Monday, August 19, 2013
I have to admit that this was not an easy read. It was short, and spare, but it was difficult to get through. I felt like a voyeur, like I was suddenly privy to some very private, very intimate situation. I don't know as I've ever felt as uncomfortable reading a book as I did when I was reading this. Florence's apprehension was palpable. I dreaded what lay ahead for her. And I felt equally bad for Edward. His excitement and nervousness rang very true, and I knew that things were going to end disastrously, but I couldn't look away.
In the end, On Chesil Beach is about more than two inexperienced virgins on their wedding night. It's about communication, about missed moments, about fear, about pride, about love, about heartache and heartbreak, and about how we have to listen, really listen to people, and take a chance, or else we may miss the very thing we need most in life.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
That's pretty much the novel. There are other subplots - the married man's wife is a paragon of virtue, Ponce's best friend's husband is having an affair with none other than Babette, someone else is falling apart in the wake of his wife's death - but all that really happens is people run around having lunch, having sex, and lying to each other. I didn't find a single character to like.
The story had potentail, but it fell flat. I couldn't get past Babette's name, or Ponce's for that matter. And I struggled with believing that Ponce's friendships with the husbands never cause any ripples among any of the them. The male characters were especially one-dimensional; they were portrayed as over-sexed, over-moneyed, over-Viagra'd weaklings. I wondered at how they possibly made their fortunes if they were this dumb at life.
Tess is a liberal teacher who shops at thrift stores and Nick is a staid, boring, Republican lawyer. They couldn't be more different, but Nick needs a pretend fiancee in order to make partner in his firm, and Tess is the only girl he knows smart enough to pass muster. She agrees, and shenanigans ensue. There are a couple of subplots - her dancer friend falls for Nick's friend, someone from Tess' past resurfaces - but Nick's interactions with his secretary are what makes the book hysterical.
Crusie is great at dialogue, and she doesn't disappoint, but this was definitely not my favorite. Save it for the 99 cent bin at Goodwill, and leave it behind when you leave the beach.