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The Lace Reader: 01/19/11
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry for a book club. It is not a book I would have chosen for myself. Please keep that in mind while reading this post.
From the very first page I knew I would have to struggle to finish the book. The opening line: "My name is Towner Whitney. No, that's not exactly true. My real first name is Sophya. Never believe me. I lie all the time." Right there, with an opening that sounds like a rehash of the Knight and Knave logic puzzle, I was losing interest.
Those lines were warning alarms for me. Knowing immediately that there was going to be a whole bunch of mental anguish amongst a modern day setting only to be ended with the floor dropping out when the riddle is finally answered, I skipped to the end and read the trick ending first.
Having gotten the "surprise" out of the way I went back to reading the rest of the book. I struggled with the first thirty or so pages while Towner sets up the foundation of her elaborate riddle. I suppose I should have cared about her mental breakdown and her shock therapy and her gaps in memory. But I didn't. It all felt like a literary gimmick to me, window dressing to hide the trick ending. The problem is she showed her hand at the very beginning.
As I said, it wasn't a book I would have chosen for myself. I stuck with it to the end but I did it with lot of skimming. Every time Towner gets into one of her moods, I started skimming. If you like unreliable narrators, then you'll love this book. If you don't, pass on this book.
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Comment #1: Thursday, January, 20, 2011 at 20:14:17
You did much better than I did with this book. I read maybe almost half of it and just gave up. I didn't really care what happened. So glad that I was not the only who who didn't care for it.
Comment #2: Monday, January 24, 2011 at 16:39:01
I would have stopped at 50 pages if it weren't for it being a book club book. Readers seem to either love or hate the book.