Philosophy is defined as a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought. Well, my theory is if I can add at least 10 new books to my Wishlist and move at least 5 older Wishlist selections to my TBR list every month, then life is a ice cream sundae. And if I can find those 10 books from at least 5 new blogs each month then that's the cherry on top.


Well, I've made it almost 5 years now, so for better or worse, I continue on. I tend to blog in spurts as the urge to be creative erupts. As I don't have an artistic bone in my body, you will see very few changes in the layouts. Hey, I'm a reader not an artist like so many of the awesome bloggers I follow. I know you don't always have the time but if you stopped and looked, take a half a minute and say your piece. Recommend a book that you have enjoyed or hated for that matter. Thank you to all who visit.
Oh, and I moved my Google Friend Connect info and share this buttons to the top, as without our friends, who are we?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review--Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Title: Her Fearful Symmetry
Author: Audrey Niffenegger 
Genre: Ghost Story
Rating: * * * 
Publishers: Scribner  (Sept 29, 09  )
Hardback: 416 pages
ISBN: 1439165394
FTC Disclosure: Paperbackswap

Audrey Niffenegger's spectacularly compelling second novel opens with a letter that alters the fate of every character. Julia and Valentina Poole are semi-normal American twenty-year-olds with seemingly little interest in college or finding jobs. Their attachment to one another is intense. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. From a London solicitor, the enclosed letter informs Valentina and Julia that their English aunt Elspeth Noblin, whom they never knew, has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions to this inheritance: that they live in it for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the estranged Elspeth and Edie, their mother. 

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast and ornate Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Radclyffe Hall, Stella Gibbons and Karl Marx are buried. Julia and Valentina come to know the living residents of their building. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword-puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive compulsive disorder; Marijke, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including - perhaps - their aunt.

I've got to admit, despite the rather lukewarm reviews that this book had received, (and I try not to read too many as I don't want to spoil 
the storyline,  just get a general feel for the book),  I had to get it as it was written by the author of  The Time Travelers Wife, my all time favorite of any  genre I've read. But the reviewers were right. It was NOT the TTTW(sigh)

That said, though I felt like I had to struggle at times to stay interested in this book, I was determined to solve the mystery despite feeling like I knew what was going to happen. Let's just say I was right but oh so wrong too! I won't rehash the whole synopsis of the book but in general two girls, twins, inherit a flat in London from their, until now, unknown aunt who is their mom's twin. They must live in the flat for a year before selling it and their parents are restricted from entering it ( I just had to know why Elspeth felt so strongly about this).The younger twins weird, almost incestuous, commitment to one another was a bit unsettling at first but very necessary for the telling of the story. At times I felt like the book was much longer than it was as it dragged on and on (and not in a good way). While the ending was and wasn't a surprise, the journey there was arduous. And the trip IS the most important thing. The characters were fascinating, at first, though at times seemed more like 13 year olds than 20 year olds, and the descriptive locale made me feel I was wandering the streets side by side with the twins. Had I not had such great expectations for it after TTTW, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Definitely a check out of the library or get used (like I did) read. And though I was disappointed in this book, I'll be back for another of Niffenegger's works but will pay more attention to the reviewers. 


Raine said...

Now, I know why the author's name is familiar - The Time Traveler's Wife. I haven't read that book tho and saw the movie first. I read that there have been many changes which I expected whenever a book is adapted to the big screen. Hopefully, I can spot a copy and check how the book presented it. For this one, I was also expecting something especially when the genre was tagged under ghost story. You don't get that quite yet just by reading the book title. :D I'll give this book a try when I come across it.

brendajean said...

Thanks for the review. I've heard such mixed things about this book too. I love the author however and think I will follow your advice and pick it up from the library first:)

aparajita said...

Thanks for the review, i'll sure be looking into it

andrea b said...

I have a copy of this book at home (it was a gift) but I haven't been able to get to it yet (I think I may have been subconsciously put-off by a few reviews, even if I try not to pay too much attention to them). It's hard to follow a beloved book like TTTW... I appreciate that you mention that you liked the characters and that the book is an OK read. I'll try to forget about the expectations and give it a go!