Customer Review

576 of 638 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Not My Cuppa, April 4, 2012
This review is from: Beautiful Ruins: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometimes one clicks with a book, and other times...well, for me this was one of the other times. About half way through I realized that I really didn't care about the cast of a thousand characters, and was distracted by the fact that the locale shifted with every chapter -- one chapter is in Hollywood in the present and in next chapter one is back in Italy in 1962. For me, there were too many characters and too many storylines. Others may not have an issue with my issues, but those are the reasons I finally set the book aside. The book also shifts from present to past tense almost with each chapter, which seems to be more and more common in current literature to the point where some consider it a fad. Fortunately, Jess Walter did not overdo the use of present tense and it ceased to be a distraction for me.

I did like the character of Pasquale, and had the book been his story alone I would have found the book enchanting. The chapters set in Italy were in my opinion the best parts of the book (at least the book as far as I read it). The author has a good feel for the locale and I found myself skimming the sections set in Hollywood to get back to Italy. Richard Burton put in a cameo appearance, and it didn't do much to dispell his image as a heavy drinker, which is probably accurate (certainly it is the way I remember him as being depicted at the time). I suspect this book will find its proper audience -- the reviews so far have been quite glowing. The fact that it didn't appeal to one particular reader is not the fault of the author -- it is just a fact of life that not every book is going to appeal to everyone.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 79 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2012 5:05:59 PM PDT
Someone Else says:
I'm sorry to see that people are downvoting your review. I found it extremely helpful. Your first paragraph addresses a lot of issues that are of concern to readers like me. Thanks for your honesty.

Jeanette

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 5:01:46 AM PDT
Ms Winston says:
Thank you, Jeanette. I tried to be fair and balanced in reviewing a book that didn't appeal to me. It would be a dull world indeed if everyone liked everything.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 12:54:54 PM PDT
JLee says:
I'm guessing the author has a few fans (or friends or family) who are doing all the negative feedback for anyone who doesn't praise this book to the sky. Unfortunately, I've seen that quite often.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 2:00:31 PM PDT
Ms Winston says:
I try to give honest reviews knowing that some are not going to agree, one way or the other! I have received negative feedback for positive reviews...Thanks for your comment.

Posted on May 29, 2012 5:51:05 AM PDT
Jill Meyer says:
I liked your review, too, and voted pos for iti. As a Viner, you have an obligation to give YOUR true opinion, even if it isn't a "Wow" review. You properly backed your reasons wit facts. Good review.

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2012 6:22:39 AM PDT
Ms Winston says:
Thank you, Jill, I appreciate the comments!

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 5:30:42 AM PDT
Ms. Winston...I gave you a yes click - I like your honesty about this book. I liked this one a little better than you but I so agree with your first sentence. It sounds like this novel half-way clicked with you. To me, that's what the 3 star rating is for and you used it well. Good job. Evie

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 5:59:28 AM PDT
Ms Winston says:
Thank you. I don't think 3 stars is a bad rating -- I think it is similiar to getting a C in a class, in that some see it as an insult. That is never my intention.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2012 6:07:50 AM PDT
I agree. The "C" grade is an excellent analogy. Believe me, your 3 star rating is far from being insulting. Evie

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 5:59:59 AM PDT
BookFan says:
I had seen the effusive reviews here and elsewhere and was very excited about the premise of the book. I loved the early chapters, but like you I just did not care to follow the multiple paths that the book went down. I see that the ending chapter was brilliant but there was just too much between the wonderful beginning and the wonderful end that just did not appeal to me. Your review confirms that I am not alone.
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