Alesa's Reviews > Unless

Unless by Carol Shields
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's review
Feb 15, 2012

liked it

A very literary book, about a literary woman writing a book that is "light fiction," while she is trying to cope with her 19 year old year daughter dropping out of university to beg on a street corner. Carol Shields is a genius at finding just the right phrase, and about describing the writer's life. She's also a bright feminist. But this book disappointed me, because it was too "small". For arguing the importance of a woman's perspective, Shields takes on (to me) relatively unimportant causes here. Yes, a mother would be worried about a daughter choosing to live in a hostel. But given the bigger problems of people around the world today, I had a hard time empathizing with her. Not much happens. A lot of what does happen occurs not to characters in the novel, but rather to characters in the novel that the main character is writing. A bit obtuse.

So my overall reaction, aside from admiring Shield's incredible abilities, was kind of "so what?" It's not the type of book that moves you to such a degree that you remember it for years (like, say, Mistry's "A Fine Balance"). After "Stone Diaries," I expected more.

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