Biloxi

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

This book was not really my cup of tea, but I can see its appeal to readers who like unlikely romances.
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I requested the book so as to consider it for editorial feature on BookBrowse. For me, it did not resonate, but I can see that it would have its audience.
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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The novel builds slowly, but the hopeful ending makes it worth the read.  It is sweet to see the transformation of protagonist once he finds a companion.  Love heals.
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This is a view of a 63 year old man who has simply given up on life.  His father has died and his wife has left him.  He barely knows his married daughter nor his granddaughter even though they live just 20 minutes away. He’d taken early retirement from his insurance job.  His friends have abandoned him.  Everyone or everything that was important to him has either left or rejected him.  He is a study in loneliness, hopelessness and despair.  He tries to find a “new life” in various ways, including helping others, but is thwarted at each turn by some form of failure or reversal.

I found the descriptions of his life to be very poignant and spot on.  His attempts at reclaiming life are also true to reality.  His favorite TV show, "Naked and Afraid" fit perfectly with what his life had become.  It was a sad and tragic expose which, unfortunately, has become prevalent in our society.

The plotting was somewhat lacking and the ending was a bit too pat, but in spite of these negatives, it was a book which spoke to me.  It’s well worth reading – especially for senior citizens.  Actually, I’m not sure the younger crowd would understand it.

I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, LiveRight Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.
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Akin to Oblomov by Goncharov, this book spends many words on little plot. I assume the author is attempting to express that one's attitude is all important but I could be wrong. Sixty-three year old Louis is newly divorced and newly retired. He is expecting a large inheritance from his father's estate as he is also newly orphaned. 

Louis engages in bizarre fantasies, adopts a dog and tries to 'adopt' its owner, a woman who moves in for awhile and robs him. Louis' only positive characteristic seems to be that he is trying to establish a more positive relationship with his daughter and granddaughter and eventually decides not to wallow in self-pity and misery. 
Dr. Cheryl Youse
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Biloxi was a mixed bag for me.  Readers are presented with Louis McDonald Jr., a highly unlikable '60-something divorcee who is struggling with a whole host of things, including the emotional rejection of the divorce, the death of his father, and his advancing age.  In an attempt to avoid a potentially awkward run-in with his ex, Louis takes a detour and ends up stopping by a house with a "free dogs" sign and taking one home.

The story that follows is of course a tale of redemption as Louis learns to love again because of his new furry friend.  Or, that's what we're conditioned to think.  These sorts of books always have some sort of sweet plot like that.  But, in this case, it's a little different.  The dog, Layla, certainly changes Louis, but as a reader, I struggle to say that he is better because of it.  As I said before, Louis is highly unlikable.  He's blunt, he's mean, and oftentimes, his behavior is shocking.  A particular scene that jumps to mind happens about halfway through the book.  Louis has convinced himself that he's in love with a man's wife (even though he's never seen her and knows nothing about her--not even her name).  So, he tries to get close to her by pretending to be a door-to-door evangelizer for the local Baptist church.  And to do that, he goes to said church and takes all of their religious pamphlets and instead of heeding the "suggested donation" gives a flat payment that is much less than the cost of the pamphlets and leaves.  He then uses said pamphlets to get the woman to open the door and invite him inside.

By the end of the book, I rather liked Louis, but I can't say if it was because he had changed enough as a person, or if I had grown accustomed to him, or because the other characters he's faced with are actually worse than he was.  Every trope that you'd expect from a book like this: Curmudgeon finds dog and it fixes his life, he falls in love, etc. falls flat.  Louis is not a better person by the end of the book, his life is not fixed, and love doesn't really work out in the way that he had been hoping.  I can't tell if this was accidental or intentional.  If it was intentional, it was brilliant.

I think I would like this book a whole lot more if I knew the intentions.  Was it meant to be a social commentary, or a commentary of this genre of book?  If so, then it was a brilliant piece.  It completely turns the genre on its head, and as something of a curmudgeon myself, I loved it.  But, if it was meant to be another saccharine romance, then it completely missed the mark.  Still, for what it's worth, it was a highly entertaining piece, and I as I was given a physical ARC of the book, I might actually keep it, which is something I don't often do.

Three stars for good intentions but interesting execution.
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A charming tale! For anyone who enjoyed A Man Called Ove, you'll be sure to love Biloxi.  It felt like a coming of age for old people (I'm 65, so I know), but that didn't exactly make sense. Then towards the end, Louis, our protagonist, describes it as his three-quarter-life crisis. That was closer to what I was looking for, but not quite. Because Louis doesn't try to recapture his youth, he just starts to enjoy his life, he gets comfortable in his own skin.

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.  #Biloxi #Netgalley
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I've never been the kind of person to annotate or highlight passages in books--something about that practice always made me feel a bit like a vandal--but BILOXI by Mary Miller changed me in that regard. Throughout this charming and delightful novel I found myself marveling at the author's turns of phrase and her wry observations of human (and animal) behavior, and in turn, tapping the highlight button on my Kindle to mark the passages for future reference. 

As a recently retired 61-year-old man, I felt the parallels between myself and the main character, Louis, all too well. Kudos to Ms. Miller for capturing all the loneliness, anxiety, and indecision of the senior male experience. (I'm curious to find out just exactly how she pulled that one off!) I came away from the book with the same feeling I had when I finished Fredrick Bachman's A Man Called Ove: richer for the experience. I think you will too. This one is a perfect choice for book clubs.
This review is based on a digital ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. BILOXI will be published on May 21, 2019.
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A poignant novel about a dog coming into the life of a man called Louis and making that life less empty.
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