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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

27. The Sister by Poppy Adams

Title: The Sister
Author: Poppy Adams
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 275
Format: ARC Paperback from B&N First Look Program
Rating: 3/5 stars
Finished: 3-17-08

I was selected to read Poppy Adams' The Sister through Barnes & Noble's First Look program. I thought the description of the book sounded interesting and the first chapter that they posted intrigued me enough to want to continue reading the story.

I have wanted to like this book. I felt it carried certain elements of Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale; it had a distinctly Gothic feel to the story, and the character of Ginny really intrigued me, as you never find out exactly what to make of her and her eccentricities. What I didn't enjoy about the book was the discussion group set up by B&N. There was a discussion thread set up for each individual chapter, and we weren't supposed to discuss events that happened later in the book, even though the reading was broken down into groups of chapters. It made it all very confusing for me. And then today, the author joined in on the discussion and left a very defensive post on the board concerning a post from one of the other readers, and I agreed with what this other reader was posting, and now I don't want to join in on the discussion with the author, as I don't want to be attacked by the author for what I read into the story, as opposed to what the author intends me to read into the story. Overall, not a very good experience and one that I will not partake in again at B&N, both due to the discussion experience and the author's reaction to her readers.

As for the book itself, not bad for a first time author. While Ms. Adams feels that she has completed in her mind a thoroughly thought out and planned story, I felt that she couldn't really decide how she wanted the story to go. Was it a Gothic mystery? Was the story about alcoholism? Alzheimer's? Dementia? It seemed that there were too many plot points and not enough explanation to let the reader in on what was going on. (Although, I thought this was the point, it would seem from Ms. Adams response on the B&N thread, she intentionally left these plots open so that you could have room to consider all these possibilities, however, she had definite ideas about all these plots in her head, and after the fact, her thoughts are the only ones to be followed.) It seems to be to be weighed down by its own ambiguity.

I need to finish this post, as the discussion on B&N has left me with a sour taste for this book. It gets 3 stars only because I did enjoy it. It may have gotten more had I not been involved in the other discussions, and would probably be getting less if I wasn't trying to hold the book to its own merits and not consider my personal feelings on the matter.

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