Shannon's Reviews > Arbor Vitae

Arbor Vitae by Susan X. Meagher
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Dec 01, 09

Read in December, 2009

OK, I know I have a tendency to rip things apart but I can't help but kind of write a scathing review of this.
This book read like an incompetent writer tried to flesh out the storyline of a porno. The dialogue was ridiculous; I can't imagine anyone talking the way the characters in this book spoke. The narrative shifted from being a straight up formal narrative to a more colloquial narrative, which drove me crazy. She'd say something like "Clancy stopped by Abby's house for dinner that night and the dogs ran around like crazy because they were so happy to see their best friend back." It honestly sounded as though an 8 year old had written some of it. The plot contained nothing more than a younger woman falling for a semi-recently widowed straight woman and the ramifications of their actions. It might have done better if it was shorter and the very soap opera-esque element of the daughter hadn't been included. The daughter storyline is actually what completely ruined the story for me. She was poorly written, clearly only serving to keep the couple apart but lacking any true motive for doing so. It's almost as if the author said "I can't figure out why the daughter would want to keep them apart, so I'll just say that she doesn't like to talk about her feelings." This is quite insulting to a reader, especially when a VERY easy and believable reason is right at hand. What resulted was a highly irritating, overly dramatic, yet empty character.

I honestly don't think I'll read anything else by this writer because I find her style very unsophisticated. I'd love to support gay literature, and in particular lesbian literature, but I'm finding that there aren't any stories out there that can bridge the gap between inyerface gay, and an organic storyline that happens to feature a gay leading lady. I'm by no means a phenomenal writer, but I would prefer not reading something that I could have written better.
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