. 2007
By 
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
although i do think you should read 'daugther of fortune' first..than this book makes more sence....
personally i think its her best...but if you like Allende..you probably like all her books...this i could not put down...YOU WON'T BE DISAPOINTED..!
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, 20 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
I HAVE JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK AND I FOUND IT AMAZING. THE CHARACTERS REALLY CAME TO LIFE. I FOUND ISABELLES WRITING REALLY TOUCHED ME IT EXPLAINED A LOT OF THE UPS AND DOWNS WE ALL GO THROW IN LIFE. IT FOCUESD ON THE LIFE OF GREGORY REEVES FROM A CHILD UNTIL HE FINALLY FOUND HIMSELF SO TO SPEAK. THE CHARACTERS IN THE BOOK REALLY GET INTO YOUR PHYCHE MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER WAS HIS BEST FRIEND CARMON MORALES. I JUST LOVED THE WAY ISABELLE EXPLAINED GREGORYS LIFE IT WAS VERY REALISTIC AND I COULD SENSE THE DEEPER MEANING TO LIFE OUR CONNECTION WITH SPIRIT. THIS IS THE FIRST ONE OF HER BOOKS I HAVE READ AND I LOOK FORWARD TO READING HER OTHER BOOKS....EXELLANT!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good seller, 13 Jun. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Infinite Plan (Paperback)
Received Good Used - as described.
Received in time.
Book isn't great and I'm still struggling to get into it but seller = fine.
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The Infinite Plan
The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende (Paperback - 1 April 2008)
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