Monday, November 26, 2012

A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve

I've accomplished nothing tonight. It's been lovely. I had grand plans, but they fizzled as the Monday wore on. So...I did not finish the two projects I had set to wrap up...nor did I even set foot in the crop room. And guess what...I don't feel too terrible about it. Okay, that's a lie. Now I feel guilty. Dang it.

I will make myself feel mildly better here in the next hour. I'm all set to finish the book I'm reading - thus putting me only 9 books behind my goal for the first time in...oh...five months. Amaz-a-zing.

I am learning a little something with this blogging and crafting adventure of mine. On occasion, I have a tendency to bite off a bit more than I can chew. I know, shocker right? Anyway, I've decided that it's going to be important for me to start making some alterations to the way I attack things. Next year, I will not torture myself by reading books that will rate two stars or less. It's not worth my time and it just serves to put me behind. (I was on track until East of Denver.) From now on, the abandoned shelf on Goodreads will be used and I won't feel bad about it.

I do mildly feel bad about my segue though. I don't have it makes this book look awful. Sorry. Blame Monday.

I mentioned earlier this year that I loved Anita Shreve when I read The Pilot's Wife. I've decided that either I really got lucky by choosing that book first or that I've just chosen crummy runners up. A Wedding in December was okay, but it wasn't really the best.

The book is about a group of high school friends who reunite for the wedding. Their lives grew distant and few of them kept in touch following the death of another boy from the group. Being back together again allows them to reminisce, reconnect, and rekindle relationships that had faded.

Yup. The plot really is that simple. But I had some serious issues with the book. First of all, why the crap would that many people get back together for a wedding when they hadn't seen each other for years? There were seriously only a few other family members present. I found that extremely strange. Second, is there no such thing as a happy marriage anymore? Nearly every couple in this book is unhappy in some manner or has one person in the relationship cheating on the other one. Wow. Thanks for that heart warming story, Ms. Shreve.

The characters also seem to be very shallow, not only in their personalities, but also in their development within the book. Most of them feel very two dimensional, as if she had too many characters to keep track of and just wanted to keep things simple. There was more than one instance where I got two different characters confused.

Oddly, there was also a second story line. I think this was what threw me the most. One of the characters, Agnes, is writing a story based on her research of the Halifax Disaster (a 1917 shipyard explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia). The majority of the plot for this side story occurs when Agnes is daydreaming and she honestly comes off a bit nutso in the way the transitions are written. The kicker is, I was actually more interested in this side story than the actual plot of the novel. The writing is smooth and easy throughout these sections and I that found the historical nature of the topic held my attention quite well. This last little bit wasn't a big surprise, as I tend to enjoy historical fiction.

Overall, this book mostly frustrated me. The writing had the capability of being good and the descriptions were occasionally brilliant, but it primarily seemed like a lazy endeavor. It felt like she started out with two separate stories, but couldn't make the Halifax plot into a full novel so she just blended them together. That annoyed me. It also seemed that the whole thing was written in a hurry; there wasn't as much care taken as I would've have liked to see.

The Halifax Disaster actually kept A Wedding in December from being a complete disaster. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.


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