As you may recall, for the month of April, our Virtual Book Club chose to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger and here’s my review! Leave your review or a link to your review in the comments and we’ll see what you thought of it, too!
What drew me to pick up this book in the first place? Probably ignorance? I recognized the author as the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and while I never actually read that book… or even saw the movie… I saw previews of the film and so, obviously, I knew all about what this book would be about. Right? Hopefully you’re seeing how very wrong this theory was. It’s like playing a game of telephone and then paying $15 (yeah, I paid full price for this book!) and committing several hours of your life based on the outcome.
I picked it up at a time when I was looking for something easy to quickly draw me in. Maybe a little romantic? I thought I’d found it! And then I suggested it for the book club and we were all in agreement and lo and behold! We were all reading it and we had to finish it. Hahaha! Does that give away how I felt about this book?
I really wanted my first book review to be “OMGILOVEDTHIS! EVERYONE READ IT! EMOJISEMOJISEMOJIS!” But this one is a little more complicated. Please keep reading.
There were things that I really did like about this book. I love the way that she always emphasized the things that the characters weren’t saying right along with the text that they were saying. This was something that Celeste Ng did so well in Everything I Never Told You (which I have gushed over, before).
I love the way that there are little sub-plots throughout the book. I found myself, at times, more interested in what was going on with the upstairs neighbor than what was happening with the rest of the characters. If Niffenegger wrote a book based around that character, I would likely read it. Though with a hesitant spirit.
I also really loved the starting premise of the book. The book centers around twenty-year-old twins who have inherited their late Aunt Elspeth’s apartment in London. The only catch is that they’re not allowed to sell the place unless and until they’ve lived there for a year. So it sounds like a lovely premise for a coming of age, fish out of water, sister-type story.
It’s not a spoiler alert to let you know that a few chapters in, it’s discovered that Elspeth has been trapped in the apartment as a ghost. I’m not ordinarily drawn to a metaphysical plotline but I was already into it and I wanted to see where it was going so I was willing to suspend belief and keep at it.
There were definitely times when I couldn’t put this book down. But unlike most other books that I get hooked on, it wasn’t so much the fact that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next that pulled me along. It was mostly the fact that I just really wanted to know where Niffenegger was going with this.
Without giving too much away, I can tell you that there reached a certain point in the third act when things turned surprisingly dark. I didn’t feel like the writer did a good job of building up to this. It felt very out of the blue and asked me to suspend my belief to a point where I felt annoyed as a reader. I can look past some real hair-brained schemes if the writing is really good. But I have to have one or the other and I didn’t feel like that was happening at this particular point.
Half of me kept reading because I wanted to see if she could turn this around and surprise us all and the other half of me kept reading because I was the one who chose this book for the book club and there was a large sense of obligation.
If the whole ghost-aspect of the book had been mentioned when I read the back cover, I know for sure that I never would have picked up this book (I just re-read the back of my copy and lo and behold, there is a small hint to it but not enough that would have deterred me). But I know that is just my style and I know other people have tastes that are different from mine.
I’m really excited to see what other people thought of Her Fearful Symmetry! If you’ve read it, please leave a review in the comments, or if you wrote a blog or Goodreads review, let me know and I’ll link to it here on this post!
MAY’S BOOK CLUB PICK!
The book that we chose for May is completely different and I’m really excited about it! Staci, of My Friend Staci selected Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’ve been hearing about this book all over the place and I feel like the universe, or whatever, is telling me to get into it!
So just like last month, it’ll go like this! We’ll all read Ready Player One during the month of May. At the end of the month, we’ll review the books! I’ll review it on my blog and encourage you to do the same if you have one. I’ll link to your blog on mine or you can just leave your review in the comments section, or provide a link to your review on Goodreads as well! There are so many options!