Book "Over" Review- Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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I finally finished Paula McLain's book Circling the Sun. Oh man, I thought I would never get into it!  I had the hardest time connecting with the characters. Fiiinally I started to really like Beryl (the main character) and actually enjoyed the book. Part of the problem was that I was listening to the book on my phone instead of reading it myself. I am a pretty fast reader and I can finish a book quickly so listening to "slower" books can be torture. The positive side of listening to Circling the Sun was that pronouncing some of those words would have been near impossible for me but luckily the narrator did it for me, woohoo! Also, like I've mentioned before, my commute is very loooong and listening to audiobooks saves my sanity. So enough rambling, let's get into this book over review.

Close your eyes and imagine this scene (well keep them open so you can read, but pretend to close them lol)... a vast amount of open space, a young naive girl being raised by her horse-trainer father, and a rich European community buying up land to live with no real rules or restrictions. This was Kenya in the 1920's. Beryl is the young girl and is the main character of the book. When reading, you grow with Beryl from an adolescent learning the ins and outs of horse-training to her quick push into adulthood at a very early age.  Beryl's rough edges and unconventional childhood made it hard for me to identify with her as a person and especially with her decisions. I had quite the disconnect with her in the beginning but was then pulled into her story, and what a rough and bumpy story.

Beryl dove head first into married life at the age of 16. She was in a tough situation with her father losing the farm and decided to do what made the most sense at the time. This turned disastrous quickly. While reading, I kept thinking that she should stick it out but as Beryl proves time and time again, she can't be tied to something/ someone she doesn't fully believe in. Every turn in her life seems to take her down another emotional roller coaster where she comes out damaged and also hurting those around her. Love is especially one of the those areas that tugs at your heart and makes you want to say, "Nooo, don't do that!" or "WHY?!?!"  She overcame every obstacle in her life even though some of them cost her dearly. Her life was lived to the fullest as a woman who couldn't be tied down to the society norms including becoming a horse-trainer and a pilot, which was almost unheard of at that time.

I spent most of the book switching from admiring her, envying her boldness, and wanting to shake her and yell "STOP!" Her story is proof that freedom comes at a cost and it's up to you to decide if the risk is worth it. If you asked me two weeks ago if this book was worth reading I would have said no but now my answer would definitely change. This book is a must-read. It was just so different from the typical story I am drawn to. That's probably why I had such a tough time sinking my teeth in. Thank goodness I am stubborn and was unwilling to "quit" the book because my long journey into the story was worth it in the end. Paula McLain tends to be long winded in her writing, which I can relate to (haha), but she has such an incredible gift of setting a scene that it makes every word worth it. Go out and buy this book asap, but maybe just don't listen to it on audiobook :)

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

What should I read next??

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