Sarah Beth's Reviews > Here on Earth

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
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's review
Mar 24, 2012

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Read from March 22 to 24, 2012

I know I'm less than enthused about a book when I set down to write a review and can't think of much to say. Here on Earth is about March, who returns to her hometown after twenty years away and falls back into an unhealthy relationship with Hollis, the love of her youth. Meanwhile, her daughter Gwen falls for her first cousin Hank. Hollis was horrible. He was cruel and abusive. You can't help who you love, I get that. And I understand that Hoffman was attempting to portray a deep, powerful love that was stronger than all else, but I did fault March for allowing her daughter to be abused by Hollis and not stopping him.

Every single relationship in this novel is twisted and unhappy. I'm not sure what Hoffman was trying to say about love, but she seems to mostly be saying that it often is painful more than anything else and it rarely if ever works out. First there's March and Hollis, true love that is separated for 20 years only to reunite despite March's marriage and Hollis' abusive ways. Then Hank and Gwen whose relationship is incestuous but no one seems to care. Other examples include Judith Dale and Bill Justice who are secretly in love for years but can never be together because Bill is married, although his wife knows about his affair and is secretly heartbroken. Then there's Alan, March's brother, who lost his wife in a fire and now is an alcoholic who calls himself Coward and lives in a shack. It's a shit life for these people. Not to mention the tragic ending of the novel.

This is the first novel I've read by Alice Hoffman. She has a distinctive writing style, and her third person narration flows from one point of view to another from paragraph to paragraph. However, the plot she tells was less than thrilling from me. Too dark, dreary, and no clear reason for why Hoffman makes the choices she does.

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