30 June 2011

Mrs Readalot Gets Annoyed (Bookclub & Linky)

It's Mrs Readalot's Book Club time again. Read any good books lately?  June's Book of the Month was chosen by this month's Book Club Host, Helen at One Trick Pony...

Novel About My Wife by Emily Perkins

Mrs Readalot has never read any Emily Perkins books, even though Ms Perkins lives in New Zealand. You'd think she would have at least heard of her, but no. Apparently this book won some kind of award, so it had potential to be a good read. I'll let Mrs Readalot tell you about it in her own words...

Mrs Readalot says:
The book started well with a snappy first paragraph. Plus it was written in the first person; I like stories told by "I" - they let me get inside the main character's head.

I have to say, I wasn't gripped. There were no all-nighters; no laying awake wondering what would happen next - but at first I liked it well enough. It was well-written, nicely described, interesting characters - though I didn't love any of them.

The story centres around Ann, the thirty-something wife of the storyteller, Tom.

As the story progresses you find yourself wondering, what is up with Ann?
Is she bi-polar? Is she haunted? Is she being stalked? You really don't know. And neither does Tom.

From the first paragraph you know Ann has died, but not how.
You just hope that all things will become clear by the end.
At least that's what I always hope for any books I read... that at the end you will understand what happened and why.

But this book left me confused and with many questions unanswered.

What was that scar on her arm from??
Who was Hallie to Ann (and why did he freak her out?)
What was Ann in her former life in Australia?
Why was she the way she was????
And why O why did the book end so abruptly.

I am unsatisfied.
Finishing a book should not leave you unsatisfied. You should not be feeling like there are huge chunks of crucial information that somehow got left out. The pivotal points of a story cannot be hinted at. They must be clearly told.
Otherwise simpletons like me will be left guessing, confused, annoyed and unsatisfied.
I was disappointed by the ending. And the unanswered questions.

Can anyone else who has read this book enlighten me?

I'd really appreciate it. Because I was left feeling like pages with important information had been torn out, leaving me scrabbling to piece together what happened and why.

If these gaps had been painted in clearly this could have been a gripping and clever story.
But sadly, it only left me empty and eager to put it behind me.

Help, anyone??

Evn though it was annoying, Mrs Readalot still rates
Novel About My Wife: ♥♥♥♥♥

Mrs Readalot does not like books which try to be clever but ask the reader to draw their own conclusions, leaving threads dangling messily.

Mrs Readalot thinks truly clever books answer all your questions, tie up all loose ends, and come to a satisfying conclusion.

Sadly, this is the second book Mrs Readalot read this month where the author seemed to think it was a good idea to have no satisfactory conclusion. The much-celebrated "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer also left her rather annoyed. Everything was not illuminated!! A very frustrating outcome, leaving Mrs R feeling like she had wasted two days. There were some dazzling snippets of poetic beauty... but a completely unsatisfying end. Bah.

Please you young writers-of-the-future, this approach is NOT clever. It does not make us love your books. Post-modernism be damned.

Book Club:
This month our linky is being hosted by Helen over at One Trick Pony, so go visit Helen to link up your book reviews (and spend some time visiting the other reviews and leave your comments... that's what makes the book club fun)

Remember you don't have to have read the Book of the Month - you can review any book you choose. The linky will remain open throughout the month of July. The link to this post will remain in my sidebar so you can find all the details when you are ready to link up your posts.


If you're joining in, add the button into your post and sidebar. If you want to join in the Book Club on a regular basis (and become a host) visit this post (which explains how it all works) and leave a comment asking to become a host.

Happy Reading!

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Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, Mrs. Readalot! I didn't mean to annoy you! Teehee

This is what I think:

The scars on Ann's body - "botch job" - either a brand of some sort or drug related.

When Ann is sexually assaulted by her brothers and his friends, she is hoping "Horse" will like her. I kind of thought "Horse" was Hallie, or at least Hallie was a friend of her brothers who knew her "back then" and knew of her reputation.

Hallie says to Ann, "You were a...and now you're married to Tom Stone!" and Ann says, "Please, don't tell Tom." A prostitute is the best conclusion I came to...

And I think the sexual assault at 14/plus prostitution/plus Hallie assaulting her again in Fiji all contributed to her mental breakdown.

It was a bit of a strange book, I admit. I think Perkins left the ends untied because Tom himself has no idea of who Ann really was, and what was really going on in her head. A clever premise, but frustrating at the same time. To be honest, this book wasn't really what I was hoping it would be!

Sandra said...

I read this book a couple of years ago and was left with the same feelings and questions as you.

Renee said...

Oooh - I'm just reading Helens insights above - I had similar questions to you.

The whole book kind of just peeved me off a bit! Tom was useless. No feel good quality to it.

Haha love the confused looking pic of you with the book - my husband said to me every night in bed 'Why are you still reading that book' because I kept saying 'I JUST DON'T GET IT!!!' He's very happy I've finished it (as am I).

Looking forward to starting a NEW book!

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Sometimes it's just as good to know what NOT to read! Linked up Heaven is for Real over at Helen's place too :-)

Dee said...

Haha!! I agree with Renee, love the 'whats up with that?' pic of you! My hubby, having read the back of the book, was also bewildered at me for continuing to read it! :) Love Helen's insights--also agree with her entirely. A bit of a puzzle really eh! :) xx

Jen said...

agree with Sandra :)

Ive linked up :)

Lyns said...

Agreed with most of Helens conclusions, but not sure that she assaulted in Fiji...thought it was heading that way, but not sure it happened.
Didn't mind that everything wasn't answered.
Actually did LIKE it and will read more of her books at some stage.
As always your self-portraits rock xx

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