Play Book Tag discussion

Dept. of Speculation
This topic is about Dept. of Speculation
16 views
Archive: Other Books > Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (4 out of 5 Stars) (Decathlon)

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
4 out of 5 Stars

Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all.

The Positives of Dept. of Speculation
There were two primary positives for me with this book. The first was the open ended nature of the writing. Offill never provides names for the characters. Throughout the entire book they are "the wife" or "the husband" and on top of not providing names there is very little physical description of the characters. Their personalities are somewhat developed, but the open ended nature of not giving them a physical description nor a name really allows the reader to fill in the gaps in their own mind. That is generally the approach Offill takes to the entire book. The writing provides a good story, but leaves plenty of space for the reader to apply their own experiences and come away with their own unique interpretation.

The second positive with this book was the use of particular tropes throughout the book. My favorite was Offill's "Theater of Hurt Feelings". Anyone who has been married or in a long term relationship, whether romantic or platonic, has experienced this aspect of being human. When we enter that place everything is just a bit more over-the-top then it probably is the rest of our lives. The use of this imagery was truly enjoyable.

The Negatives of Dept. of Speculation
The aspect I struggled with the most was the form of the writing. When I began the book it felt like I was reading a collection of poems. Then a few chapters/poems into the story I realized that the chapters/poems were connected as a continuing story. Then somewhere along the way the book transitioned from poetry to more prose and I began to think of the chapters/poems as chapters. In reality, I am not sure that the divisions of the book are really chapters, poems, or anything else. I never really could decide what the structure of the writing was and I did not enjoy this aspect as much.


Susie | 4488 comments I loved this one.


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy | 9390 comments You know I thought this book was just OK. But that I attended a book group on it and I actually ended up liking it a lot more after I had the opportunity to discuss it with others. I think that’s one of the most interesting things about A book or a book group. Get a book actually can become better with your shared and Hance meant in thinking about it and enjoyment of it. On its own, it wasn’t great shakes for me. Not that it was terrible either. But boy did it get better after the discussion.


Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments Amy wrote: "You know I thought this book was just OK. But that I attended a book group on it and I actually ended up liking it a lot more after I had the opportunity to discuss it with others. I think that’s o..."

Amy -- I was discussing it with the person that recommended it to me the entire time I was reading and I think that really made it more enjoyable for me as well. I think this is a book that needs discussion.


back to top