Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp - A Review

Peggy Adams makes an unusual agreement with Luke Sedgwick, the last scion of an old New England family. The deal: Stay married for a year, and the two will inherit the Sedgwick mansion in New Nineveh, a quaint, preppy Connecticut town. But entering Luke’s world isn’t easy. Peggy must quickly learn how to pass herself off as a proper Connecticut wife and a perfect WASP. (Hint: At parties, nobody actually eats the food.) To make matters worse, she finds herself falling in love with the man she’s married to—despite that he seems to have no feelings for her.

What did I think? I enjoyed this story. It moved at a good pace. The characters were easy to identify with. It was a fun read. Yes, the ending was a tad predictable (okay...really predictable) and really neatly tied up, but it was a fun ride getting there with a couple twists and turns I didn't expect. I would recommend this book for a nice, light read. Definitely.

An aside...

I never know what to say when it comes to neatly tied endings in novels. They bug me because life very rarely wraps up as neatly as many novels tend to do. But really, I want them to end all neat and clean and happy. Like I did in this novel. I wanted everything to end all happy and sappy. But when it did? I felt like it was too much. And was like, "whatever".
The thing is, I've read novels that do a complete 180 degree turn at the end and come right back down to reality...and that's not really satisfying either. I remember reading a book several years ago (A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry) that was long. Over 600 pages long. And I found myself totally falling in love with the characters and had a happy ending all written in my head. When BOOM, the unthinkable happened in this book. And it went downhill from there. And I was devastated. Yet, it was so realistic and true and, well...life. It was a great book...but it broke my young heart. I'm significantly more cynical now than I was then, but the story still stays with me. All these years later.
I guess it must all come down to why we read novels. Do we read to escape? Do we read to become informed? Do we read to try experience another person's life or another time? Do we read to appreciate an author's writing style? A little bit of all the above? I guess that would dictate what we would want to read and what kind of ending we'd want.

My point is that I keep knocking...or at least wanting to knock...these stories that end all neat and clean and sweet, but in the end if I'm honest with myself...I would probably prefer that to the alternative. I'll let you know if I ever find the perfect ending.

This book was provided to me for an impartial review

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me that we read fiction for all of the reasons that you just mentioned, and so we must read many kinds of novels. There's no sin in a sappy-happy novel if that's what it's meant to be. There's only wickedness in it if it purports to be something great and is just cotton-candy escapism. I just read the opposite of what you're talking about, a book called The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was written in a format I'm familiar with and on a topic I know well, but was so very well written and so horribly and yet beautifully true that it was really haunting to read. And then I read some Harry Potter, cause it's fun. Nothing wrong with both says I.