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The author can write, no mistake about that but I needed a dictionary throughout the book. What is with the words no one ever heard of? I kept reading to learn the mystery but there wasn’t ones. The protaginist sniffles and sobs through the entire book. All this book is - is a collection of the emotions and insecurities running through a 30 something year old woman. There is no great reveal here.
This author is incredibly talented. Her words take you places that most others only wish for. The problem I had with this book was the insertion of politics and social justice issues, along with racism. It ruined the whole book for me.
I can typically read around disagreeable politics in books. This was a pretty good story, but the politics were just too much and the story seemed to be written around politics, instead of the politics being written around the story. For that reason, I won't read this author again.
Overall I'm disappointed with this book. It dragged in the middle. The author belabored the point about the shallow values of the rich and their conspicuous consumption. Shoes cost $600? I get it already. Though I share the political opinions of the author, she belabored those, too. She should have kept her strong biases out of the book. It's the same reason I've stopped reading Barbara Kingsolver. Jon was so underdeveloped throughout the book that it was hard to swallow his true character when it was revealed all at once in the end. Overall, not worth the time.
Personally never a fan of books that have you jumping back and forth through various times an a characters life. A few chapters took a paragraph or two to figure out where we were in time. Descriptively written but tied up too quickly. After several hundred pages that went into great detail on everything about the characters past, present, clothing, jewelry etc the author takes about a dozen pages to for the reunion and reconciliation. Lastly, I read to escape the crazy, rage filled world we live in right now. It isn’t much of an escape when the author brings current politics and her viewpoint into the book.
I fully engaged with the story of a women who felt she had to hide herself in order to move up in society and life. I cheered for our protagonist as she fought for her 'self' in a story of regrets, shame, fear, and the need to get away from her roots. Interjected in the story were political headlines and issues that were pulled from the headlines. This fully dated this book and storyline. Trump is a mere blip on this historical timeline, although his election fully paralyzed our protagonist to the point where here husband had to drag her to the shower and make her engage with the world again. This gives one man/politician entirely too much power. Since the #metoo movement most of the older men of power have been exposed to be abusers/predators. Left and right were involved in the trafficking of underaged young women. Political blindness is a serious issue in this novel. I also wasn't sure I agreed with the ending. I would have liked to see the protagonist find her own footing based on her own talents and skills.
Good book but, I wanted to feel more sympathetic toward Isabel than I did at the end. I didn't get her morality as a young adult and was puzzled by her long-term re lationship with the man she met at the gallery. The literary references and "high end" vocabulary jumped rather than blended. The inserted very brief political rant was off-putting. Even with all of that I'm glad I read this book. It did hold my interest and gave me much to think about.
For probably the first third of this novel, i kept thinking i wouldn't finish it. I had the author posted as a Dorothy Allison wannabe. There was something that kept me reading, though, and I'm glad I did. This is not a light read or a fun novel. I wouldn't suggest starting it when you're down. There's no lightheartedness, no amusing dialogue to season the protagonist's struggle. But the story is one worth telling and worth reading. The vignette in which a grown woman who has survived what the protagonist had survived becomes utterly devastated over electoral politics is a bit much, but perhaps the author knows - or is - such a drama queen. What's real and hard and true is the tension between the disparate parts of a person's soul, the who is is versus the where one came from. In the end, the author does that well.
Interwoven in what is a well-written, well paced story with well-developed characters is the entire progressive manifesto of wokeness. The effect is jarring and annoying. The author preaches to us on everything from immigration, the 2016 election, over-population, critical theory and environmentalism, LGBTQ, not to mention the relentless villianization of capitalist wealth.
Just when I drawn in and carried along by the narrative and excellent prose I was distracted by yet another agenda item. I don't think she omitted a single topic in the liberal litany. Just as the arc of the story reached its zenith I lost interest in the outcomes and disengaged from the protagonist.
It wasn't so much the interwoven wokeness as the clunkiness that the opining brought to the flow of the story. Agenda items popped up every few pages like some sort of literary Whack-a-mole.
I suppose if the reader has strongly sympathetic political views this might be tolerable, but it seems a shame that such an interesting story it interrupted so much.