Oct 23, 07
Read in October, 2007
I wish that this book was a Choose Your Own Adventure, so that when Henry starts yapping off at the jib about seventies punk to that high school kid at the Christmas party, that you could choose, instead of having the kid listen in rapt gratefulness while Henry lists off all the bands this schmuck has to find out about, to have the kid kick him square in his unbelievably pretentious punkrocklibrarian balls.
People like this book???!
I know I threw my credibility out the window when I admitted that I read Jacqueline Susann novels, but I do have some taste, actually. And I can't prove it, you can just believe me or not believe me, but this book is completely tedious. And I like the idea of it, and I have nothing against the romance genre, but these characters are just completely grating.
This book is having the same effect on me as a Donna Tartt novel. I got all pissed off when I spent valuable hours of my life reading The Secret History as well. Also a turd, with annoying, contrived, pretentious characters.
Does anyone else think Clare is irritating, too? This Poor Little Rich girl thing is just making her completely unlikeable to me and the description of her life in Chicago and the Aragon and whatever... UGH (I am going to send Niffeneger my doctor bills from when I had to go to the emergency room to get my eyes to roll back down out of my head). It's just SO manipulative that even I, I of the Jacqueline Susann novels (and the W.S. Merwin, o.k.? I spread it around. I go to all the neighborhoods. I'm not snobby, is the thing), I just can't abide this.
I'm giving it one more chapter, and if it doesn't get better it's going into limbo.
O.K., so it's a new day, and I've always been a cat who can admit it when she is partially incorrect about something. And my earlier comments about the first part of the novel are pretty true, I swear, but if you can get through the chick-lit beginning, the second half of the book is really interesting, and gripping, and moving, and now I can see why people like this book so much.
Even the writing gets better, it's grainier and she uses these really beautiful and frightening dream sequences to lay out what is happening to her characters emotionally and it is just so GOOD.
I would almost want to reread it just to find the place where it changes, because there is a spot in the book right after they get married, I don't remember exactly where, when I all of a sudden knew that I was reading a different book.
I still have a couple of quibbles. The thing is, and don't read this part if you haven't read the book yet and you don't want it ruined, how did he not know that his feet were going to get removed? He knew all kinds of stuff, why not that? Or did he, did I just miss that he knew? And I didn't understand how the death of Clare's mom fit into the story structure. Ingrid and Celia? Anyone? It just seemed like there was another book sitting on top of the good part of this book. Like someone shuffled the pages of two drafts together or something.
O.K., so not that I don't have some issues with it, but for the most part I retract my earlier statement about the book being bad. It's actually really good. Just keep reading even when you are sure that it's not going to be what you need it to be, because then it changes, and it is.