Terry's Reviews > Before You Know Kindness

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
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Mar 26, 08

bookshelves: fiction

Meh. I liked "Midwives" enough to give this one a try (but mainly because I'm out of books to read, too poor to shop, and too lazy at the moment to go to the library, and this book was crammed in my nightstand from some long-ago time when someone loaned it to me). I guess what I didn't like about it is the fact that at the end of the book I sort of shrugged and said "so?"

You meet a circle of people and a tragedy occurs and then the circle of people go through the various stages of grief and...that's about it. You get to know these people pretty well, but, you don't necessarily care very much about them, especially since the one person most physically affected by the tragedy is also the most unlikable character (among several, frankly), and the author works hard, I think, to MAKE him unlikable; therefore, I don't care too much about what happens to any of them.

I also had a hard time believing a fairly sheltered, reasonably self-possessed, upper middle class Vermont-living 10-year-old (TEN!!!) would happily, willingly suck down a beer and a half a joint under the most minimal of peer pressure, but, maybe I'm just starry-eyed. I dunno. The ten-year-olds I once worked with just would have wrinkled up their noses. The middle school kids? Absolutely.

The book may have worked a little better, actually, as a young adult book, if it had focused on the 12-year-old more, now that I think of it. Well, whatever. Like I said...meh.
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message 1: by Silk (new)

Silk how disappointing. I was sort of hoping that there was another good book in this particular author. Sounds like sort of the same let down with Janet Fitch.


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