Saturday, August 15, 2009

Paradise House - A Lousy Book Review

Have you ever wanted to:

  • search for your future by running a Bed and Breakfast country hotel of your own?
  • heal yourself from a dyslexic past and a broken heart by taking on responsibilities of two sisters, one who shirks all responsibilities (Nattie) and the other who dreams and sings all day (Polly)
  • get out of the rut called routine and do something drastically different with your life other than run a country hotel?
  • run away from being the shoulder that everyone cries on?
Welcome to Erica James' idyllic setting in "Paradise House", a novel that showcases three sisters with remarkably distinct characters, whose father is a kind, compassionate man and thinks only of bringing happiness to his family, even when his dreamy wife leaves him to 'take a break' for a year or two in New Zealand. There are times you may wonder if a man can be so complacent about the troubles in his family.

To be honest, most characters in the novel except the bratty, saucy Nattie, are so complacent, boring and laid back that I struggled to force myself to read the book. The first few chapters of this book were awful. I think I was drugged when I forced myself to read through those chapters. It looked like an amateurish draft, describing Genevieve's sad life, surroundings, friends, family, and a broken love affair. All information is doled out like you would read in a textbook. There is no feeling or powerful rendering that could have made it so much more meaningful and interesting to a reader. A lot of characters in the book were truly unnecessary because a reader like me had no clue who's important and who's not.

Lily Rose, a four year old girl, and Gran, the outspoken grandmother breathe life into this otherwise predictable plot. The protagonists, Genevieve and Christian, are predictably boring. I don't know why an author would even create protagonists like that. At the same time, Adam, a supporting character who tries too hard to win over saucy Nattie, stands out impressively. He is rich, made fortunes out of dilapidated caravans and wears the wrong, garish printed ties with all his rich, classy suits. This is the character that made me want to read the boring book because I really wanted to know whether he gets the love of his life or he gets more than the unpredictable route the author seems to have decided for him.

I don't know what kind of books you like to read but I do know that this book is definitely not something you would consider as a pleasant, predictable beach read. It is just about three lovely women who struggle to find independence in their lives and follow a very predictable way of finding it in a village setting.

It's exactly the kind of book I usually avoid because its so typical, boring and lackluster. There is just nothing to look forward to or enjoy thoroughly. By the time I was half-way through, I was sleepy more than absorbed. Some of the characters are so lifeless that I wanted to cry for them and beg the author to give them more substance.

Perhaps, I am too ambitious as a reader. I expect a novel to grip my attention and interest from the first chapter itself. I expect the characters, big or small, to have life that means a lot to me, as a reader. I suppose an author's idea of portraying characters is different.

I also found the Erica James' writing style quite annoying at most times. There was simply no flow to the book. The reader had to somehow flow with the boring plot. What made this novel truly forgettable is that the author, in every sentence of this book, tells the reader what to think, whom to like, and so on with narrative descriptions and not let a reader draw his/her own conclusions.

Still, I've got to confess, I read on because I felt I should give this novel a fair chance. I hoped that somewhere the author would surprise the reader but unfortunately, that stroke of luck never happened. By the time I was finishing the book, I somehow wanted to throw up because it was so painful and pointless to read on. My thought was: How can an author kill the plot and the characters so passively?

So overall, I recommend that if you see this book, please read it at your own risk of total boredom. This is no romance worth spending your time on, this is no family saga that will grip you and by the end of it, you are likely to wonder how an author could kill the plot and characterisation with such amazing, consistent pace. Maybe, you can think of a few boring books that you struggled to read and how you felt about it.

Till then, Happy Reading.

9 comments:

abdul hai said...

Nice blog

Shri said...

First time here..Great blog!I come across very few writings/musings blog, at least in my search for other good food blogs.Loved your review of the book!

Rohit said...

hehee..Swapna ..its especially reading books like that that you wish the bookstore or the author could provide any money back gaurentee!!..but tell you what..going by what you have mentioned regarding the plot..I actually like it ..the plot that is. But as yu said, dosen't take much to kill the plot either ..

Sarbear said...

It's a shame we can't love every book, huh? I had one of these recently. Thanks for the honesty.

GentleLavender said...

@Abdul: Thanks a ton. Its great to hear you liked my blog. Hope you will visit again and share your suggestions.

@Shri: Thanks very much. I am really happy that you liked my blog and the book review. Do visit whenever you can and share your comments and feedback, would definitely love to hear from you.

@Rohit: Hey, Rohit, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are right, the plot had potential if it had been executed with some level of technique. I think the boring style of writing truly killed the plot. You are right in pointing that out. Do visit again and share your thoughts about forthcoming posts. See you soon.

manchitra said...

Lovely post .How I wish there were at least half a dozen people like you who would write such an interesting review of a supposedly dragging book which would make book lovers like me stretch their budgets for buying books for the most effective limit.Continue with your reviews .
Thanks for blog rolling me .I am also blog rolling you.

GentleLavender said...

Thanks so much for blog rolling me, Manchitra. I am glad this post is useful to book lovers like you. I look forward to getting more comments and feedback from you soon.

GentleLavender said...

@Sarbear: Its nice to be complimented for honesty, considering the times we live in. Seriously, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Hope to hear more comments from you soon.

Raaga said...

first time here... and I am glad you dropped by my space... so I could come to yours. :)

I like the way you've reviewed the book. :)

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