Wanda's Reviews > A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
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's review
Jun 08, 10

did not like it
Read from June 05 to 07, 2010 — I own a copy

Ok, I got to page 267 of this book and I figured that life was too short to go ahead with this torture. What was the Pulitzer committee thinking when they awarded the prize to this DREADFUL book? I found it so excrutiatingly dull as to be an exercise in nothing more than endurance. Smiley's story of the decline of an Iowa farm family is ostensibly based on King Lear. In reality it has no remote resemblance to King Lear, who was a sympathetically tragic character – perhaps one of his greatest. And the daughters – rather than being based on the odious Goneril and Regan, are truly distorted beyond recognition. Shakespere’s story and characters are deeply resonant and well developed. The issues in King Lear involve complex human relationships and interactions. Not so with these farm folks. Smiley’s characters were (gasp!) abused by this Iowa patriarch– you can see this coming a mile away. Not that abuse is not a real problem, but it has been a bit overdone, and overdone, and overdone. There is nothing fresh or new about this rendering of an overdone topic. And the final indignity to one’s intellect -- there is a stupid scene in which one of them all of a sudden remembers this repressed memory – shades of the recovered memory movement. Blah, baloney, balderdash.
In page after boring page, nothing whatever of any significance happens. To make things worse, Smiley’s tedious prose resembles something from an 8th grade lesson in creative writing. She describes everything – everything, every covered dish at the social, every vegetable in the garden. This would be OK, but these details play no discernible role in the story, except to add more pages to the book. Once again, I have found an author who is in serious need of a good editor.
If your book club votes on this one, skip that meeting. You will be happy you did not waste your time.
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Reading Progress

06/05 page 133
35.85% "Have any of my friends read this book? I picked it up for one of my book clubs and can't figure out what the Pulitzer committee was thinking. So far it is BORING beyond comprehension."
02/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Merry (new)

Merry Love your honesty my friend Wanda! Great review - just tell it like it is, I depend on honest reviews to make my selections and I thank you :)

message 2: by Empress5150 (new)

Empress5150 Thanks for the warning!

BTW, that whole "repressed memory" thing drove me up the wall.

As Don Henley wrote in a song entitled, "Get Over It", "I want to find your inner child and kick its little ass!"

Wanda Indeed!

message 4: by Tippy (new)

Tippy Jackson Hey! Random comment, but since you liked King Lear so much, have you ever read Fool by Christopher Moore? I found it hilarious and awesome and it is based on King Lear (from the fool's point of view). Good stuff.

Peggy I can't see why so many people like it. I agree totally with you.

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