Martha Goldenthal isn't your typical 1960s Berkeley radical. Her rebellion isn’t sex, drugs, or rock ’n’ roll―it’s doing well at Berkeley High and planning for college. Her father, Jules, is a raging batterer who, because of his own insecurities, hates academia. Not that her off-the-rails mother, Willa, is much better. Meanwhile, Jules’s classical record store, located directly across the street from the UC Berkeley campus, is ground zero for riots and tear gas. No wonder Martha has a nervous tic―a shrug of the shoulder.
Preoccupied with the family situation and barely able to concentrate, Martha plods along in school and somehow manages to achieve. But then her parents’ hideous divorce, the loss of her father’s record store and livelihood, a heartless eviction from her family home, and an unlikely custody case wind up putting Martha in Jules’s care. Can she stand up to her father and do the one thing she’s sure she must―go to college?
With its running “soundtrack” of classical recordings and rock music and its vivid scenes of Berkeley at its most turbulent, Shrug is the absorbing, harrowing, and ultimately uplifting story of one young woman’s journey toward independence.
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10
Plot: The author offers up a brilliant, if at times disturbing, story that flows smoothly and evenly, is entirely plausible, and hits its mark.
Prose/Style: Beautifully written, this tale demonstrates the author's mastery of language, storyline, and characterization. The reader is literally captivated from the first sentence through until the end. Superbly done.
Originality: This book features a unique story with distinct and original characters, as well as a plotline that holds the reader's interest throughout.
Character Development: The characters here are identifiable and relatable, and the reader will sympathize with Martha and all that she endures. Her impact on the reader continues long after the last page.
Blurb: Gripping from beginning to end, this beautifully written work is impossible to put down.
Date Submitted: April 04, 2019