Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Late Night Book Review

NiI know this is rather uncharacteristic of me....I'm saying good things about something.

Her Fearful Symmetry Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was immediately taken by some of the ideas in this story. I love thinking about what might happen to us when we die.  One day, I might believe there's nothing.  You're just dead.  The next day I'm wishing for reincarnation as someone taller, thinner, prettier and born to astonishingly wealthy people.  And then there are those days when I hope like the dickens that I'll come back as a ghost because I fear that when my time comes, I still won't be quite ready to go.

So when I picked up Audrey Niffenegger's book Her Fearful Symmetry, I did what I always do.  I read the dust jacket synopsis.  Well, I became drawn in right away, but there are two more tests I must make before I'm willing to commit to a book.  I don't have time to devote to poorly written books or bad stories.  I'm busy with social networking without leaving my house, you know.  So I read the first page.  No problems there.  It's a credit to the author that I actually stood and read two more pages before someone tapped me on the shoulder and said it was time to go, the library was closing.

The librarian is used to me growling at him like that.  No worries. He knows I don't bite.  Anymore.

The third "Will I Be Taking This Book Home" test is the hardest of all.  Dialogue.  An author can ruin a great story with bad dialogue.  Niffenegger writes the way people talk.  When I'm checking for dialogue, I have the bad habit of flipping to the middle of the story.  Thankfully, that didn't ruin any suspense.  I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will tell you that I found the conversation between one of the twins and their neighbor who had some OCD issues to be both very believable and very touching in a way.  A good way.

Niffenegger's writing appeals to me on several levels. I enjoyed her descriptions of the cemetery and the flats occupied by the novel's characters.  She gave enough detail without boring me to tears with minutia.

The character development was wonderful. I didn't fall in love with any of the characters, but they were so very human in their quirks, strengths and weaknesses, I couldn't help but project my own desires for each of them as the story progressed. I guess you could say I cared what happened to them. That to me is a hallmark of a story well told.


  1. That's what my husband says too--if he doesn't care what happens to the characters then it's not a good book.

  2. I have been reading too many bad books - unfortunately.

    I got a free copy of Julie and Julia and I actually like it better than the movie - by A LOT - but not sure that should be the standard.

  3. My daughter JUST finished this book and we were agreeing that we both liked the characters and the intriguing set-up and premise, but neither of us liked the way it ended. It had me gripped, though; I'll say that for it.


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