Hillary's Reviews > The Map of True Places

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
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's review
Jun 01, 2011

it was ok
Read in June, 2011

I long for the day when Goodreads provides a half-star rating option; I'd like to give this novel 2.5 stars, but since I can't, I'm rounding down. Barry's second novel lacked the charm and mystery of her first, 'The Lace Reader.' I was already on the fence about the frequent use of local landmarks as points of reference in LR, and it is even more prevalent in this one. I'd be curious to speak with someone who wasn't as familiar with this area and get their take on this. Maybe it's supposed to convey the quaintness of the area, but I find it pandering to locals and likely alienating to non-New Englanders. Another problem, and probably a more significant one, is the issue of character development. We are supposed to understand that the main character, Zee Finch, is learning and growing and adapting throughout the course of the novel, but I wouldn't have come to this conclusion if the book didn't keep telling me that this is what was happening. Barry does a lot of telling and less showing. Additionally, I found the narration often repetitive, both in vocabulary and the description of events. I think this too contributed to my feeling that I was being told what conclusions to arrive at, instead of being allowed to come to them myself as an independent reader. Overall...ehhhhhh.
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06/02/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Pylgrym I too would like an opinion from someone who hasn't lived in Salem and worked at the Gables. I gave my copy of Lace Reader who had visited me there but haven't gotten any feedback. I also have problems with Map because while I lost loved ones to death and debilitating disease while I lived there, how would that resonate with someone else.

Brian I want 1/2 stars too!

message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy Mann Exactly my sentiments- except that I'm not familiar with the terrain - New England- like you are. All in all this is the most average book I have ever read. Exactly average apart from the constant reference to neuro pharmaceuticals which frankly i found nauseating after a while. The drugs were guiding the plot more than the writer was- which was really really irritating me. There was no judgement , no irony, no nothing on the part of the writer .There was room there for her to be intelligent - and have an opinion about this kind of high brow pill popping but she never took it. This book was so damn average - it's tiresome to think about. JM

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