Thursday, June 18, 2015

One I Couldn't Finish, One I Can't Quite Classify: Book Reviews on Spectacle (Newkirk) and Love May Fail (Quirk)

I'm back to my regular law blog writing and looking into some additional projects and I'll blame that for my silence here.  Plus my required twice-a-day walks which just add up, esp as the type who SWEATS...never a girly-"glisten"...I've had to wring shorts out before getting in my car after a workout.  Even though these are low-impact, it's still enough to get the faucets going...

Anyway, that's more than enough on sweat....I'm interrupting my post-op tale (planning at least one more post) to bring you your regularly-scheduled book reviews:

I did not finish this book (yet? ever??). I received a free copy from Harper Collins so I wanted to write a review anyway and I suppose placement on my "partially read may not finish" shelf is a review in itself.

I thought the underlying story was utterly fascinating, disturbing yet fascinating, and I "enjoyed" (not quite the right word for a human in a zoo cage) the early chapters. Unfortunately, my motivation to read waned fairly quickly, in part because I simply couldn't mentally juggle all the players. Excellent topic choice, but the habit of discussing almost every player's life story got to be too much for me. For a while, I figured it might be a book I read in bits, reading a chapter here or there while I kept another primary read going. It has been many weeks and I haven't picked it back up.

In many ways, Love May Fail (supplied to me by HarperColiins) is a story in four parts.  Like many in recent years, it is told by a series of narrators (and, thankfully, they are distinct enough to avoid confusion....though, it also helps that they each take one turn rather than alternating frequently).   We open on Portia and find her hiding in a closet and watching her very wealthy porn-director husband sleep with a much younger woman.  Portia eventually flees to her hometown in New Jersey where we meet her mother, a compulsive hoarder, and watch her reunite with her former hair-metal loving self.  

Over time we meet several other players, among them are the three whose voices we later hear (one via letters): Mr. Vernon, the beloved teacher who has had pretty much everything in his life go wrong; Mom Vernon, now a nun who has been shunned by her son for many years; and Chuck, brother to troubled Danielle, uncle to young Tommy (a hair-metal fan....seriously, there's a lot of hair-metal in this book!), and a recovered drug addict who is telegraphed far too quickly as a love interest for Portia.  Portia tries to rescue Mr. Vernon, who is very clear about not wanting to be rescued, and becomes enmeshed in the lives of Chuck et al.  

I have such mixed feelings on this one.  I love Quick's writing and that alone could have motivated me to eagerly pick this one up each night.  I also fell too hard for young Tommy, despite feeling like he was made far too perfectly-adorable  and adorably-vulnerable.  And, despite mixed feelings about most of them (adult Portia's interaction with Mr. Vernon was beyond aggravating and I didn't buy her relationship with her finances), I cheered for a good ending.  BUT, there are also a LOT of...well, the phrase I can come up with is "convenient moments" in this book and that's a pet-peeve.  We meet Mr. Vernon on a particularly awful day (one early moment in his section was far too tragic and far too unnecessary) and Portia and Chuck are far too perfectly-paired.  I had trouble with several plot-lines and there's just far too "much" here; it felt like Quick threw it all in at once for fear of never getting another chance.  There are a lot of "too"s in this paragraph and that little word tells a lot...

Three and a half stars...easy to read popcorn-lit with some really dark themes but the writing saves it from being just another book you'd pick up in the airport...

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