Friday, May 09, 2008

The Disagreement by Nick Taylor

#37 The Disagreement by Nick Taylor
Copyright 2008
Simon & Schuster Historical Fiction (ARC)
360 pages

What led you to pick up this book? It was sent to me for review by Simon & Schuster.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. John Muro's father was first a physician and then made his fortune as a manufacturer of clothing. Upon the outbreak of "the disagreement", aka the Civil War, the elder Muro acquires an order for uniforms that should keep the family in good circumstances. Young John Alan, however, is disappointed to find that he will now be unable to attend medical school in Philadelphia. Send to a school in Charlottesville, Virginia instead, John finds himself swept into tending the war wounded and mesmerized by a beautiful young woman named Lorrie. As the Civil War rages, John and Lorrie are oddly insulated from its effects. John continues to do his doctoring, while his family's fortune crumbles to pieces and he falls madly in love.

What did you like most about the book? I liked the time period. I've probably read another Civil War novel (I've definitely read some non-fiction) but at the moment, I can't recall a single title. It was a nice change of pace. It also was nicely written, with an easy flow.

What did you think of the characters? The characters were none too likable. John Muro is utterly wrapped up in himself, his girlfriend and his work. But, his work serves only to inflate his own ego. If you really sit back and analyze the book (and I'd love to talk to more people who've read this one), it appears that John is not only inured to the sights, sounds and smells of the wounded that he treats but totally unable to step outside himself for even a moment. He comes off as slightly inhuman, extraordinarily egotistical, maybe even cowardly. His reaction to his family's plight baffled me.

Share a favorite scene from the book: There's an interesting scene in which Lorrie puts on a bit of a feast for the doctors. My husband knows his history better than I do, so I asked him if he knew anything about whether or not such a thing might have really happened -- the idea that someone finagled food from the farmers to put on a fancy dinner. He said yes, "but only the amongst the really wealthy."

3/5 - I can't say this was more than an average read, simply because the protagonist was so totally untouched, emotionally and physically, by the war. There was never any real sense of deprivation, anguish, loss, frustration . . . there wasn't a lot of emoting, really, apart from a bit of love angst and worry about his schooling. Also, there was never any concern about how he was going to pay for his schooling, when his family fell upon hard times. Perhaps his job was meant to pay for his classes but I don't believe there was any mention of that, nor any concern on John's part.

In general: Nyeh, nothing great. The Disagreement read a little bit like it was written by an English major who crammed on his history in the library and found a few interesting tidbits around which to revolve his plot. That sounds awful, but the writing flowed. I'm not sure I found it totally believable and I disliked the lack of emotion -- I didn't like John Alan Muro at all, in fact. There were several times that I recall thinking that if I knew him I'd kick him in the shins. But, believe it or not, I enjoyed the book and I'm glad I read it. It just wasn't anything to get excited about.

Next Up: A review of Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora. I've decided to skip reviewing It Happened in Oklahoma, although I may do a mini-review, later on. I've also finished An Irish Country Doctor and am reading An Irish Country Village, but I'll review those as a set for Estella.

Speaking of Which: I completely forgot to post a link to the latest Estella issue, mostly because I haven't yet read it. But, I will. It's always wonderful.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend! I'll be fetching the husband from the airport. Wahoo for that!

Bookfool, who prefers having the husband under the damaged roof with her.


  1. Anonymous4:52 PM

    "...probably read another Civil War novel..." Maybe Gone With The Wind?

    The "hero" sounds like a dolt.

  2. Carrie,

    Nope, still haven't gotten to GWTW. Embarrassing.

    You would never marry John Muro, but even if you were oddly swept away by, say, his good looks, you'd divorce him in nothing flat.

  3. Bookfool -

    Oh! GWTW is an amazing book. There is so much more in the book than they could put in the movie way back then...

    Don't you hate it when a book disappoints you like that. I think I'm sorta in the same boat with the one I just finished. It was an interesting story but I flat-out didn't care much about any of the characters.


  4. CJ,

    I know, I know. There's no excuse for not reading GWTW if you're in the Deep South, but I've tried to read it 3 times and failed.

    Well, it wasn't an entirely bad experience but yeah, I do hate it when a book has more promise than it delivers. It's fascinating to me how important it is to relate to the characters. You don't have to like them; you only need to care what happens to them. And, there can be a very fine line between likable and unlikable, merely because sometimes a skilled writer can make even an evil character somehow sympathetic.

  5. Oh Bookfool,

    You must read GWTW! You just must! It's one of my all time favories!

    As for this book, you wrote a great review, but the book itself sounds like I can miss it.

  6. Loved your review! I won't be reading the book though, as I can tell I would end up being totally annoyed and left yearning to reach through the pages to slap young Mr. Muro upside his self-absorbed head!

    If it makes you feel any better, I've never read GWTW either. I really don't even have any desire to. I'm such a heathen.

  7. Wonderful review! I am so glad that I took your blog from Bellezza's place and added you to my blogroll.

    So your name is Carrie. Nice to meet you. Harry here!

  8. Teddi Rose,

    I'll keep trying. I really, really would like to read GWTW. The times I've tried to read it I had young children running about my feet or I was at work. It was too intense to read at work (a bookstore) with customers coming and going. And, my kids were little hellions at toddler stage. :)

    The Disagreement kept my interest, but I'm still puzzling as to why. I think I expected that at some point the Civil War would become more prominent and that was disappointing (as was the selfishness of the John Muro) but maybe I was just satisfied to read what amounted to a romance set during a time period I was in the mood to read about. Hard to say!


    Thank you. :)

    I did want to slap John. There was never really a point at which he softened enough to really become likable, although I still enjoyed reading the book (and can't quite figure out why -- maybe because it was just written with an easy flow).

    Oh, good, thanks for that! I'm relieved to know I'm not the only person who hasn't read GWTW. I do want to read it, though. Actually, that would be a good one for the Southern Reading Challenge (which I haven't confessed to joining, yet, but which I signed up for on Wednesday). :)

    Hi Harry!

    Nice to meet you! Carrie is actually just a great friend of mine. I'm Nancy.

    I've just dashed over to look at your blogs. Your reviews are awesome. I just recently viewed Stranger than Fiction, also. I loved it. Now I'm watching out for a copy at the right price. I'll add you to my blogroll, as well. Thanks! It's great to meet you!

  9. I kind of figured taht out after I posted send and saw the mistake. I think I am jinxed to make whacky first impressions.

    I am glad you liked my blogs. I hoped on yours quite a lot before I figured out, which one was the most updated and here I am.

  10. Harry,

    Don't worry about it; I do that all the time. :)

    This has been quite an overwhelming year, so I've let my other blogs go by the wayside. Hopefully, I'll get back to posting at some of them, soon -- I may ditch a couple. I haven't decided. I'm glad you found me!

  11. I am just starting to develop blogs and after four months of sticking to my writing one, I just started a review one, art one and now after I decided to participate in so many reading challenges I think of a new one to host my lists and reviews.

  12. Harry,

    I guess I've been blogging for around two years, now. When I began, I never imagined I'd have any use for a second blog, much less several! But, I gradually added a blog for regular photos, one for swim photos (not sure where that one is located, now), my poppet blog, etc. Then I started posting more photos to this blog (after we switched from dial-up to DSL)and I slowly stopped posting to the others. Although, I do have a specific poppet photo I need to take for the poppet blog. Maybe I'll get to that, this weekend.

    I'm particularly enamored of your review blog. I might switch my link to that one, if that's okay with you. :)

  13. Oh, sure whatever you prefer to see when you click on me. I don't mind really. Thanks!


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