"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twins Continued

Well, I couldn't put Her Fearful Symmetry down last night, so I finished it.
It was ... interesting, Honestly? I found the ending rather disturbing. Which, isn't necessarily a bad thing, sometimes that's what makes a book great - its ability to completely shock you with its ending. In this case however, I felt kind of robbed. I'll try to explain why without giving anything away.
About a week ago I was reading an article in Writer's Digest about creating suspense in your novel (a very good article by the way). One of their suggestions was to make promises to your readers. Not literal promises such as, 'I promise this book is going to knock your socks off', but in your story. You need to hint at things, perhaps at dark secrets, or quietly foreshadow big events to come. You need to lock your reader in with the promise of intrigue and possible catastrophe so that they can't put the book down. Now, in Her Fearful Symmetry Audrey Niffenegger did this very well, I obviously couldn't put the book down. Where I was disappointed was in the fulfillment of those promises. According to the article, it's important to make big promises, but it's equally important to keep those promises. I didn't feel that she did. The secrets she'd hinted at from the very beginning of the novel were indeed brought to light, but they had absolutely no effect on the outcome of the novel. Which made me wonder why they were there, and why the twins worked so hard to discover them if they had nothing to do with the outcome. I felt that way about pretty much everything. It was as though the beginning had nothing in common with the ending, and as I lay in bed trying to sleep after I finished, I found I couldn't. I just kept tossing and turning, questioning everything I'd just read and found I couldn't come to any kind of happy conclusion. She'd started the book off with all these different threads, and by the end they should have tied together so that each minute detail you'd forgotten to pay attention to had in fact been important to the story and led toward its end. I should have been slapping myself in the forehead moaning 'of course!', not scratching my head wondering 'what? How did that happen?'
And so, my verdict is this. It was, in fact, a very good read. It had me turning the pages from start to finish, unable to put it down. Unfortunately, the ending did not live up to the promises that I felt she'd made and I was therefore disappointed (and actually a little upset) by the ending. I encourage you all to give it a read and let me know your thoughts. I'm anxious to debate over its merits and shortcomings!

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