Reflective prose, family anecdotes, poems, extracts from plays and novels, even a recipe or two - each one a patch signifying a year of a life, 88 in all and still counting - a quilt stitching together the life of New Zealand poet and playwright Renee.
With depth and breadth, this fascinating and uniquely distinctive memoir combines clever writing with an astute social commentary of NZ society and the fascinating details of a courageous life lived to the full. [Larger font]
The group, on the whole, were disappointed, finding it impersonal for a memoir. Lacked detail, and jumping back and forth through time made it confusing.
All the group enjoyed the book. Found her writing style easy to read and the structure of 'patches' enabled you to read a bit and come back without losing the thread. A remarkable woman who has seen social changes. We admired her positive attitude and resilience.
Discussion was lively and prolonged over this book. Interestingly very few of us knew much about Renee until we read her book. We all felt we knew her quite well by the end! The construct of 'patchwork quilt' was much admired and most felt it made the book more intriguing. Everyone had favourite 'patches'. Generally considered to be a very interesting read and a fascinating view of Renee's life and the times she journeyed through.
Everybody enjoyed this book.
We all related to aspects of Renee's patches. We also enjoyed her writing style and the humour, the honesty and the story telling. One member read Renee's crime novel 'The Wild Card', after reading this book. Most of our group admitted they hadn't heard of Renee before reading 'These Two Hands'.
All our group, bar one, loved this book. The member who disliked it found it disjointed, random and hard to follow, but the remainder loved the structure and how it mirrored life. We appreciated Patch 47 - the writing about WEA, but no one was able to identify just one favourite. The book was so loved by 3 members that they have ordered personal copies. Thank you, Renee.
We had a good session. I had asked the members to choose a couple of 'patches' and say what resonated with them. All admired Renee, but wondered how easy she would be to have as a friend.
Enjoyed by all.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this book. We are in admiration of the author's many achievements. Recommend it to all - easy to read and the format of the book suited the author's style.
Everyone loved this book, and some recommended the podcast of Renee's reading excerpts.
We were all enthusiastic about this book - Renee's "Patches" was a very clever way of writing. Google was very helpful with details of Renee's life.
Most people enjoyed it but felt it was too long, and some patches too obscure (eg. plays, poetry) or too personal ( diary entries). An interesting aspect on NZ history. A very strong and admirable woman.
Our group enjoyed the book, although one member didn't. We all found patches that resonated with us, and many of us would like to read more of her books, and see the plays.
The majority of members enjoyed the book but a couple of people got bored or distracted. Most enjoyed the patches and the very open insight into Renee's life.
Many interesting pieces in this patchwork, with an authentic and accessible voice. Generally the group enjoyed its style, content, and long honest perspective. All commented that we would have liked to know more about some aspects and events, but that some parts could have been cut or abbreviated. Maybe a stricter editor could have made those changes.
Our group loved this book. In particular, being able to recognise so much - the places, the life experiences of the writer. And, of course, she is an inspiring woman who has lived fully, not just survived as the world has changed around her.
Enjoyable, very chatty style and easy read.
A wide range of scores -lively discussions.