Friday, February 12, 2016

I finished a book!

I received this book for Christmas, and look here, February's not even gone yet and I have finished it.  Unheard of!  So what did I think of this book?  By the end of it, I enjoyed it.  Let me tell you why.

I won't give any spoilers in telling you this, the chapters are set up like vignettes into each character's life. Now, that's not a problem generally, but the beginning of this book was.

When an author uses this device, rather than just running straight through in a logical manner to tell a story, it says to me, the straight story isn't very interesting, let's cut it up, jumble it about, to keep the reader guessing, and tell the story in pieces.

Some authors can do this to good effect, this author didn't really accomplish that until the last third of the book.  At the beginning of the book, I found it very annoying and distracting to constantly be jumping from one story and character, to yet another that had nothing to do with the previous one.  Of course I understood, in all likelihood, the characters and their story lines probably would connect at some point, which is why I stuck with the book.  Even when I could see the connections to the characters, I didn't think the author successfully transitioned from one story to the next.  I think that's what annoyed me the most.

In every chapter, there's a logical place to end it and a way to connect it to the next chapter, as I said, I don't feel like the author did that very well at the beginning of the book, but got better at it as the book moved along.

Now some of you might think, the author was doing the same thing all along, it just took you until the last third of the book to truly connect with the characters to see this.

No, I don't believe so.  I was not only reading this book for enjoyment, I was paying attention to how it was constructed, to give me ideas on how to write my own book.  At various points I remember thinking, the author could have connected this better, transitioned better, etc.

Overall, though, I did enjoy the story, at least enough to finish the book.  The book is set during WWII, and there's scant mention of Jews in this story, which is fine, that's not the story it was trying to tell, but when it did tell of what was occurring under the Nazis in Germany leading up to, and during the war, I would have liked a little more background of what was happening and how the characters felt about it.  The book touched on this, only a little bit, when it focused on one character in school.  It focused on another aspect of society in occupied France, and I think the author did a much better job letting the reader see what it was like to be occupied.  He started to do a good job on the fighting on the Russian front, then backed off.

I don't know.  Overall, I guess it's an okay book, but I found it lacking in too many parts.  M started reading it in an airport, which is what possessed her to get it for me, because she found it interesting, and she knew of my interest in WWII.  I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has read this and had a different impression of it.

And on and on and on

Still busy!  Surprised?  I think this is just the state of my life.  I'm teaching an on-line course, traveling three weeks in a row (MD,...