The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 May 2019

Member Reviews

Having loved Ruth Hogan's last book,I was so excited to she what she did here. 

This is a heartwarming yet heartbreaking kind of book, but something many people can relate to. Life. Love. Heartbreak. Grief. All done with such astute charm and character.
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This was an enchanting book that I really enjoyed. It dealt with life and grief. There were some sad parts in the book but also parts that made me joyful. I think that this book will be one that my patrons will enjoy at the library. I know many people liked her first book. The keeper of lost things.. Cant wait for it to come out.
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Sally Red Shoes, given this name because of her red shoes. She's eccentric, feeds the crowd bread, sings to the tombstones, confuses her words. Yet she is a woman of stage wisdom. Live life to the fullest, enjoy where you are, what you're doing and who you're with. Especially, don't worry about what people think.
Masha is a psychotherapist. She lost a son when he was two. No body was found. They believe he drowned.  She blames herself.
Alice is a single parent with a teenage son. She has also been diagnosed with cancer. She has a lot to get in order before she dies.
Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. 
This is wonderfully written book. The characters are "alive" and relatable. Awesome storyline. 
Extraordinary! A definite must read!!
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This novel was intricately layered with emotion and tough subjects. Marsha struggled to find happiness after a tragedy took her young son from her. She only felt peace when walking through the cemetery or when she practiced drowning herself. The characters she meets along her journey further address the complexity of human emotions: mental illness, love, guilt, loss of identity, cancer. The list goes on.
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Masha lost her only child Gabriel in a drowning accident more than a decade ago. She finds comfort when she visits her local Victorian cemetery regularly. It becomes part of her grieving process. This is where she meets Sally Red Shoes, a fascinating bag lady who has a love of birds and has lots of wisdom to impart.

Alice is the mom of a teenager and she is terminally ill with cancer.

I found the book boring more than anything else. The story did not interest me and the writing style fell flat for me. The ending was abrupt and felt rushed. I struggled to get through the book.
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A beautiful story of love, loss, friendship and family. This is not only a story of a woman's grief but also of hope and laughter,
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Wow! An absolute gem of a story. The cover, title and author all called my name when I saw this and was not disappointed. It’s a story of death, sickness, grief and guilt told with just enough humor thanks to 3 lovable, quirky women. It was slow going at first but the storytelling became very engaging and the prose kept me enchanted. I found myself pausing and reflecting on many occasions on the quiet bits of wisdom, of which there are many.
I would like to thank Net Gallery for an ARC of this novel and I’d especially like to thank the author Ruth Hogan for writing such a gem while fighting your own battle with cancer.
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This story of Masha, is one that I think of most of us can identify with. Tragedies seem to be a very challenging part of life. So when I read that Masha, a strong, independent person, had suffered a tragedy so great, that it severely affected her life, I was eager to see how things turned out for her.

When she meets two very different women, Kitty and Sally Red Shoes, life as Masha knew it, changes for her in ways that she never imagined. I really got into this story, mostly because I felt for the main character, and just wanted everything to work out for her.

Ruth Hogan gave the reader, a story well worth reading, right from the very first words, to the end full stop. I loved how she made the reader feel as if you were there, living everyday with Masha. It inspired me to be grateful for what I have.
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Who could guess that a baglady could bring such change to one's life?  A thoughtful, surprisingly, richly peopled novel studded with poignant and captivating moments.
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hat a beautiful story about love loss and learning to to live again. This is an incredibly moving story about learning to live life to the fullest after suffering a loss of someone you love. The characters are beautifully written and and intriguing. The main character has suffered the loss of her child and this story is her journey through the grieving process and learning to dance again. It is set amongst a beautiful cast or eccentric characters who will grow to love and be genuinely fond of. It is not a depressing book but rather uplifting. I saw the end coming but in a slow follow the bread crumbs kind of way. My only disappointment was the ending. I understand why it ended it where it ended and the point of the story was taken but I wanted MORE. I was ready to follow these characters further through this life and I wanted to see everyone’s story fully play out. If you have ever experienced a loss this is a book for you. I want to thank Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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March 15, 2019 
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan 

A special thank you to NetGalley, and Crooked Lane Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book so much I immediately wanted to read it over again! This story was written to perfection from the opening line to the amazing ending. The language is beautiful, yet I found myself skipping over some of the poems and impressive vocabulary to race through the story! Another reason to read it again!

“Life is full of small joys if you know where to look for them.”

What I particularly loved about this book is there was intrigue and mystery from the very start. There was no dump of back-story to weigh it down, yet each concise chapter leaked another clue. It was very much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. And I LOVE jigsaw puzzles. 

The introduction of the main characters in the opening chapters set the stage pretty quickly around graveyards, swimming pools, and the subject of drowning. Masha appears to be obsessed with them all. Masha spends a great deal of time wandering the graveyard with or without her dog Haizum, having conversations with the occupants of the various grave sites. She considers them ‘my Family on the Other Side.’

As the stories unfold for “Sally”, Masha, Alice, and Mattie, (in order of introduction) the theme of death, grief, and dark secrets begins to evolve. 

“When the music ends for someone you love you don’t stop dancing. You dance for them as well.” 

It was right around Chapter 50, I was lying in bed, my mind turning over the chapters I’d read the night before, when I had the AH HA moment!! So much for sleeping in! 

At that point, I was excited to finish it, to see if I am right, and at the same time afraid I am! For the next couple of chapters, I convinced myself I was mistaken, but then another clue. Reading it on my Kindle, I was beginning to hyperventilate at the 95% mark. HOW was she going to finish this in so few pages? The ending was PERFECT!!!!! I couldn’t believe the beautiful way Ruth completed the story.

I laughed, I cried, I wondered, and I loved. All of the things a great read should do for you!
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A story that makes you cry and them marvel at the human spirit ability to recover and move on.  A story that explores death and grief and love and friendship. It took me a few chapters to get caught up in the story and understand the messages the author was sending but once I got it I could not put this down.
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Kindle Copy from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books

I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review. 

A chance meeting starts a memorable friendship.  A story of resilience among a group of meeting facing their immortality as it sweeps you on an unlikely journey.  

Be swept up in the magic as the characters take you on a trip of a lifetime.   Engaging read as well as the characters who come to light.
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What a beautiful and emotional book this was for me.  I too could have used the wisdom of Sally Red Shoes.  I loved the quirky characters and empathized very much with Masha. I highly recommend this story to anyone who has experienced loss and grief.  Let Sally Red Shoes come into your life.  Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I loved this book!  The female characters were very strong and endured through hardships by finding each other.  There was a point where I wondered if there was a deeper connection between Masha and Alice, and it ended up I was right.  A beautiful ending of survival through friendship and love.  I will definitely recommend this to others.
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Dressed in an oversized, worn coat and wearing scuffed red Mary Jane shoes, an old woman visits the cemetery. She is eccentric. She smiles. She "enunciates her expletives beautifully". Soon she will leave the cemetery, bag of bread crumbs in hand, and feed the crows in the park. It appears that the cemetery is a place of comfort. For Masha, "the cemetery is [my] her sanctuary" as well.

Every week, Masha swims in the Charleston Lido Pool. Actually, she goes there to drown...almost. As a self-professed authority on drowning, she swims underwater and holds her breath as a means of "self-inflicted waterboarding". She is riddled with grief and guilt over the drowning death of her two year old son, Gabriel. While the cemetery is her sanctuary, the pool is her penance. For twelve years, Masha has been "...caught in a rip current of grief and struggling against it gets me nowhere". Haizum, her Irish Wolfhound, is her constant companion and lifeline, that is, until she crosses paths with the old woman that Masha will refer to as "Sally Red Shoes".

According to Sally, "Life is full of small joys if you know where to look for them...even in the darkest of times and places" "Her idiosyncrasies are strangely comforting". Surprisingly, Sally sings an aria in Italian to a group of Italian headstones while Haizum, the dog, tries to harmonize with her. Sally "...shouts and swears, sings to dead people...she is like a naughty best friend...". Is it possible for Masha to take small, forward moving steps to live life to the fullest instead of to just survive?

"The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes" by Ruth Hogan is a rollercoaster of a ride. "Grief is not a linear thing". Masha with Haizum in tow, visits the cemetery regularly finding some measure of peace spending time with the departed. She tends the graves of those who never receive visitors. The novel is not heavy-handed by any means. "Edith Piaf" is the name of Masha's green and white Citroen, a small French car with huge headlamps. There are many witty and laugh out loud passages. Ruth Hogan's sophomore novel is totally engaging. It is a heartfelt, emotional read. Despite the depths of despair, life can go on if you embrace it. An excellent read.

Thank you Crooked Lane Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes".
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The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes is a charming book about giving yourself a second chance. Masha has been mourning the death of her young son for over a decade, simply moving from one day to the next. She comes across an eccentric older woman in the cemetery (Sally Red Shoes) and begins thinking more about her own life and her impact on those around her. Together with an expanding, caring network, she begins the tentative steps of starting to live her life as Masha again, and not just Gabriel's mom. 

Running parallel to Masha's story is a story about Alice and her son, Mattie. Hogan weaves this in as we follow Masha's journey.  I would have liked to get a little more background on Alice and Sally in the book, especially Sally. However, I do understand that would have made the book quite long! 

I also am not sure how I feel about the ending, but the overall message of the book will stay with me for a long time. I have not read Ruth Hogan's first novel, but will make that my goal over the next few months! (I would also love a sequel to this book to see where Masha goes!) Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for a copy of this book to review. 
#TheWisdomOfSallyRedShoes #NetGalley
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First of all, I love the cover! So lovely. I won't say that I didn't enjoy the book, I just think maybe I wasn't in the right place to read it right now. My favorite parts included the quirkiness of the characters and humor in such a dark storyline but I just can't move past the heaviness. Just because I wouldn't give this the highest rating, doesn't mean that I wouldn't read more for this author. I haven't finished 'The Keeper of Lost Things' but have really enjoyed it so far (it's just quite a drastic difference from this one.) As I said in the beginning of my review, I just don't think I was in the right mindset for this storyline!
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There is no single genre into which this book will neatly fit.  It is a feast of skilled observation and writing as varied as a smorgasbord.  The primary course is as moving a portrait of loss and grief as I have ever read.  However, Hogan crafts so many witty and clever descriptions and scenes that I laughed out loud many times, and even began marking passages to re-read or share later, only to realize that much of the book is now highlighted. The novel serves up an especially sweet and sensitive handling of people who are flawed and complicated, yet compelling, and worth trying to understand. The book covers the slow loss of control that aging or illness can effect.  Finally, Hogan also manages to create an intriguing mystery with red herrings, plot twists, and an utterly satisfying conclusion which ties all the threads together.  The unusual cast of characters is carefully and slowly revealed.  Likewise the storyline, told from shifting viewpoints, moves inexorably toward the delicious resolution.  Five oh-so-delectable stars from me.
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I don't think I was in the right place to read this book. Death and mourning are not something I care to read at this time. I loved Ruth Hogan's first novel and maybe later I will read this one again and like it.
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