I think that I first saw this book reviewed in “O” magazine. The author’s name seemed familiar so I decided that I should read this book. My first tip off that this book might not be as popular as I would have expected came when it didn’t take me long to get it from the library. (I am still waiting for The Goldfinch. I am number 215 in line and that is after four months of being on the list.)
The story is told from the perspective of Eva, who is about 12 at the start of the book. As the book opens, Eva is being dumped at her father’s house (his wife has just died) by her mother. Eva’s father also has a daughter named Iris who is older than Eva. Eva soon learns that the relationship between her father and sister is not that of the Cleavers. (Ancient TV reference – “Leave it to Beaver”) One example is that the father steals money from Iris. Eva is a definite afterthought for both. When Iris decides it is time to leave and head for Hollywood, she decides to take Eva with her. The departure marks the end of Eva’s formal education.
Hollywood starts to work out until Iris is ostracized; it seems that Iris has a lifestyle that is not acceptable in Hollywood at the time. Then the girls’ father shows up. With the help of a friend, the girls, their father, and the friend leave Hollywood and drive cross country to New York.
In New York, the family continues its crash course with life collecting characters and using them to meet their needs.
This was not an easy book to start. I really had to stick with it. To say that the characters are flawed is an understatement. They didn’t really care about each other. It was more that they were there to use each other. Eva is one of the most sympathetic characters but by the end she is a product of her environment.
There is not an uplifting end to the book. No one is redeemed or even that lovable. They are interesting characters. In reviewing the ratings on Amazon, there is more of a split in the reviews than I have usually noticed. There are people who found the characters funny and the book fantastic and then others, like me, found the story to be not their cup of tea.
Please note though, none of these comments relate to the writing skill of the author. While I didn’t care for the characters, I thought that the book was well written. As part of the book structure, there are letters that are written to the characters (usually Eve) that foretell future events. I found these a little confusing at first. They do make sense by the end.
As you can tell, I do not highly recommend this book. I am glad it was a library book.
Thanks for reading!
Oh, I noticed the I had missed the last two weeks. Sorry!