to read a blurb about this book on Goodreads, click here.
I’m starting to think that Alice Sebold isn’t the author for me. I was hooked by the beautiful cover and I needed to read this because I owned it and am on a book buying ban until I finish all my owned books. But this book flopped for me very hard and it sucks. I wanted to like it, I really did. Her writing is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. It reads like one long poem. But her plots make no sense half the time and I’m usually either lost or bored. Which is never a good thing.
This book is about matricide….I think. It had topics such as mental illness and divorce. I’m going to be honest and say that for the most of the book, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. The plot literally bounced from past to present in the span of a paragraph. One paragraph would be about the present and then the next time I know, we are in the past. It was confusing and incredibly frustrating at times. I think it tried to fit too much into a small amount of time and that’s one of the reasons why this book failed for me.
I didn’t like learning about Helen’s family sooooo slloooowwwllly. For being just shy of 300 pages, it felt like a 600 page book. Maybe I should say that because I have read some incredible 600 page books that read like they were 200 pages. There were be times where absolutely nothing happened and then there would be times were twenty different things happened and I had to go back and re-read parts of the book.
I couldn’t keep the characters straight because they had no personality, which didn’t help me in trying to figure out what the plot actually was about. Helen was terrible both in personality and as a narrator. I couldn’t really trust anything she said, which sucked because the entire book was from her POV. I had no idea and still don’t about whether or not she hated her mom or what their relationship actual was.
Clair was made to look like this weak willed individual with a heart of ice. I obviously didn’t care for her. Because Helen never really knew what was wrong with her, we didn’t either. Don’t get me wrong, that works for some books. But because this book was very character driven, I felt this really didn’t help things. I don’t know if I was supposed to hate Clair, feel sorry for her or both. The rest of the characters were so flat and dull that they aren’t even worth mentioning. Not to mention the fact that I can’t remember any of their names.
I think I am done with Alice Sebold. She has one more book that I haven’t read, which is a memoir. But honestly, I’m going to pass. She obviously needs to work on writing better and building better plots. You can write beautifully but still have a plot, like Roshani Chokshi. (If you are reading this, Roshani, I’m sorry to put you in this negative review because you are awesome and your books are incredible!) But if you just have beautiful words and no plot, the book falls flat. Like this one did.