Victoria's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
Apr 27, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: book-club, chicago, lit-fic, twins
Read from April 21 to 22, 2010 , read count: 1

Well, this was certainly a good choice for this month's book club book since it sparked a lot of interesting discussion! Though, I must admit, that I personally, did not like this book very much. It felt like a Victorian Sweet Valley Twins ghost story... And I must add add that SVH plots had more mature motivations that sheer selfishness like the characters in this book. I just found it unsettling that a book intended for a more literary audience than 12 year olds had a less sophisticated character structure and plot. Julia and Valentina were too emotionally stunted to be believable as characters, and this obsessive love between them was somehow coldly absent of love.
I do not really want to compare this to The Time Traveler's Wife, but I do not see a way to avoid it. Had I not known they were written by the same author I do not know that I would have guessed it. Mostly because The Time Traveler's Wife was such an emotional, "warm" book and Her Fearful Symmetry was dispassionate and cold. I did like the intricate backdrop (the Highgate Cemetery) for this latest novel, but I prefer the characters to have more charm and appeal than the setting.
There were definite aspects to this book that I did enjoy, such as Elspeth's acclimation to her new situation, as well as Martin's OCD (though I was not satisfied with the resolution). The pacing of the beginning of the book was so different from the end of the book, that the two halves most certainly did not display symmetry. Niffenegger's research was quite evident, but for her third book, I hope that she spends less time in the library and more time on construction believable and sympathetic characters and a more intricate plot.The Time Traveler's Wife

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