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Saturday, November 07, 2009

How to Buy a Love of Reading

Gibson, Tanya Egan.  How to Buy a Love of Reading.

 From Publishers Weekly: 
Egan's debut, an odd blend of young adult melodrama and unsuccessful metafiction, winds itself into knots of empty story lines. Recognizing that their dullard daughter, Carley, needs an academic boost, Gretchen and Francis Wells hire author Bree McEnroy to write a book to Carley's specifications. Though Carley's love for reality television and Bree's fondness for self-conscious literary tropes should, in theory, unite to make a delightful story-within-a-story, it is often neglected or underwritten. Meanwhile, the cardboard secondary cast floats around Bree and Carley: there's Hunter, Carley's crush, whose alcoholic rakishness, we are assured, masks a poet's interior; Carley's social-climbing mother and philandering father; and Justin, Bree's college chum, who has become, on dubious merit, a literary star. Carley and Hunter's friendship is jeopardized by both his addictions and her unrequited adoration, and Bree and Justin reconcile. Plagued by thin, when not wildly inconsistent, characterization from the start, the narrative's tendency to flit from character to character without revealing anything memorable or insightful further blurs the point. Unfortunately, there isn't enough heart to redeem the dopiness.

I do agree with the above excerpt and didn't really want to bother with thinking about how to review this long indulgence myself.

I read it all...with my inner-critic on high volume the entire time.  Rich people are all shallow and/or mean-spirited?  May be...I don't know anyone who is the category of rich that these characters dwell in.  I hope there are those who live in that world who retain some common sense and a remnant of humanity.

The book is too, too clever and pretty empty.

Fiction. ? 2009.  389 pages.


  1. Doesn't sound like it would work for me. I will pass!

  2. Okay, good to know! The title sounds intriguing, but I'm glad to hear I don't have to put it on my TBR list -- always good to eliminate something!

  3. The premise was interesting. Sorry it didn't pan out.

  4. Kailana - Good idea!

    Dorothy - Criticism of meta fiction, written in meta fiction style. There were interesting parts, but nothing truly likable.

    Framed - :\ Hate it when that happens!

  5. I've been wondering about this book for awhile. Too bad it falls short. Guess I'll be skipping it.

  6. I like the title and the book cover so that's why I originally put this one on my list but I had a feeling it may not live up to it. It may be coming off my list as I've seen some other reviews for it which aren't very promising either.

  7. Stefanie - I like the title, but shouldn't have bothered to stick with it. The conclusion was no more satisfactory than the rest.

    iliana - The title and the premise caught my interest, but overall, a disappointment.

  8. I had high hopes for this one based on the premise, but all the reviews I've read have been on the negative side. The whole thing reminds me a bit of Special Topics in Calamity Physics - did you ever read that one?

  9. Lesley - I'd hoped for something light and amusing, but that was never really the aim.

    No, I haven't read Special Topics in Calamity Physics--and if you note a similarity, I think I'll skip it!