April’s book was a strange, strange read, for me. I was caught up in it, I read it at a nice speed… but perhaps we should have kicked off our book club with something a little more… normal?
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Have you ever tried cooking something that sounded like it would come out great? Like, all of the ingredients, when listed together, seem like they could make something really delicious? But… when you plate up the dish, something is just off? Honestly, that is how I feel about Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. The topics: London, Coming-of-age, Romance, Sisters, Ghosts, these are all things I can get behind, and sound like they’d come together to make something great. But, for some reason the book didn’t grab me the way I thought it would have.
I knew I had to finish the book by the 25th because Libby and I agreed upon today to post our reactions. After the three-quarters mark I was kind of reading the way that you’d watch a scary movie, like with one eye shut and kind of through your fingers. I had my hunches on what was about to happen, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to find out if my hunch was correct or not. Is that the way Audrey wanted us to read it? I suppose when ghosts are involved, there’s always the chance that uneasy feeling was intentional.
Each of the characters were interesting in their own way, but I found myself more pulled to the supporting characters and less involved in the main characters, the twins. I suppose considering the twins were the focus of the book I found them a little underdeveloped. I think my favorite story arc was that of the OCD neighbor Martin and his personal trials. Maybe we connect ourselves to the characters we can relate with the most? I do not have OCD, but I can relate to irrational things preventing me from taking risks or even causing me to procrastinate on everyday things.
One of the major themes I saw emerge, which I liked, was the concept of one becoming two, and/or two becoming one. You saw this in the romance aspect, the life and death aspect, and the twin aspect– the fact that the girls’ mother was one of an estranged pair of twins, and that the daughters were a very close pair of twins threw that into stark contrast. The romantic involvement with Robert– him separating himself from Elspeth and getting involved with Valentina made me think about how hard it is to be single after being in a long-term relationship, and how your body and soul crave a new connection after the first one was cut off.
The ending seemed dragged out but abrupt at the same time. Is that possible? I’m not sure I have an opinion on the way things turned out. I’m glad I finished. If I wasn’t committed to reading this as part of the book club I may have fallen off and not finished. So, I feel satisfied with that. Maybe that’s the best part about
leading being part of a book club anyway!
I’m not going to tell anyone that they “must read” this book, but I’m glad I was a part of reading along with Libby and I’m looking forward to hearing what you thought about it, if you read along with us. Please write a little something in the comment area or paste a link to your thoughts on your blog or to your goodreads review or something. I think since it was such a strange and possibly polarizing book it will make for better discussion!
The great news is that I can announce our May book choice — Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’ve been seeing this book pop up time and time again lately, especially since it was announced that a movie is in production with Steven Spielberg directing … so I placed a request on it at the library. I think it’s going to be more fast-paced, it’s described as a “thriller,” and it has to do with virtual reality and video games, so I am totally in.
I love futuristic dystopias like 1984, Minority Report, The Hunger Games, as well as the movie Tron, so I hope this lives up to my ideals in the genre. Please, join us reading Ready Player One this month and come back at the end of May for another discussion!
5 thoughts on ““Her Fearful Symmetry” Book Review & May Selection!”
I love how you and I said so many of the same things. I want a whole book about Martin and his wife, please!
And I am so excited about Ready Player One. I didn’t realize that Steven Speilberg was directing the movie. HOW FUN!!
PS I THOUGHT I picked a totally normal book to start off but newp!
Thanks for inviting me to do the book club with you. Looking forward to reading more with you in the future!
I really like what you said about about the repeating theme/symbolism of two becoming one! Very astute observation. Martin’s story was also the most interesting/satisfying for me!
I also liked that there is a very clear “be careful what you wish for” theme that emerges at the end. It kind of reminds me of something you’d see in a classic Steinbeck or Oscar Wilde book.
Here’s my review. I liked that the book wasn’t normal. Whatevs! – https://stephloue.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/book-review-her-fearful-symmetry/
I’m so happy you liked it! Loved reading your review. Thanks for sharing!
I love your work. Great attention to small things.