I’ve been trying to read Girl Reading lately, by Katie Ward, but unable to keep at it. I took a break from it to read This Life Is in Your Hands, then picked it up afterward, only to put it down again.
There is nothing offensive about it, it just isn’t grabbing me. The premise is a good one – it is a novel of vignettes, each one set in a different time, moving toward modern times (and further) as the book progresses.
Every story is centered around the theme of a female character reading – whether sitting for a portrait with a book, caught in the act while she should have been working, or some other scenario. There is potential here, but it fell flat for me.
The reviews of this book are quite positive, which makes me wonder what it is I’m missing. For me, the stories end abruptly and confusingly. This is probably intentional, meant to convey that these scenes are but a snippet of a full life, but it just doesn’t work for me.
Some of the stories failed to become compelling before they were cut short, whereas others contained promising characters and plot, but were ended in a wholly unsatisfying way.
The writing itself is fine, with one huge, glaring exception – why do you hate quotation marks, Ms. Ward?
The dialogue was often very difficult to follow, without the proper punctuation to distinguish speech from narrative. At times, it was even unclear which character was speaking.
I don’t like doing it, but I am giving up on this book. I usually try to wade through a novel even when it’s not exactly what I want, but this one I am going to return to the library so someone else can enjoy it. I think this might be a case of me being picky, because others seem to think highly of it. Yet again, I will chalk it up to personal taste and move on.
Have any of you read Girl Reading? If you liked it, what was it about it that you enjoyed? Does it get better past the halfway point? I am open to the possibility of being convinced to give it one last try, so if you disagree with my verdict, please let me know.
I have begun reading Richard Adams’s Watership Down for the first time today, and so far, it’s a better experience.
It seems fast-paced and absorbing, so it’s probably safe to expect a review of it sometime this week.
In the meantime, happy reading!