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I get angst. I get emotional conflict. I can even almost get that there are more than four people on earth under the age of 40 that are obsessed with Dante's Divine Comedy.
What I don't get is how a book can be written with such stilted, unnatural and totally unrealistic dialog. Nobody talks this way.
I also don't get how the reader is supposed to relate to such caricatures of real people. The hero's amoral past sounds awfully tame compared to the typical 20 something single guy. Certainly not a past that should cripple a man. And in spite of evidently being a sex and coke addict and a drunk he manages to get his doctorate degree and become a noted expert and sought after speaker on the subject of Dante.
And the heroine has so little backbone it is a wonder she is able to stand. She comes across as such a nonentity I don't know how anyone would ever even notice her enough to fall in love with her. If I were her friend I would constantly find myself slapping her and saying "Snap Out of It, for Christ's sake and grow some ..."
The Vermont farmboy/scholar who secretly loves the heroine from afar would be an even worse love interest than the hero. He is too good, too sympathetic, too understanding and too dull to pay any attention to.
And finally the premise is just plain silly. She goes to school in Toronto to see the man she has sworn to love forever and when he doesn't remember her she is either too shy or too stupid to remind him of who she is. Although the part about him not remembering her was totally believable. She isn't worth remembering.
This book is overflowing with unbelievable characters and premises that are so chock full of angst-ridden emotion and so sacchariny sweet my teeth hurt.
The only good thing I can say is the two main characters deserve each other. They can go off and bore each other silly for the rest of their lives, emoting endlessly yet saying nothing. I just wish they would put the rest of us out of their misery.
And I am really, really, really tired of all of this lower lip biting heroines seem to be doing lately. It is over done.
69 of 81 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this book. Sometimes I grow impatient with timid characters like Julia. She cowered and trembled a few too many pages for my taste; but still, I remained in her corner throughout the story. Plenty of angst and tortured souls. If you're not a fan of heavy literature, some of the exchanges and references are a bit pretentious, but are necessary to reveal the inner workings of Gabriel's mind . These conversations reveal the musings of two brilliant but socially challenged individuals who have, thus far, lived very sad lives.
Anyone with a family will appreciate the imperfect and absolutely realistic characterizations of family relationships. There's a dad who can still give his adult children a scolding..and they still know they have to listen.
Be prepared..there is a sequel. This story comes to a conclusion..sort of. There are many loose threads remaining. A couple of the supporting characters were more engaging than the hero and heroine, in my opinion. All the ingredients for a series.
The performance was pleasant, although the sound of the narrator's voice and his speech patterns sound a lot like H.A.L. (2001 A Space Odyssey). Once it occurred to me who the narrator's voice resembled, it made me giggle and was somewhat distracting from time to time, but that's my problem, not the book's.
This may sound like a negative critique, but revealing my list of positives will give away too much. All in all, worth the credit, but I will likely read something a little sunnier before returning for the sequel. Something sans Dante.
18 of 21 people found this review helpful