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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story, 27 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Reading Lessons (Kindle Edition)
The Reading Lessons is a delightful story that transported me in the Twenties in the United States, at a fairly problematic epoch quite sensitive from the sociological point of view.

I really liked how the author has managed to build the main character, Lucinda, a lady that somehow embodies the characteristics of the historical age she lives but also so modern and avant-garde.

The themes of love and racism are described with the decision, which I also appreciated during its more "obscure" phase.
Too bad it was too short!

The Reading Lessons is a book that could become a classic, and I wish it to Ms Lanham as she and Lucinda deserve it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOUR DE FORCE, 21 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Reading Lessons (Kindle Edition)
A great book which threads together many themes into a viable whole: a curious relationship at its centre; some juicy moments; and the historical background of racial strife and bigotry. Such elements make for a great read for a book in this genre; we can believe in the characters, and the situation they find themselves in, both inter-personal and social. An author in control of her subject. Check it out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Makings of a CLASSIC, 11 Jan. 2014
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Jackie "Anina" (Oakland Park, fl, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Reading Lessons (Kindle Edition)
The poignancy of this story makes it one that will haunt me for years to come. Lanham has crafted such a rich story full of complex and realistic characters that the story has become a true one in my memory. I will never forget Hadley and Lucinda's tale. I felt so anguished by Hadley's situation, his emotions that he could not conquer and Lucinda who wouldn't even let him try. At times you want to hate her, and maybe even do, but she is also a prisoner of the times. This novel puts the microscope to issues such as slavery and shows how, on a person to person level, EVERYONE is negatively effected when we choose to segregate and discriminate--even those who believe they are better off are really losing out. What a beautiful and gut wrenching story, while at the same time at points dark and disturbing. I would say fans of "The Help" would enjoy this book, however, I don't think there is any book that could be compared to THE READING LESSONS. It's unique and I believe will have a board appeal that will allow it to touch the hearts of many readers. Stories like these are what reading clubs are made for; they are what fuels best seller lists; and they are what schools can use are recommended reading in their curriculum. The Reading Lessons has all the makings of a classic. Read and see for yourself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, 14 Jun. 2014
This review is from: The Reading Lessons (Kindle Edition)
The Reading Lessons turned out to be a completely different story than what I thought, but it was still enjoyable. I laughed at some parts and reading the book in one day, I found that afterwards, the main characters stayed with me.

Lucinda and Hadley, lifelong friends and erratic, passionate lovers, shared secrets and a not-so-typical love that bounded them together for nearly eighty years. Lucinda, a white woman of high society and Hadley, a mulatto, found a common joy in reading that would irrevocably link them together for the rest of their lives. Lucinda, under the guise of teaching the help to read, chose Hadley as her pupil. But the books they shared were not those typically used for lessons. Lucinda liked to read the "naughty" books of the era and used them as the blueprint for her intimate sexual encounters with Hadley. And Hadley went along with her book-themed antics because he loved her, forcing him eventually to give up his chance for a normal life - having a wife and legitimate offspring- for the result of that love. In the end this book was a love story, although not a sweet romance, as Lucinda's sexual preferences and treatment of Hadley boarded on "kinky," it certainly showed a love, tendencies toward jealousy, and familiarity between the two that is shared by people in love.

Unfortunately, the book missed in that the research for the time period was lacking, and there were continuity problems. There was an anachronistic feel to it, such as kids entering a Kix Cereal Contest before the cereal was invented , being USDA Certified in the 1920s, and others. Additionally, it was nearly impossible to tell what year characters were in, time kept jumping around and characters' ages and chronological years didn't add up, keeping this reader confused at times on what could be possible. Little history of the time was included, which may have helped with that problem. But what was most egregious for me is the use of the "n" word between blacks in the book. Lanham has "coloreds," as they called themselves in the 1920s, calling each other the "n" word in just general conversation as if they referred to each other as such. They didn't. That word, during more than half of the 20th century, was used as a derogatory term by whites. It was meant to insult and degrade and debase blacks and blacks, in being called that winced at the term, not embraced it. And no way did blacks in the era this author writes refer to each other with the word, especially church going folk and women, (even in the 1990s when the word became popular in rap songs, there was a huge controversy on blacks using it) yet the author has her colored characters using it freely among themselves. To me that showed a real lack of research and insensitivity to the era, the culture and the race by the author. The story would have had a more realistic feel and been more literary worthy if the author had been more circumspect in trying to capture the time period when writing her story.

The Reading Lessons shows the other side of sweet innocent love in the early 1900s, giving Lucinda and Hadley real personalities - showing the good and bad of people, the reason they make poor choices and why life never goes as planned. Lanham's showing the flaws in people, made her main characters more human and their actions, interactions and reaction more true to life.
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The Reading Lessons
The Reading Lessons by Carole Lanham
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