Sunday, July 24, 2011

Popular Books I Found Lacking

disappointing BOOKS 

Cataloochee by Wayne Caldwell - A frustrating W.Va mountain story. Well written with interesting detail but a handful of new characters continue to appear in every chapter with nobody to follow. Who are the protagonists?
Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - Strong autobiography with irresponsible parents (Three year-old’s dress catches fire while she’s cooking). Locale is West VA mining town and Arizona desert. A story of homeless people having kids.
Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - Antebellum story, strong plot, weak author’s voice. Twelve year-old protagonist speaks with adult, educated vocabulary. (I stopped reading when she used the word “dictum.”). One dimensional evil characters. Wordy with unnecessary coming and going--sending or fetching somebody for this, that, or the other.
Mandingo by Kyle Onstott - Crude characters, unappealing, who cares what happens to them…
Swamplandia by Karen Russell - Well written. Amusement park (where they wrestle alligators) goes broke but the characters are boring.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - Early 20th century, interesting circus setting but the protagonist isn’t engaging. Writing sounds feminine though the narrator is male.
Widow’s War by Mary Mackey - Civil War novel written in contemporary speech/language. Convoluted plot, critic calls it formulaic.

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