Sunday, July 11, 2010

What I Read Awhile Ago: Her Fearful Symmetry

I reviewed this book on Goodreads in January right after it came out, but since I'm entering a contest that requires a blog post with a review, I'm posting it here. And for the record, I STILL think about this book months later:

As soon as I heard Audrey Niffenegger was coming out with a new book, I had to read it. The Time Traveler's Wife is still up there among my top five favorite reads of all time.

When I started reading this gargantuan book (416 pages!), I couldn't put it down. At night before falling asleep. I'd talk to Simon about the plot. I just couldn't stop thinking about these twin girls, Julie and Valentina, so alike in many ways. I found their co-dependency abhorrent. I loved the words used to describe them -- pallid and incurious. I visualized them: pale and white-haired, slender, moving in synchrony.

I was on Team Valentina, of course. Julie was a bit too much like a bulldog.

Now that I've finished it, I feel very torn. The writing was exquisite, of course. Audrey has such a lyrical style and the quirky cast characters felt so real. I loved the way the story unfolded, even the big surprise toward the end of the book.

This book is not a comfortable book or an easy read. My main problem was the ending. I hated it. But, I can't really fault the book for not giving me the type of sugar-coated, neatly wrapped up Disney ending I've come to expect from everything in the world. Heck, I loved The Time Traveler's Wife, but it certainly wasn't a barrel of laughs.

I think that's the other problem with this book. I loved Audrey's first one so much, this naturally falls short. It's VERY different from The Time Traveler's Wife. Still, it's been a couple of days since I finished it and I find myself continuing to think about the characters and the story. It's haunting me.

I think this might be one of those books I'll come to appreciate more later. I may even have to read it again. I definitely think it was worth the read, no matter how much I disliked the ending.

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