Laurel's Reviews > Strange Fits of Passion

Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve
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's review
Sep 30, 2011

liked it
Read from September 21 to 27, 2011

I read this book for a book group, otherwise I would never have chosen a book about domestic violence myself. The story was compelling but I am not a Shreve fan. As in her past books, the characters are unlikable and I feel she is a very manipulative, intrusive author. The characters feel like puppets on a stage; I never feel transported by the writing. In this case, the narrative is intentionally disjointed because the bulk of the story is related in a series of writings and interviews by the major and minor players in the tragedy. These versions of the truth are then distorted by a reporter into an expose that makes her career. I found the take-away message depressing and at odds with my opinion of human nature. The characters were unable to overcome their base desires which seems to be excused in some way by their personal circumstances or time in which they lived (ca. 1970, for goodness' sake). I prefer to believe that even in the worst circumstances people have some control over their actions and are only doomed when they give up on themselves. No one in this sorry tale is able to rise to the challenge: a very sad commentary indeed.
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