Kata's Reviews > The Women

The Women by T.C. Boyle
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Apr 19, 12

Read from March 13 to April 10, 2012

I like T.C. Boyle. I really do. Look up, I gave him two stars. You can't tell I like him, can you?

When you are fond of an author it seems to me that every time you purchase a subsequent book by that author (new release or old) you feel assured that your precious book money is being spent very wisely. People make all sorts of investments. I wonder if most of us on Goodreads consider our books the most scrutinized and cherished investments we make in our lives. It's true of me anyway. Screw my stock portfolio! What interest am I earning on that mutual fund? Oh, I don't really care. But do you know that I found a leather bound edition of The Brothers Karanazov with pencil illustrations a few weeks ago? Oh! Now that would have been a good investment indeed! I didn't buy it though because I spent all my investment money on books I have never read. It was a day of intense investing!

The Women is built on a solid concept. Look away from my two stars for a moment. Avert your eyes! No cheating...don't look at it. Boyle makes a grand attempt at detailing the account of Frank Lloyd Wright's life, monetary issues, the crazy locals, marital battles and the daily events at his home (Taliesin). The narrative is told from the perspective of a Japanese apprentice, Tadashi. I very much enjoyed Tadashi's small story line in comparison to Wright's. Go ahead, look at those two stars now. Blah! Those stars are something ugly, aren't they? Tadashi tells the history of Wright's romantic inclinations. I had a fleeting thought of "good investment" when we meet Olgivanna (Wright's last wife) but that was short lived because the novel is divided into two parts. Part one bundles three women (Olgivanna, Kitty, Mamah) into a small package. Boyle bundled the wrong women. He bundled the interesting ones! Good investment slowly sinking... Part two Tadashi introduces us to Miriam who grated painfully dull on my literary brain. Miriam and Wright's entanglement lasted eternally in this book and even poor Tadashi cannot make it the least bit interesting. My good investment had plummeted to rock bottom when Miriam's name lingered for more than a chapter and I was left with a penny stock. Boyle a penny stock!?! Oh the horror of it! The book has a redeeming quality, in that the account of Wright's life is told somewhat in reverse which does leave for a climactic ending. That gave Boyle the second star by the skin of his nose. You've seen his nose, right? Second star and further investment scrutiny for quite some time Mr. Boyle... Please do not write any more biographical fiction. Please.

I struggled to finish this book. I struggled to see my investment through to the end. Wright was without question a genius and an egoist in a very entertaining way and finding the right woman to suit him must have been very hard but those women he did choose were the dullest creatures to walk this Earth, I swear. Oprah's significant other may be more interesting. What's his name again? Just kidding.

I'm a Wisconsin resident and Wright's Taliesin is just a car ride away. I'm not fan of architecture, but I am a fan of Boyle and if Boyle had written this book in a more intriguing way I'd bet you, even with today's price of gas, I would have jumped in my car the very next weekend and gone off to visit Taliesin. A good investment book will make you do things like that.

There are books we will not understand until we have had a thorough education in the subject matter first. Then there are books we read which educate us and cause us to educate ourselves further on our own, right? The latter, more often than not, being the better investment in my opinion. My lack of education in Wright did not matter but perhaps an interest would have made this novel more appealing. My investment was a poor one. My penny stock, "The Women" did much of nothing in the way of improving my library portfolio.
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Reading Progress

03/19/2012 page 84
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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John I enjoyed your review more than I enjoyed the book. Boyle wrote another historical novel, The Road to Wellville, about Dr. John Kellogg, a medical doctor of Battle Creek, MI, who invented Corn Flakes cereal. Perhaps more fictionalized than The Women, it is more entertaining, very zany and comical. A movie was made from the book - you might enjoy watching it sometime.


Kata I'm waiting to read you review/thoughts on this book, John. Common, fess up how much you loved Miriam!


message 3: by Lynn (new) - added it

Lynn but you digress....


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