Charissa's Reviews > A Map of the World

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
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May 20, 08

bookshelves: threw-across-room
Recommended to Charissa by: my mother (go figure)
Recommended for: people who clearly haven't had enough misery in their lives already
Read in January, 2002

There is hardly anything more depressing than this story. I just couldn't face it in the end. Call me wacky, but I just didn't need to wade into a tale about three unhappy people, two of whom are having an affair, another of whom accidentally allows the other's child to drown in her creek and then goes to prison for it. Bleak? Just slightly. I understand that Sigourney Weaver played the prison woman in the film of the book. Appropriate. Her pinched, gaunt appearance was perfect for the way this book feels. Why is it that depressing tomes like this always get the acclaim? I suppose it deals with moral ambiguity. But don't people get enough of horrendous events in their real lives? Do they really need to soak in fictional misery as well? I dunno... Perhaps I've just had my fill of pointless, horrifying events that happen to regular folk. If you're going to paint me a desolate portrait, give it two heads and a donkey offspring or something. kthnxbye.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Kira (new)

Kira Thank you.

There were several times reading this book that I, literally, threw it across the room. I found the characters so frustrating and, often, insipid in their own self-abuse. I realized, after discussing it with my mother over the phone, that this book was depressing me. She told, "Just put it down. Why put yourself through that?" And so I did, and I appreciate that someone else had a simliar reaction. I thought there were several fine aspects to the story-telling and vivid descriptions of small-town life, but.... they didn't weigh heavy enough against the bleak light it began to shine on my own life and moods.


Charissa Sounds like you have a sane mom. Five stars for her!!!

Now if we can only get Oprah to stop recommending all those bleak, horror-filled novels we'll be golden.


David Yes! This was a horrible book.


Kirsten I am laughing about your "recommends it for." Perfect!


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

L. The child drowned in a pond that covered several acres (not a creek), and the protagonist did not go to jail for the drowning, but because she was wrongly accused of child abuse and molestation. Because both facts are established early on in the novel, I have my doubts about whether you actually read the book.

Bad things happen to good people; some folks appreciate a book like this as a meditation on life. Lives can come apart after a tragedy. I admire the way Hamilton wrote these characters and pointed to what is lasting.


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