Andrea's Reviews > Commuters

Commuters by Emily Gray Tedrowe
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's review
Feb 20, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction
Read in February, 2012

The storyline itself was good: a 78-year-old widow marries a rich widower, and all sorts of family drama ensues. It's told from 3 perspectives: the grandmother's, her daughter's, and her step-grandson's. Takes place in a suburb of New York.

But there were several problems with the book, the least of which is that it left a few plot lines hanging. It felt sloppy and hurried at times, like the book was rushed to publication, for reasons I can't understand why. It was a debut, so maybe that's why? Still, with some extra copy editing, it could have been tightened up significantly.

The language was overly workshopped, there were too many characters, and the grandmother, the strongest character, fell weak by the end of the book. The whole novel seemed like it was trying to be some monumental Roth-ian or Franzen-esque family-generational epic full of meaning... but just couldn't quite get there.

The author has an irritating way of interjecting herself into the book by mentioning authors and book titles that the characters are supposedly reading but which seem like more of a ploy to make the author herself seem smart, because they really (really) do not add anything to the characterizations. She also misused "nonplussed" and there were two proofreading errors in a HARPER book, for chrissakes. For a self-pubbed novel, I can let a few slide, but a big six publisher? That just means they rushed this one out and didn't care too much themselves!

And I'm getting pretty sick of literary fiction that employs more than 2 points of view, to be honest.

You could do worse than this one, but you could definitely do better.

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