How do I feel about this book? I finished it several days ago and I’m still not quite sure. I’m confused.
This is the same author who wrote The Lovely Bones, a book which I thought was, well, lovely. Fresh voice, fresh story, and I never understood how so many people could find it so horribly depressing. Little Susie Salmon gets reunited with her dog up in heaven. Made me happy.
But this is no Lovely Bones. I’m not sure what this is. I thought, perhaps, that it was supposed to be irreverently funny, which is how I read it – as satire. At times I laughed out loud. But a part of me thought this may be inappropriate behavior on my behalf, so I did what one does when they have questions about their behavior. I called my mom.
(Spoiler alert ~ but what’s revealed is all read in the first chapter.)
Me: “I’m reading an Alice Sebold book. You know, the author who wrote The Lovely Bones.”
Mom: “How depressing is it?”
Me: “Well, that’s the thing. I think it’s supposed to be funny. But I’m not sure.”
Mom: “Well, what’s it about?”
Me: “A mother and daughter. I thought it was going to be kind of a Thelma and Louise type relationship, but the daughter kills her mother on the first page.”
Mom: “I don’t think that’s meant to be funny.”
Me: “But she does it right after her mom messes herself. It makes it easier for the daughter to clean her.”
Mom: “Well, usually if there’s poo, it’s meant to be funny. Why aren’t you sure?”
Me: “Because it seems like she’s trying to write it seriously, but it comes off as deadpan to me. Do you think I’m the only one who’s read this that finds it funny?”
Mom: “Yeah, probably.”
So here’s my verdict. I HATE to give bad reviews. I think it’s important for readers and writers to support each other. I read pretty much everything and can usually find something enjoyable about the experience. Did I like this book? You know what? I read it as a farce, a novel with a streak of Vonnegut, and I enjoyed it up until the last page. I don’t like ambiguous endings. If you’re going to end the book, end it. Otherwise, keep writing until you end the book.
Will you like this book? I really can’t say. If you’re going to read it as a serious novel, probably not. Everything about this book – the storyline, the characters, even some of the dialogue – was humorous to me. Which may just be me making the best out of a bad situation. Or a disappointing book. Three stars.