10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good writer, unlikable characters,
By A Customer
This review is from: Here on Earth (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
Unlike many of the other reviewers here, I have never read Wuthering Heights, nor do I know the plotline, so I cannot comment on how "Here on Earth" stacks up to the story that apparently inspired it. However, I don't feel that should really be relevant to reviewing the book.
I liked this book, and I like Hoffman's writing. It's very fantasy-like, she sprinkles in some magical realism here and there. She writes in a style that is easy to breeze through, and very descriptive, making you picture the scenes she paints very clearly.
However, the characters were just totally unlikable to me. I felt all kinds of feelings towards them, including, hate, pity, shock, and distaste. A quick rundown:
March: A sorry excuse for a woman. I have never been in a relationship that abusive, so I guess it's unfair of me to say I could understand her position, but no matter how much you love someone, if you have any strength or dignity in you at all, you do not put up with the [stuff]that she takes from Hollis. Even when they were younger, he wasn't that appealing. It was TOTALLY a relationship based on lust, that's IT, there's nothing more to it...
Gwen: I also agree that her thoughts and actions were too mature for a 15 year old, and that being in Jenkintown for such a short time would not change her completely, making her personality do a complete 180. I liked her toughness, and how she talked back to Hollis, but she should have tried to talk some sense into her mother, instead of ignoring what was going on with her and Hollis for the most part... Hank: I actually liked Hank, but as much as Gwen was tough, he was too bland and wishy-washy. He should have stood up to Hollis more. I understand he was indebted to Hollis...Hollis: I KNOW that the reader is supposed to despise this character, and boy did I despise him. However, I think it would have added more to the book if you had been able to see a redeeming quality or two in him. At least then you would have been able to hope for his redemption, or understand why March loves him so much. The closest thing we get to seeing why he's such a beast...He was simply one of the most disturbing, evil characters I've ever read about...I would have liked a good scene at the end of the book...
Also, as with a lot of books these days I find, the end left me unsatisfied like many readers. Why do authors find it so hard to give some closure to their stories? What happened to March and Richard and Gwen after they reunited in California? Just a little tidbit, a little epilogue would have been nice.
All in all, I wouldn't say NOT to read this book, but it was depressing, and you'll probably feel sort of an uneasiness about the merits of humankind when you're done. It definitely held my interest, but most of the time I felt like shaking my head in disappointment at the characters.