, April 26, 2011
(view all comments by dwrites)
One hates to dislike the hard work of an author, but I'll confess that I gave this book 100 pages -- 75 too many -- and never ever got past glaringly poor writing. The irony of this novel being about five aspiring writers who more or less make it by dint of their support of one another has been pointed out elsewhere; however, it is an adolescent fantasy and the language and structure are too often just as adolescent.
Five women become friends after meeting with their children in a park near their homes and pretty much accidentally "become writers" in their, ah, spare time. I thought that at least the promised view of the tumult of the '60s through their various lenses would carry the story into some kind of depth, but no such luck. We are all too frequently told, not shown, how characters respond to, say, the first moon landing. This failing causes the story to lack any kind of passion or even much veritas. Such responses are also, too often, as cliched and common as one could possibly imagine. "So-and-so felt blah-blah because she whatever-it-was."
I was moderately curious to find out at long last why Brett wears white gloves at the park, at home watching television, 24/7, it would seem. When I finally slogged onto page 80 I decided to speed-read my way through the next 20 pages trying to just discern this answer, and possibly be compelled to continue beyond page 100. No such luck.
It's nice that other readers were somehow able to latch onto this story and have it mean something to them. Personally, I could never persuade myself that anyone had ever edited it. It very much reads like a draft. If literary writing and tight, economical prose written by an eye capable of seeing and expressing shared experiences through an independent lens are important to you, you will not enjoy this read.
If the sentimental resounds in you and you want to relive some of the events of the 1960s through fairly stereotypical "housewife" eyes, you may enjoy it. There's not a thing wrong with that. It's just not my cup of tea.