Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm Heartless

I usually try hard to find something positive to say about a book but this is one time I'm going to be heartless and say I did not like this book. At all. I read 190 pages in to it, waiting for it to get better. It didn't. For a book about lifelong best friends, I couldn't find anything likable about either one of the main characters. I couldn't understand their snarkiness with each other at different times thru the years. Some of the plot lines were so far-fetched that, even in a work of fiction, you couldn't imagine them happening. I like my fiction to be believable, if you're understanding what I'm trying to say here. Like you're a little shadow in the corner, following the characters thru their lives and relating to the things happening to them, you know? I wouldn't have wanted either one of the main characters, Lexi or Clare, to be a friend of mine let alone a best friend. But I must admit when I compare them to my real life best friend Lizzee they don't even begin to rate with her. Lizzee is a treasure. A true-blue, thick-or-thin best friend. For 41 years, so I know what I'm talking about. These two were so self-centered and shallow. If that's a sample of best-friendship, fuhgeddaboutit!

Once upon a time I loved Nancy Thayer's writing. Her early fiction, especially "Three Women on the Water's Edge" was relevant and believable. In fact, I've read "Three Women..." 3 or 4 times thru the years. I'm not sure when she began writing books about the "Hot Flash Club" but I tried reading the first one and it left me totally disappointed. I'd been waiting quite a while for a new book by her, so when I saw the first one was coming out I was like a kid in a candy shop, waiting for something good and gooey to consume. What a disappointment. I didn't get very far in to that one, and I never bothered with the sequels. But when "Moon Shell Beach" came out I thought "Finally!" With the title and the publishing blurb I'd read about it, I anticipated it to be more like her early fiction. Sadly, that wasn't to be. It's tired. It's old. It's cliched. Kind of like LaVyrle Spencer's writing became before she - mercifully - decided to 'retire' from writing. "Years" by Ms. Spencer is one of my and my daughter's all-time favorite books. But the last 3 or 4 of her books had become 'formula'-style. She seemed stuck in a certain writing 'routine' and the characters might've changed but the story line was the same old, same old. Then you come across a writer like Taylor Caldwell who wrote something like 80 novels in her lifetime and, in my humble opinion anyway, every single one of them was goooooooooooood. But you don't come across writers like Ms. Caldwell very often.

So yeah, I'm heartless. I don't mean to be. But I love to read and I love to read good books. I hope I'm not as disappointed in Anne Rivers Siddons' new book, "Off Season", when I get it from the library. She's another one I've enjoyed thru the years and it's been quite a while since she's had a book published, too.

I'm in the running for something good to read. Got any suggestions????


Jaggy said...

If you're in the mood to laugh, I highly recommend Jen Lancaster's memoirs. The first, Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass, Or Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag To The Unemployment Office; A Memoir, is so funny I almost cried reading it. The second, Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, Or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? wasn't quite as funny, but it was more meaningful and nicely wrapped up the first book.

Jen is witty, vicious, and downright normal. If you want a great read, I can't suggest a funnier autobiography.

Melissa B. said...

You've gotta read Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. It's one of those book that you never want to end! BTW, you might be interested in what's going on at my place today. Stop by and Share the Caption Love!

Mrs. Who said...

You have every right to judge a book as lacking if the characters do not live for you - they should!! There are too many good books out there to slog through one just because it is supposed to be good. I toss them aside quickly if they don't meet with my approval!!

And I have ALWAYS loved Taylor Caldwell. I have several of her old books on my bookshelf right now. Have you ever read Ayn Rand? She also writes those thick, powerful books about fascinating characters. You honestly have to skim through a bit of her rhetoric but the stories are great. My favorite is "Atlas Shrugged".

Also, if you want some chick lit and just want to laugh, try the "Shopoholic" books. Hilarious.

Judy said...

I find that I have to read children's fiction inbetween the grown-up reads.

This weekend I finally finished reading "The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers". Very enjoyable reading, and it will now go on my 'to read to the grandchildren someday' shelf.

Last night I finished Kate Chopin's "The Awakening". I'm glad I read it, but I did not like it.

Have you ever read Leon Uris' "Mila 18"? That is one of my favorites.

"The Scent of Water" by Elizabeth Goudge?

Greta said...

Mostly I read non-fiction, personal accounts are my favorites. For the few fiction books a year that I read, I appreciate Karen Kingsbury, a Christian novelist. "When Joy Came to Stay", "Halfway to Forever", the "Redemption Series" are just a few that come to mind.