Thursday, June 26, 2008

Late to the Party

I was late to the Eat, Pray, Love party...and regretful, for I skipped Elizabeth Gilbert talking about the experience on Oprah because I hadn't yet read the book. I'm not a huge memoir fan, especially given how many have popped up on the market, so I resisted this book for a long time. Once I finally picked it up, I relished it.

The same goes for Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. The premise didn't appeal to me, even as I watched its rise to the top of every bestseller list in the country. Finally, my mother practically forced it into my hands, and once I read it, I was sorry I had waited so long.

I was determined that this was not to be the case with The Garden of Last Days. It's the long-awaited, much-anticipated latest novel from Andres Dubus III, the author of House of Sand and Fog. Expectations were high everywhere I looked, setting it up as potentially the best "serious read" of the summer.

However, I was very disappointed overall. I can't fault his writing...he was thorough with descriptions and attentive to detail. The storyline, though, just didn't propel me. In a nutshell, it centers around various characters and activities within a Florida strip club mere days before the tragedy of September 11.

It was a monster of a book, which is fine, except for the fact that much of the 535 pages takes place within just one night. It was interesting at first...tiresome in the middle...and flat in the end.

Are there books you wish you hadn't waited so long to read?

And, have you ever read something just because you think it's going to be the next big thing and you don't want to miss out...only to be disappointed?


Anonymous said...

I'll confess to not liking House of Sand and fact, I never finished it.

Anonymous said...

I admire you for finishing it. I couldn't get past the old 100 page try and I was SO disappointed in it. Like you I was really looking forward to it. I just read somewhere that Jennifer Garner bought it to make a movie starring her. Maybe it will be better then the book:)

Laura said...

I really liked it.

A book that everyone else raves about and I could not get through was The Red Tent.

Do you think I am crazy?

JoAnn said...

I hated the new Dubus book and cannot even believe that I finished it. I just thought everything about it was dreadful....especially the fact that it appeared to be unedited....or else it would have been 200 pp shorter!!

I thought that the book was overwritten and boring; the characters were all low-lifes with few redeeming characteristics; one character was so unnecessary that it seemed like the author inserted him (awkwardly) into the story after he finished writing the book; the setting was just plain stupid and, as far as I am concerned, only used as a hook to drag in people who want to read about strip clubs; the premise was weak; the book and plot were disorganized; and the writing left a lot to be desired.

Gee, I am soooo opinionated!!! LOL