153 of 187 people found the following review helpful
Soap opera in the guise of a historical novel,
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This review is from: The Kitchen House: A Novel (Paperback)
I love historical fiction; I really do. I was excited to read this book, but it was drudgery from beginning to end. I am still puzzled that so many people gave this book a five-star rating. This book is terribly written, with flat, undeveloped characters, absurd plot twists (rape! murder! lies! intrigue! incest! child abuse!), and unbelievable resolutions which feel like another vehicle to speed along the very predictable, very drawn out, but paper-thin plot. This novel is supposedly set in the late 18th century, but there is little in the book that shapes the time or place; some of the dialogue feels like it's right out of a soap opera. Too much happens; too much of it is negative; there are too many tragedies. None of the politics of the time (after all, the Revolutionary War just occurred) are mentioned. There is little that moors the reader in the historical period of the time. And, oh, yes, let's not forget the sloppy ending, which is supposed to resonate with bittersweet optimism but actually had me laughing out loud at its absurdity. I skimmed the last 30 or so pages because I just wanted to have this book done with. A huge thumbs down from me.
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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2011 7:17:53 PM PST
completely agree.. I quit 3/4 way through. Your review made me feel validated.
Posted on May 28, 2011 11:55:35 PM PDT
Julia Beckwith says:
Posted on Jun 12, 2011 5:41:24 PM PDT
Mom in Hooville says:
Your review says exactly how I feel about this book. I even used the term "soap opera" when I described it to my husband. It's my book club choice this month, and I'm sure I'll get hammered when I tear it apart next week!
For the record, I hated The Help, too.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2011 1:06:21 PM PDT
Just to be clear: I read the entire book, skimming through the last 30 pages.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2011 1:06:54 PM PDT
I love validation. This book was dreadful, and it's still hovering near 5 starts!
Posted on Oct 11, 2011 3:47:42 PM PDT
The value of Amazon's top two book ratings has deteriorated to the point of uselessness for me in the past couple of years. I can't determine if this is due to ringers (planted five star ratings); falling readers' evaluative skills; or that more people are commenting, thus watering down the pool. I now only read the articulate, lower-level reviews and find those to be the most valuable. I may miss something good this way, but I can't afford all the duds I was ending up with. Thanks, Dani, for providing me the info I needed to pass on this one, even if Amazon had it on my rec list.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011 3:11:49 PM PDT
Miami Maid says:
Soooo bad, I just can't imagine where the 5 stars came from. I guess they are right, The US education must really stink. Do you belong to Good Reads? Anyone who gave it 1 star?
Posted on Jan 3, 2012 3:31:55 PM PST
Posted on Jan 20, 2012 12:10:12 PM PST
M. Dillon says:
Thanks Dani. Also validating what I thought. Bad purchase choice for me and I can't seem to get it finished because I just don't care about these characters, even the ones I'm supposed to care about! This is my favorite genre (historical fiction) so I couldn't believe all those 5 stars were wrong! I need to find an alternative review source for my book purchases other than Amazon star rating!
Posted on Feb 22, 2012 5:13:05 PM PST
Oh my gosh, You guys are a piece of work. I can't believe how some of you think you are so much better educated than others just because you don't agree with their opinion. I can't stand it how people automatically think every review must be "fake" or "planted" just because they didn't have the same experience. I don't care if you have a Ph.D. in Literature, just post your review and be done.