sentina, September 02, 2012
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The premise of this book was promising, but because there were three sets of sisters involved, one set dead, it sometimes became confusing.
The best lines, spoken by a teenager: "Grownups keep too many secrets... They think we can't handle what's real. But guess what? We can't handle what's not."
Rice is another modern author who writes choppy sentences, rather than tying them together smoothly with commas, as in, "And Carrie sat up. Put on her wet things. Walked out." instead of, " And Carrie sat up, put on her wet things, and walked out."
Rice doesn't often use adverbs, either. I began to notice that she used the adjective "tight" over and over, when it should have been the adverb "tightly," and then I realized how boring it was to see the same word so often (perhaps she hasn't heard of synonyms, either?).
She also just had to throw in the word "fucking" once as an adjective when it was totally unnecessary, very strange, and out of place.
I thought the insight into shoplifting was sensitive, the interweaving of mathematical ideas into a sort of poetic expression of various aspects of life was intriguing, the respect for a young female math genius was inspiring, the depiction of a crippled man as very human was enlightening, and the warm description of the director of a home for unwed young mothers was touching.
I also enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the old private school in Rhode Island, the weather, and the environment.
But overall, the story was jumbled, rushed, and a typical phony romance story -- stupid, lustful teen sex once in a dangerous place supposedly means lifelong true love, and a man is going to divorce his wife because she finally reveals that another man is the father of their teenage daughter -- these are just melodramatic. Even the ending was exaggerated -- "... forevermore" -- and felt like she just didn't know when to quit.
In fact, a lot of this story reflects the self-pitying suffering people create in their own lives, without any insight into this fact or into how to live without doing that to ourselves.
There is an unrealistically mature teenage girl, a too perfect teenage boy, a snobby rich woman whom we never get to really know -- even though there are hints to why she is the way she is that make us want to know more -- and really very little character development.
I wanted to cry and be moved by the reunions of various sisters, but everything was so rushed and predictable, that I was only slightly satisfied.