This book was the biggest surprise for me- in that I wanted to like it but I just didn’t. I am a huge fan of An Patchett, and two of my favorite books, Bel Canto and State of Wonder have been written by her. I had the highest of expectations of this one, after having patiently waiting for my pre- ordered copy to arrive.
The opening scene, which begins with a kiss, was a winner for me. I liked how this reminded me of Bel Canto. This scene itself is well written, but what bothered me most about this book in general was how years upon years are just skipped and time intervals jumps back and forth so much that it all seemed disjointed to me. Patchett does such a wonderful job at introducing the characters, but they are not developed throughout the book, so that I found myself unsure of who the essence of these siblings( and step siblings and step parents) is. If they had been better developed, I wouldn’t have forgotten who was who, having to keep going back just to keep track of who the kids belonged to.
I also felt that certain scenes were given way too much importance and were described quite vividly while other events were completed ignored.I questioned, who exactly is the main character of this book, if anyone?? Did the author leave much to the imagination? Was I supposed to fill in the blanks?
My last note is that a fatal episode is described in detail here, the implications of which I don’t think are plausible ( anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting). How would Benadryl pills have stopped the character from dying of anaphylaxis??
This book left me confused, unsure of what story the author is trying to tell, and frankly disappointed. I have a great deal of respect for the author, who has given me the pleasure of being in a different world the moment I enter one of her books. Perhaps I am missing something with this one, but it does not go on my list of recommendations.