Sum of Our Days, The

Allende, Isabel

  3 Reviews

Structured as a letter addressed to the author's daughter Paula, who died at the age of 28. Paula's death and the yearlong coma that preceded it were the subject of Allende's first memoir Paula. In this memoir, Isabel Allende reconstructs the painful reality of her own life in the wake of her tragic loss. Recalling the past thirteen years from the daily letters the author and her mother wrote to each other. She recounts the stories of the eccentric, strong-minded and eclectic tribe she has gathered around her. [Small font]

Comments from Groups

As a group, we agreed that Allende has a great writing style. Each chapter was complete, We discussed at length the 'family' / 'tribe' of different cultures. Isobel was the true matriach involved in all aspects of each family member. Tauranga 009

We enjoyed this book more than we were expecting to. The dicussion was varied and we thought the author showed touches of real humour amidst a life marked with highs and lows. Auckland 226

We had very mixed feelings about it ... it was certainly interesting! .... The book did stimulate a lively discussion, at first concerning the book itself and then about families and tribes. We all seemed to have strong feelings about these, so determined that the book was a worthwhile read as it stimulated thought. Wellington 062

We thought the book entertaining in the main, but considered that the author rather padded out the last third.... Rotorua 006



WELL 134
Everyone had the same opinion of this book - found it easy to read, but Isabel's frenetic lifestyle and her wish to 'tribalise' all her family and some friends was rather overwhelming. It is such a personal story and she probably said more than she needed to about the individuals and their personal relationships, but then our NZ culture is very different from her Latin- American background. The notes were helpful.
Most of the group did not enjoy this book. They found Allende an unlikeable character and her involvement in her family intrusive and overbearing. Although 5 of the group did not finish the book, we did have a lively discussion about relationships within our families, and the boundaries we observe between generations.
Most people didn't enjoy this as much as her fiction books. The first half was mainly about Paula, and it probably would have helped to have read 'Paula' first. The second half was better as it was about the rest of the family and friends.