Rachel's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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's review
May 17, 2010

it was ok
Read from May 17 to June 07, 2010

I try really hard not to judge one book against another just because they share an author; as far as I'm concerned, books are apples and oranges, unique and separate from each other because of distinctive inherent qualities.

*huge intake of breath before I say the next sentence really really fast* But The Time Traveler's Wife was so good! *sigh* And Her Fearful Symmetry was so...not. I know, I know, apples and oranges. Obviously, we've got two different specimens here, with completely different subjects, characters, plotlines, etc. But I was expecting, at least to some degree, the same depth of feeling, the same careful attention to character development, the same kick-you-in-the-face powerful affirmation of life and love. Symmetry is a love story, of sorts, but never seems to ring true in the way that Niffinegger was able to accomplish with Traveler's Henry and Clare, and for that I must admit I was quite disappointed.

A brief synopsis: twin American sisters Julia and Valentina receive some money and an apartment in England from their recently deceased Aunt Elspeth, twin to their mother Edie. The girls go to live in England for a year and soon learn that their apartment is already inhabited by a ghost. The story only gets stranger from there, and through a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant events you arrive at the end of the book feeling as if nobody ended up with who or what they wanted (except for perhaps dear OCD upstairs neighbor Martin and his saucy Marijke, really the only redeeming relationship in the novel). I felt tricked into thinking that Niffenegger had included certain supernatural elements so that certain characters could achieve lifelong happiness with and/or without certain other characters and well, that just didn't happen. Niffenegger's dialogue is as natural as ever and she maintained a nice frosty tone throughout, for which she deserves credit, but mostly every other detail about this book is unsatisfying on all levels.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Diana Dear, dear. I had a feeling it would end up this way. Thanks for letting me know. :)

Rachel It really was a letdown.

(Sorry for the annoying formatting issues in my review, by the by. Fixed now.)

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