Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Pages: 166
Date: 22/03/2011
Grade: 3.5
Details: Book club read

I've been wondering how to classify this book for myself. I'd call it a comedy of errors, except that I didn't find anything even remotely funny in this book. I guess therefore that a tragedy of errors would be a better description.
This is the story of two young people, Edward and Florence, whom we meet on the evening after their wedding in a hotel on the Dorset coast, as they anxiously get ready for their wedding night; their first night together.
The year is 1962, the sexual revolution has not yet taken place and both Edward and Florence are nervous about what is to come, although they both have very different reasons for their nervousness.
As the two would be lovers slowly make their way towards disaster, the reader learns about their lives so far, their hopes and their fears.
This was a very short book, only 166 pages, and the story is brought to the reader as much through what isn't written as through what is.
There is a suggestion of unpleasantness in Florence's past, but it's never brought to the foreground.
Descriptions are brief, explanations mostly absent and what I was left with was a rather detached description of two young people facing an event they were completely unprepared for.
I know that this book got great reviews in all sorts of publications, but for me the story and the way in which it was told just didn't work. I like to feel a connection to the characters in the books I read, I like to be able to either love or loath them, but I do want to feel some emotion when I read about their plight. Edward and Florence never really got off the page for me. I really didn't care whether or not they'd overcome their fears, whether or not they would stay together. They seemed to me cardboard cut-outs in a world I have no connection with.
I guess I'm the sort of reader who likes to have emotions, feelings and meanings jumping of the page. And this book just gave the bare basics of a story, leaving it up to the reader to supply the emotional input. And as such, it wasn't the book for me.
Still, I'd score this book a 3.5 because it wasn't a book I had to force my way through. It just wasn't quite enough for me.


Anonymous said...

When I started reading it, until well over a second third into the book, I thought that instead of "wonderful, exquisite, devastating" on the cover it should have said AWKWARD. True the book is short and an easy-read, so I kept on, curious about where the author is going with it.
I think also one of the reviews says something like, "...in search of the truth..." - upon finishing, I am so glad I gave this book a chance. Love, Compassion, Selflessness - central points that will never wear out. If you are a Freud fan, you should love this one.

Marleen said...

Looks like you got more out of this book than I did, Anonymous, but so did many people. I guess it all boils down to what a reader hopes to find on the pages of a book. I'm glad you enjoyed it.