Johanna's Reviews > Moonlight in Odessa

Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles
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Apr 13, 2011

did not like it
Read from April 13 to May 04, 2011

I had to read this novel for a writer's workshop I am attending, where the author will be running some of the sessions.

I hated it. It encapsulated so many of my pet hates in writing. Most significantly, it often assumed that the reader was a little bit... dim, and needed the author to butt in and explain things. For instance, when a character visits another character's house, they leave their shoes by the door. We do not need the author to then throw themselves into the narrative (interrupting the first person narration) to explain that in Ukraine, people always take their shoes off when they enter a house. I mean REALLY.

Another disappointing aspect of this novel: Although half the book was set in Ukraine, I feel that I learned very little about the culture, the history and the people, which is a real shame.

The 'Discussion Questions' at the back made me shudder even further, with such questions as, "Who is your favourite character in the book and why? Who is your least favourite character?" and, "What advice would you give to a forien woman traveling to America to marry a stranger?". Dear oh dear.

Still, she got published. And this book is a best-seller. So I will keep my ears open to her advice...
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