Nyssa Silvester's Reviews > The Swan House

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser
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's review
Jun 29, 2011

it was ok
Read from June 12 to 27, 2011

Like many readers have already mentioned, the premise was more satisfying than the execution. The Swan House is set in Atlanta in the 1960s and purportedly examines the racial tensions in the city through the perspective of a teenage girl from a wealthy family. Mary Swan Middleton learns the errors of her prejudices through her service in inner-city Atlanta and also discovers a newly awakened Christian faith. A book with good intentions, but with major flaws.

First of all, Musser loves to talk about the same subject at length--and when I say length, I mean about one hundred pages dedicated to the immediate aftermath of a plane crash in which the protagonist's mother was killed. Yes, that's a very sad event, but not one that I want to spend 25 percent of the book on. And the prose isn't very graceful: as one reviewer said, it sounds like the entire book was written by a sixteen-year-old girl. The book is overly preachy, and the detail about the boys that Mary Swan is interested in gets old fast. I couldn't sympathize with Mary Swan's torment about finding out more about her mother. It just didn't seem like a big deal to me at all, and so those moments of introspection seemed very indulgent.

The book has a good heart, but it's pumping through some very shriveled veins. The prose is a disappointment to the premise, and the book does not have my recommendation.

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06/12/2011 page 28
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Barbara I t was supposed to sound like it was written by a sixteen year old girl, as that's what the narrator was.

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