Kathy's Reviews > Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
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Oct 19, 2009

it was ok
Read in October, 2009

Like so many other readers, I was enchanted by The Time Traveler’s Wife. There was a willing suspension of disbelief on my part (which goes against my skeptical and cynical nature) but the story was sweet and engaging enough to pull it off. Not so much with Her Fearful Symmetry. Again, through at least the first 2/3 of the book, I was willing to suspend disbelief and go with the story. But then it just got ridiculous beyond the point where I enjoyed the story anymore.

Essentially a ghost story, Her Fearful Symmetry features two sets of twins, the older Elspeth and Edie, and Edie’s daughters Valentina and Julia. The story opens with Elspeth succumbing to leukemia in a London hospital. Her twin sister and nieces have not seen her in more than 20 years, as a rift between Elspeth and Edie as well as distance (Edie lives in Chicago) drove them apart. Elspeth leaves everything to the twins, stipulating that they live in her London apartment for a year and their parents are not allowed to visit. Elspeth’s ghost lives in the apartment and eventually learns to communicate with the twins. It takes a long time and some wonderful descriptive elements to get this far – easily half the book. There are some well drawn characters that add to the story (particularly the OCD neighbor), but after this long set up, the story just devolves into absurdity. Disappointing ending after a good start.
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Reading Progress

02/16 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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I ♥ Bookie Nookie (bookienookiereviews.blogspot.com) Oh my goodness! I felt the same way! I felt that the story started out on a somewhat believable note--very slow to develop and then the story totally unraveled and not in a good way. The ending was so absurd--I was irritated that I finished the book!


Kathy I know - I was annoyed at having to finish it too! But I hate to leave books unfinished when I have invested so much time and emotion in to them!


Kellie I agree with you all! Couldn't have said it better.


Katrina Passick Lumsden Agreed. A bitter disappointment considering I loved The Time Traveler's Wife so much. Her Fearful Symmetry just didn't meet the mark for me. A solid, if slow start, engaging characters, a paranormal undercurrent (which I love)...but then it all just fell apart, in one fell swoop everything was just ridiculous. Here's the hoping Niffenegger does better the third time 'round.


message 5: by C. (new) - rated it 2 stars

C. Sills Never read Time Traveler's Wife - but you all said just what I thought re: Her Fearful Symmetry - at the end, I too was left feeling rather irritated that I finished the book.


Sarah I thought Niffennegger's writing style had matured somewhat in this book compared to Time Traveller's Wife but after reading the part concerning the cat (trying not to give too much away here) I found that I already knew the ending to the book, having read a short story with a similar theme/outcome so it was a bit of a let down for me.


Terri Add me to the list here....Loved Time Traveler's Wife and while both books DID require a suspension of belief,I sometimes enjoy being "carried away" with an unusual plot.
My biggest disappointment with this one....what on earth was the ending supposed to mean? Does anybody know? WHERE did Robert go when Elsbeth ended the story? I just didn't get it! Thought perhaps it was ME, but after reading comments here....I guess not.


Berfu I completely agree! I was in awe over the Time Traveler's Wife and maybe expected too much for this novel. It was definetly a total letdown.


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