Pam's Reviews > The Book of Human Skin

The Book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric
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May 14, 2012

it was ok

While I didn't hate this book I wasn't particularly enamoured of it either. The reviews on the front of the book made it out to be some sort of scandalous tale that pushes the boundaries of acceptable narrative with a dark humour. Was this book dark, yes ... ironically humorous ... not at all. I think the largest problem I had with this book is that I really couldn't find a character with whom to place my sympathies. Many of the characters (Minguillo and Sor Loreta) were downright deplorable and were not intended to be sympathetic. The characters who were supposed to garner my sympathy, however, also fell short for me. While I did feel sorry for Marcella and what happened to her at the hand of her brother, the passiveness with which she accepted everything made it hard for me to sympathize with her. As for Gianni, the way his character was written kept making me hear his voice as having a cockney accent, which kept annoying me that I apparently had a Italian servant speaking cockney on my hands. I get why Lovric chose to write his voice differently as we was supposed to be lower class, but the distinct English flair to the way she wrote his voice was not really effective. I also find I can only stomach books where everything goes wrong for so long. Don't get me wrong, I love a good tragedy, but a skilled tragedy will give the readers points of rest before dragging us down further. In this book everything went wrong, all the time to the point that I found myself reading the end before finishing the book just so I had some hope going forward. All in all it was an interesting look into the historical time period and I really liked the description of the Chilean nunneries as I do not know a lot about the history of Chile. This history, however, was not enough to lift the drudgery I felt trying to read this book.
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