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PaulineMRoss

Pauline's Fantasy Reviews

Reviews of fantasy books, plus some mystery, sci-fi and literary works, and my random thoughts on book-related matters.

Currently reading

Dragon Queen (The Memory of Flames, #5)
Stephen Deas
The Splintered Eye (The War of Memory Cycle #2)
H. Anthe Davis, Erica Dakin

Look at Me: A Novel

Look at Me - Jennifer Egan In honour of my new resolution to toss anything that doesn’t grab me in the first 10% or so, here’s another DNF. Now I’m sure this is a deeply worthy affair, covering the themes of identity, how others see us and how we see ourselves. It’s well-written and all that. But it lacked something. Plot, mainly. Interesting characters, definitely. Any kind of impetus to keep turning the pages, or to find out what happens to these people. I just didn’t care.

It started so well, too. This is the opening:

“After the accident, I became less visible. I don’t mean in the obvious sense that I went to fewer parties and retreated from general view. Or not just that. I mean that after the accident, I became more difficult to see.”

Now, that’s intriguing. How did she become more difficult to see? Or rather, why? I felt a frisson of interest. Was there, perhaps, some paranormal stuff going on? Fairly stupid response, right? In my defence, I have a lot of stuff lurking on my Kindle from way back, not sorted by genre, and I don’t check the blurb or reviews first, I just start reading. This had unintended consequences in this particular case. Since it’s written in the first person, I had no idea whether the main character was a man or a woman. I ran with the default – male. It was many, many pages before there was mention of a prom dress. Oops. Time for a quick adjustment of mental image. It was many more pages before there was a name, Charlotte. Dull name.

Anyway, it’s not paranormal, it’s just angsty chick-lit. After this interesting opening, we go back to the main character’s childhood, would you believe, and slog through the details of her best friend and her first boyfriends and discovering sex and all that stuff. It takes forever to come back to the present day. By then I’d lost interest. There was absolutely nothing about the main character to hold my attention or make me want to read on. For anyone who’s more tolerant of this kind of introspective story, I can tell you that it’s very well written and it’s had good reviews. It just wasn’t for me. One star for a DNF.