Elle's Reviews > The Sparrow

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
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's review
Nov 14, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: audiobook, book-club
Read from July 29 to August 01, 2012

I wanted to like this book but didn't. Whether it is the unbelievable characters, the tedious foreshadowing that really was boring rather than titillating or the horrid plot line (they didn't have any plans of what to do when they got there? Seriously?!) Even the "witty" dialogue seemed exaggerated and like something out of a comic book.

Matt Reynolds review said it best: Her characters are all little more than caricatures, with the sort of exaggerated easily identifiable physical features that you’d expect of characters in a comic book or role-playing game. The physicist is 6’6” and scarecrow thin. The mathematician is a petite and impossibly beautiful ex-prostitute. The pilot is impossibly ugly and speaks such an exaggerated Texan slang that the portrayal is embarrassingly close to racism. The main character Emilio is a roguishly charming and impossibly handsome Jesuit priest. He’s essentially an agnostic that wants to believe, who hubristically seizes on the mission to another world as a way to reconcile his own lack of faith in his God. His chief sounding board, and seemingly the author’s chief voice, is Anne – a 64 year old silver haired but still sexually precocious doctor and hostess who is always ready with wit and wine. Both characters seem to be someone’s fantasy rather than real people, and tellingly Anne’s husband George is the least well drawn and least independent of the central characters.

This had a lot of promise in the beginning but, for me, it just fell apart.

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