I didn't get more than about a third of the way through this novel; the problem is that the plot was so frustratingly mediocre, even poor in many ways...moreI didn't get more than about a third of the way through this novel; the problem is that the plot was so frustratingly mediocre, even poor in many ways, that I could not understand how it gets such positive reviews by so many people.
The book is narrated by the main character, Violet, and it starts out with the, "oh, life is so haaaaaarrrrrd!" refrain and never stops. She has "cutely" disobedient children that know that they can push her around by whining until they get what they want. She has male coworker that is a hostile working environment lawsuit waiting to happen, and her boss—also female—more than tolerates it, she enables it by setting rules against "bad mouthing" coworkers.
The mystery? It took me a while to realize exactly what it was supposed to be, not because it wasn't obvious, but because it was just so...tritely handled by the author that I though there had to be something more substantial coming. Violet wants to solve the mystery of disappearing children because her daughter matches the profile of the other girls who have vanished, but when she gets what could be considered evidence that the police should know about, she wrings her metaphorical hands and whines, "But what if I'm wrong?" So she just hangs onto it. Added to the fact that a lot of questions could have been answered if she had just asked them means that the reader is left feeling like Violet is a total, utterly ineffectual pseudo-adult who should be locked in a padded room for her own safety.
I could not make myself empathize, let alone like any of the characters in this book. I kept thinking that I needed to give the novel more of a chance and kept forcing myself to read more, but I couldn't take more than 15 minutes at a time and when I did get about a third of the way through it I decided that it had more chances than it deserved.
1. Yes, life is hard, but I felt that as the reader I was a captive audience to Violet's pity party. 2. Jane, Violet's boss, supposedly keeps Violet's offensive male coworker on because he's a good realtor and makes money for the firm. This doesn't fly, however, because just one hostile working environment lawsuit would more than offset whatever profits Ray brings in. (less)
It is very hard for me to choose between two and three stars for this novel--I rarely enjoy political fiction, and this book is no different in that r...moreIt is very hard for me to choose between two and three stars for this novel--I rarely enjoy political fiction, and this book is no different in that respect.
Still, at its core, this novel is a murder mystery and the political elements that should support the mystery are more like a side-plot which could have mostly been edited out.
I struggled to finish this book; while I was reading it I was a little reluctant to put it down, but whenever I had set it aside for more than an hour I found myself far more than "a little reluctant" to pick it up again. It finally took me a couple of weeks to read this book--I'm glad I did, but I cannot recommend it.(less)