Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Yikes. I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, I just didn't like it. It was readable but missed the mark in so many ways that it was distracting. Perhaps its my years of working with domestic violence victims but I felt that that aspect was not done well in this novel. It was very 'vanilla' and typical of most domestic violence stories. There wasn't anything interesting or compelling about this particular story.
Even worse than the domestic violence aspect being done badly, the characters were caricatures, not real flesh and blood, engaging characters. It wasn't just that they were unlikeable (although several of them WERE), they were just cardboard and boring! I figured out the 'big reveal' very early in the novel which is always disappointing. The alternating narrator tool used by Bohjalian just wasn't very effective in this novel - it made the plot feel repetitious and only made the cardboard feel of the characters stand out all the more for me. I had to force myself through the end of this one. I just didn't care all that much what was coming.
I have really enjoyed some of Bohjalian's books so I'm hoping that this is just a dud (although he's had a couple of duds for me now). Perhaps I'll just have a up and down relationship with his work - love some, dislike others! Either way, I just cannot recommend this book. There are so many other books that would be a better use of your time & energy. Skip this one, is my advice!
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