Monday, April 14, 2008


Pages: 302
Date: 14/04/2008
Grade: 4+

Obviously a Dutch book, this time by a Dutch author, or rather two authors working together, whose names are not provided. And I'm not sure as to how to translate this title. The closest I can get is "Saddle Soreness and other Female Distress".
The story is about 7 women, all aged around 50, who have known each other since university. Once a year they travel to the Loire valley in France for a week long bicycle holiday.
This year is the fifth time they make the trip and it will turn out to be a memorable and for some traumatic one.
With one of the "Tites" (the group's name) suffering terminal cancer, another still getting over the death of her husband a year ago and a third trying but not succeeding to have and do it all and still be happy, things would be hard enough. However, that's only the start of it. A fourth member experiences a holiday romance, while the fifth discovers that the sixth has an affair with her husband . The final member of the group looks at the front page of a Dutch paper to discover that her secret lover of five years has died in a car crash. Never a dull moment therefore in this book, but for me there was just too much happening in the space of six days for this to be a story I could believe in.
And although every chapter was told by another member of the group, I never found the voices to be individual enough. And I also had a problem with the women themselves, I couldn't really warm to any of them, or them as a group. And much as it shames me to say it, I don't much like the Dutch language. Compared to English is seems so very coarse, completely lacking in sublity.
Still, I'm not sorry I read this book since it did hold my interest and me turning the pages.

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