Books & Authors & Other

A Nice Surprise

Written By: K. L. DeWitt - Aug• 15•13

A while back, while book hunting, I came across Audrey Niffenegger’s book, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, and decided to read it since I’d heard such great things about her first book, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, but hadn’t had a chance to read that one.  (I also have never seen the movie to date.)

I usually don’t go for modern literature or romantic fiction, but SYMMETRY opened well, so I decided to read the whole thing.  Unfortunately, the bulk of the middle felt repetitious and sort of bloated as if the author was trying to fill the space before the twists at the end.  I don’t know if it was the subject matter, but the characters and scenes seemed to fall flat for me.  It took me weeks to get through the book as I kept putting it down.  So, when I came across a copy of THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, I bought it, but wasn’t sure I’d ever read it.  It ended up in my “someday maybe” pile.

A week or two ago, though, I was in the mood for something outside my usual sci fi (or Jim Butcher Dresden Files books since the next installment won’t be out for months) and cracked TTTW open, not expecting much.  To my surprise, I found myself 60-70 pages in before I even realized it.  Even with the complex time shifting from chapter to chapter it was compelling, with characters that were intriguing and an interesting premise.  With my busy schedule, I could only read it in short spurts, but I found I hated putting it down.  (In fact, last night, I had to keep reading because I was down to the last 70 or so pages and didn’t want to go to sleep before I reached the end, even if it meant I only got 4-5 hrs sleep on a worknight.  Ooops.)

I’m not sure why the first book is so much better than the second in my mind.  I may have to go back and compare the writing styles, word choices, pacing, characterization and such to see why WIFE makes me want to read it again and why I don’t care to re-read SYMMETRY.   It’s probably a good lesson for me should I ever get off my own backside and write, helping me to get a feel for what seems to work and what doesn’t.

In the meantime, I think I’ll watch the movie, just to see how they manage to translate such a complex story onto the screen…

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