Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review: Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 3 stars

I felt this book was uneven. It took me a long time to get into it ... the only reason that I kept going was that the writing was really good. The writing style was less compelling for me but I liked the actual writing itself. It was, at times, extremely elegant and beautiful.

By the time I got to a point that I began to really enjoy the book, it was over. Thinking back, I think I was a bit off put by the 'voice' of the main character during the first half of the book. It was very much focused on his inner thoughts. I preferred the later sections of the book where he began to interact more with the other characters. It seemed more real to me. I think that the book seemed to 'come alive' in the later parts ... when Strout was able to bring the book to a resolution and really crystallize the intent of the book as a whole. I understand what Strout was probably trying to do with the first part of the novel and the style she chose to write it but I felt it was ineffective as a whole. The primary themes of the novel were compelling - isolation, boundaries, the impact of judgment and grief. There is a lot of good in this novel but, in the end, I wish that the first half had been more compelling.

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