Monday, December 20, 2010

Stop Trying So Hard, It Isn't Really Working

You may recall my waxing slighty rhapsodic on a piece of decent chic lit I read back in Australia (see here) which I enjoyed much more thoroughly than I expected.  Naturally I had to search out the author's other books, only one of which turned out to be available for taking out of the Manhattan library.  So I put Goodbye Jimmy Choos on reserve (not because it's so popular, I was just too lazy to go pick it up from wherever it was) and when I got it out, expected to sit down to at least somewhat of a decent chic lit.   When I got the book, I realized it was one I had seen before and rejected, because it was about two married women rather than my preferred one single starring gal, and because I had read the ending and decided it didn't look like it was worth reading.  But I already had it out so... expectations lowered I picked it up and began, with hope still lingering from my previous foray into the author (Annie Sanders)'s previous work.

Right away, I could see this book wasn't as promising.  I think I described the other one (or could have described it) as light and fast... this one was fast I suppose, but it wasn't light.  Actually what it reminded me of more than anything else was the way I used to play Civilization.  I had no interest in the strategy or the fighting, I just liked the world building.  So I made a cheat world where everyone else died, and then I had all the technology, all the land, and all the food to myself.  So yay :) I just kept building and building... but it got boring pretty fast.  So what's my point? It felt like there were all these little goodies thrown in there for details (things about the children, or about their houses, or little vignettes about their thoughts or their lives or whatever) that were supposed to make the book cozy or fun or whatever, but they just felt kind of fake somehow.  The point is, instead of a well-integrated plot we could follow along, it was just neatly built up fluffiness.  Really it was more of a style thing, it's not that there wasn't plot, but there was just all this other stuff that made me feel like, show it, don't say it.... I really don't think that was clear, but whatever, I know what I'm saying :)

So that was one issue... but as I read on, a few more.... serious... ones cropped up.  Specifically, some very serious plot twists that were *not* what I would have expected from the back cover... or the tag line... or the front cover.  I mean this book was supposed to be about two city girls trying to make it in the country... but it wasn't.  I don't feel like spoiling, but there was serious stuff going on with their relationships.  No chick lit romance here, nu uh.  And as we coasted through that, we moved on to what I suppose was the fun part of the book.  Which was more of what I was talking about above, too much detail, not enough feeling.  I guess that's the best way to say it - there was so much description I felt like there was nothing for me to do.  This is as opposed to what I remember saying, I think about Eva Ibbotson's the Morning Gift, where the absolute minimum was written out and everything was left for me to feel.  Interesting contrast, if I do say so myself.

And that's not even the worst of it... I have to say that as I read further (in this quite long book that took me over two weeks to get through actually, not that it's really a reflection on the book, just on what I spend my time doing :)) I got more and more annoyed by the plot.  First of all, there was this whole issue with their professional image that I felt positively ridiculous - like they were selling and product and no one was going to buy it if they didn't live a certain way? Pu-lease.  And I knew the whole time something was going to blow up in that direction, and guess what, it did - more annoying.  And then there was the whole non-romance between Izzie and Jean Luc... I mean I think it's nice she ended up with Marcus (oops, spoiling here :)) but that was just a complete about face from the beginning of the book.... I wonder if that's because it was written by two authors? Actually that might be the reason... but I don't think that quite accounts for all my issues with this book... which were topped off by an ending that was just like... what? I mean where is that coming from? and where is that coming from? And why did you choose to write this book which basically meanders on to nowhere? Okay not nowhere, but basically you could have cut out about 200 pages in the middle nothing would have changed in these characters' lives - and no the journey made no difference, don't tell me that.  Or at least I saw no evidence of it.  So basically I did not like this book.  I really saw very little to like about it at all.  Oh well again :)

Verdict: 1.5/5 (eeko, I think that's two in a row!)
Food: someone might think it's good, but I don't... tastycake (okay no one thinks it's good, but it's supposed to be good :)) but it's dry and looks waaaaay better than it tastes

No comments:

Post a Comment