“The Time Traveler’s Wife” is one of those books so many people told, nay, demanded I read. All said it was fabulous, and I believed them. The premise sounded interesting, especially since I am an unapologetic fan of Doctor Who. A time traveling man in love with a woman who has to live life linearly with, and without him? I am hooked! Or I wanted to be. Which is why this review is hard. I did not love this book, in fact, I barely liked it. So buckle in, this is going to be a long review.
***I received a free copy from Penguin's First To Read Program in exchange for an honest review***
I am new to Donaldson’s work, I know of him by reputation only and that others greatly enjoy his fantasy worlds, but form this particular book, I don’t see it. In reading the synopsis and drooling over the cover, I was thrilled to be able to read an early copy of the book as he is such a well-respected author, but those good feelings were wiped out pretty quickly as the first 60% of the book was like pulling teeth to get through. It’s a convoluted “magical” setting with laws and rules that are never well defined, and a world that feels small and simplistic with two warring nations that have been at war so long, the cause is nearly forgotten—though the brief explanation felt like a bad Romeo and Juliet retelling—all the people know is that some slight was caused a millennia ago, so obviously they still fight about it. Even when the main character, Prince Bifalt, has his mind expanded, the world never managed to feel whole, and therefore remained small and petty, populated by a slew of characters that annoyed me literally every step of the way.
I don’t think I need to give an introduction to what “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about. It’s been around since 1985 and is now a Hulu series, so chances are, you’ve at least heard of it. In short, it’s heralded as the feminist warning of a dystopian future where women have every single one of their rights taken away. They are used, and abused, regulated to roles of either procreation or house maintenance. They cannot leave their house and walk wherever they want, their clothes become habits, and are color coded to fit their roles. Life for women under extreme Judeo-Christian beliefs is terrible in Atwood’s book, there’s no doubt about it. But, despite the acclaim this book gets, this is one of those books that was made better when it transitioned to the small screen. Just because your book is a comment on societal trends, and is meant to be a warning for the future, does not mean you can simply ignore important story elements.
****I received a free copy of this book for an honest review****
“A Boy From The Chesapeake” is a collection of literary essays documenting one man’s sexual awakening, if you will. It’s not sexual in that it’s graphic or gratuitous, in fact, most of the stories are fairly romantic in one way or another. But 90% of the essays document either a romantic relationship with a woman, or the narrator is talking about women / general life experiences that loosely surround his ideas of women and intimacy. These essays are almost like reading prose or poetry than short stories with a plot or story line. So keep that in mind, Roszkowiak will not be holding your hand as you read. He does not introduce his narrator nor link the essays together in an overt way to tell a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. So, know that going into this short read. These essays are just that, small snippets of time that is told in a memoir style where the only “point” is to beautifully describe a particular encounter.
Click the book images to see them on Amazon!