Saturday, January 22, 2005

Little Children

So, I finally finished the book. (And immediately lent it to a friend who saw I had it. I wasn't really recommending it, I frankly just want another opinion.) My overall feeling is that it didn't work. There was no suspense - from the very start, when the former child molester is introduced, you know that his path will cross with one or more of the main characters. As the author aligned several of them in the last few chapters to send them into each other's way, I really thought maybe there would be a payoff and was sorely disappointed at how empty the ending was. Another disappointment was the characters themselves. There were multiple POVs, which is really difficult to pull off. The author just couldn't do it - there was little difference in the voice of one vs. another (even the child molester.) I never felt that I was in anyone's head, or even understood his or her motivation. Two characters are supposed to be having a hot torrid affair - really? The author kept telling us that, but nothing in the way they acted or thought about each other seemed to support any real feelings. Everything was very much on the surface, and so I just didn't care about them very much.

I went back to reading "The Namesake" which I really like, although the story spans so much time that it's like a series of shorter stories. Here there are also multiple narrators, but only three (so far), and they are very fleshed out and distinct. One of the things I love most about her writing is the details she uses to set a scene - the colors of the carpet, the way the sun streams in the windows, the specific types of food on the table. I'm not done yet, so I'll have more to say, but it's a relief to be loving the writing again as I read.


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