Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I read A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth, both by Jane Hamilton, several years ago, and was wonderfully impressed by her writing abilities. My mother recently read her When Madeline Was Young and enthusiastically recommended it to me. So when I was at the library and saw this book among her works, I decided to try it, figuring it would be good.

Boy, was I wrong. I don't know if this book is really good or not, but it is slow as molasses. It's about a high-school-aged boy who accidentally discovers his mother's affair, and about what is happening to the heart of his family at this point in their lives, but I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't connected to any of the characters and I didn't really care what would happen to them and I didn't really feel like anything really could happen to them or that the novel was actually going anywhere. I can appreciate the way that she crafts the boy's point of view, and I think it's especially clever how she lets him alternate between calling his mother many different names, since he's not sure how to view her and who she really is, but I just Did Not Like This Book.

So sad, really. I guess I'll have to steel myself to try When Madeline Was Young and just assume it must be better. And I can't imagine that it won't be, since I feel this one was pretty bad for me. At least at this point in my life. Boy, I really have a tough time saying a book is bad...but I also really think in this case it's half the book and half me, so I don't want to blame it for not suiting my tastes. Eh.

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