Oh, where to even start? I wanted so badly to like this book. The New York Times called it “a trenchant masterpiece,” and it has blurbs from three Nobel Prize winners. So I had sky-high expectations. I anticipated a book that would change my world, that would help me lose twelve pounds and make clear the meaning of life and cure my husband’s erectile dysfunction. This book, while excellent, did none of those things. Threw it across the room on page 20. Ugh. Will not be reading this author again.
The author, a known Liberal, has a clear agenda here in including an African-American neighbor and a “lesbian” boss. I read to be entertained, not to have someone’s politics shoved down my throat. I was going to pass this on to my sister, but instead I recycled the book.
I expected this book, which won the Story Prize and the PEN Malamud award, to be a new favorite. Apparently one of the chapters won an O. Henry award, and O. Henry is a highly respected author. But each chapter started off with a completely new set of characters and even a new title! I didn’t see any connection at all between the various chapters. One took place in 1873, and one was set on a distant planet in the future. I worked so hard to find the connections between the chapters, and just couldn’t find one. Too much work, gave up.
(check out more of my poetry at burnreviewpoet.com!)
If you like highbrow, “well-written” stuff, this might be for you. It seems very “finely wrought” with lots of “fascinating characters” and a “satisfying conclusion,” but ultimately it just wasn’t for me.
I bought this book because there was a cute, sad puppy on the cover. But it turned out to be a literary novel about a puppy mill in a depressed part of Georgia. I don’t read to be bummed out! Next time I guess I’ll have to go that extra mile and read the back of the book before I purchase something. Lesson learned.
I am an asbestos inspector. As such, I’d expect a novel about an asbestos inspector to get the facts right. And for 345 out of 346 pages it did. But on page 273 was this glaring error: Jake gets paid $2,300 to inspect an office building for asbestos. In 2013, when this novel is set, I was charging $2,450 for an identical inspection. That’s a $150 difference. This book does not reflect my personal experience, and thus I can’t, in good conscience, recommend it.
This will be a short review, because I only read the first paragraph. But in that time, I just couldn’t latch on to any of the characters or any real sense of plot. There was nothing at stake, and no development. I was completely unsatisfied. Burned the book, and have spent the past two hours reviewing it on all my favorite sites. Save yourself from this one, folks!
It would be a five-star review, but on page 128 the author used the F-word, which is something I simply cannot condone. I finished the book and I loved it, but I have to give it one star. I hope this teaches the author a lesson.
I did not read this book, but I saw the movie. I felt that Matthew McConaughey’s character was completely unbelievable. He’s supposed to be playing a college student? He’s at least twenty years too old, and I’ve never been able to stand that cocky twang he has going. One star.
I would imagine this author would be the kind of person who, if you took a college writing workshop with her, would tell you that your characters were flat when actually it was her characters who were flat, and she’d probably also flirt with your boyfriend at the Sigma Chi winter formal, and then she’d go and become this really successful writer when you’re stuck as a paralegal, which is never what you even wanted to do. Just my guess, but this author probably only deserves one star for this book, which I refuse to buy.