This is basically a Harlequin Romance with a slightly more interesting plotline and very little passion. I got impatient with how none of the main cha...moreThis is basically a Harlequin Romance with a slightly more interesting plotline and very little passion. I got impatient with how none of the main characters would just spit it out instead of drawing out the Big Secret until I wanted to chuck the book across the room. I don't enjoy people who seem to want to wallow in their own misery instead of just getting on with their lives. It frustrates me to read over and over again about the "haunted look" or "the pain" in someone's eyes all the time. Self-pity is not an attractive characteristic, especially with everyone tip-toeing around eachother as if they were all made of blown glass, instead of administering a brisk slap to the face and a "Get over it!". I didn't feel any sympathy for anyone. Maybe that's just me--I'm not one to live in the past, paralyzed by regrets, but that is what all these people--with the exception of Helen, tha Amazing Blind Painter--had in common.. The final revelation of The Big Secret was not only predictable but flat and anticlimactic--is that all? Granted, it was sort of sad, but frankly I just couldn't muster up any real feeling about it, except relief that it was finally over.(less)
As Seneca the Younger once said, "There's nothing new under the sun", and The Hour Between does not challenge that assertion. Predictable, somewhat ju...moreAs Seneca the Younger once said, "There's nothing new under the sun", and The Hour Between does not challenge that assertion. Predictable, somewhat juvenile, and two-dimensional, it is the story of two "misfits" who become instant best friends at a rather preposterous boarding school in rural Connecticutt in 1967. One of the reviews on Amazon gushingly referred to the male protagonist, Arthur MacDougal, as the new Holden Caulfield, a comparison with which I not only strongly disagree but am insulted by on behalf of Catcher In The Rye fans everywhere. Holden Caulfield made a true journey, both physically and spiritually; Arthur MacDougal goes meekly along with the status quo, his one shining moment of "rebellion" being when he finally confesses to his parents that he is gay (no spoiler here,his sexual orientation is established within the first two or three pages of the first chapter, and over and over again ad infinitum after that). His parents' reaction is--wait, what reaction? A thread that goes nowhere.
Author Anita Shreve mentioned Breakfast at Tiffanys in her review--another stretch of the imagination. The main female character, Katrina Felt, is a feeble yet overblown Holiday Golightly wanna-be who doesn't inspire much beyond incredulity and impatience. At one point, apropos of absolutely nothing as far as I can tell, she adopts a kitten (just as Holly Golightly took in a stray cat) but this particular plot device also goes nowhere except to awkwardly hint at Katrina's wholly unsurprising deep dark secret.
This novel is one of NPR's "independent bookseller recommendations" so I had high hopes, especially as the very next book on the list is Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (marvelous!), but, alas, I closed the book this afternoon with relief and an overwhelming feeling of...."meh".(less)
A waste of time and money. The only thing that saved this from the dreaded One Star rating was the voice of Ben--I liked that in his narratives he spo...moreA waste of time and money. The only thing that saved this from the dreaded One Star rating was the voice of Ben--I liked that in his narratives he spoke directly to his missing sister, Calli. Otherwise it was completely predictable and filled with flat, unlikeable characters. The worst part? Totally unrealistic portrayals of 7-year old children. I mean...I don't have kids myself but I've been around my fair share of young children and apparently all the ones I know are mentally challenged because the kids in this book had reasoning and verbal skills far beyond those of most adults. I really, really hate that.(less)
Anthropology of an American Girl is...long. Often boring. Overwrought. Underedited. Peppered with unrealistic and unlikeabl...moreWhew! I'm glad that's over.
Anthropology of an American Girl is...long. Often boring. Overwrought. Underedited. Peppered with unrealistic and unlikeable people, as well as people one would have liked to get to know better if our narrator, the passive and weak Eveline, could have stopped obssessing about herself for more than 30 seconds. Disappointingly cliched. And, occassionally, rather beautiful. But I won't read it again and there are very, very few people I would recommend it to without a twinge of guilt. I skimmed pages at a time and even skipped some sections (the recounting of Eveline's various dreams---soooo tedious.) The problem is, all sorts of things happen, but Eveline remains exactly the same. Her usual reaction to any stress seems to be either unemotionally fainting or lapsing into a coma. That may have worked for 18th century heroines but it fails utterly in this account of the life of a 20th century American girl. This book is really just a trite, thinly-plotted romance novel masquerading as a Work of Great Literature. I sound like I hated it---I didn't. As I've previously stated, there were moments of true brilliance and incredible beauty, but they were hidden amongst the pages and pages of angst-ridden, long-winded melodrama. (less)