Oh boy, I am in a slump. The good news is that when I’m not liking something, I tend to finish it pretty quickly so I can move on to something better. So here come five lukewarm reviews!
The Mothers started out pretty well. I had high hopes for it. But it lost steam about halfway through and just felt kind of unfocused. I don’t like to post spoilers, so I’ll just say that this whole book is pretty much just about one thing, and it doesn’t handle that one thing particularly well, and I feel pretty strongly about that one thing in general so this was a big miss overall. I sometimes like the first person plural narration but it was used so intermittently here that it felt like an afterthought. I would have liked it more if it had been alternated with the main character’s own point of view. I felt like the town gossips had it all wrong and that could have been an interesting juxtaposition. I’m not sure why this one is so hyped up right now, it felt more “promising first novel” than “brilliant debut.”
I’ve heard good things about Marcy Dermansky from some of my most trusted reader friends, so I was really expecting to like The Red Car. I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with this book. It was kind of all over the place and also went absolutely nowhere at the same time. I feel like I’m looking at one of those Magic Eye pictures that used to drive me insane. I never ever ever could see whatever you were supposed to see, but I’m glad somebody does. This one was just not for me.
The slump continued with How to Party with An Infant. This one is mercifully short and quick, and I really flew through it because I could tell early on that I was hating it. Novels about motherhood are always hit or miss for me, I think it can be very hard to strike the right balance with this theme and this one was a major miss. My problem here is that a lot of it is the main character, “Look at all the judgmental assholes you have to deal with when you have a baby,” but she doesn’t realize that she is also kind of a judgmental asshole herself. The rest of it was a lot of angst about going to her ex boyfriend’s wedding to the woman he was secretly seeing the whole time they were together and why would you ever do that? Just for plot purposes, I guess.
Things perked up a little with Invincible Summer. I feel pretty generous about this one because I’ve been in such a hate frenzy. There is nothing to hate about this! Woo! It’s nothing revolutionary and somewhat flawed and ordinary but it’s not bad at all and everything I’m reading has been fairly bad so, yay! Not bad. The not baddest thing I’ve read in a while.
Speaking of bad, a little something called We Could Be Beautiful. Oh god is this bad. This is so bad. Laughably bad. So bad that I am starting to feel sorry for it because it is so bad. Incredibly tone deaf, irritating choppy writing style, very silly and unremarkable plot, terrible main character. It could almost work as satire but it’s totally lacking any sense of humor. I don’t really want to say anything else about it because it’s like kicking a puppy. Bad dog.
I need something good! I’m going to start Leaving Lucy Pear tonight. Supposed to be good, right? Here’s hoping.