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Bitter in the Mouth: A Novel Paperback – August 9, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Author Monique Truong structures the story in such a way that it evokes the sense of misplacement and misconstruction that pervades Linda's view of her life as distorting overlaps. Truong divides her novel in two parts. In the first part, Linda covers mostly her childhood--her relationships with her parents, her great-uncle Harper and with Kelly, her best friend. She also describes her first crush, her loss of innocence and the disappointment every child comes to feel when she discovers that the adults in her life are full of flaws and warts. To the reader, Linda Hamerick is an all American girl. Nothing in the minutiae of Linda's narrative foreshadows the surprise Truong drops on the readers at the closing of the first part of her novel. It is then that readers must dismiss any assumptions they might have made about the main character and read on the second part of the book through a different lens.
I enjoy reading both commercial and literary works. "Bitter in the Mouth" is definitely a literary effort. Truong experiments with structure and voice. Linda's revelations of her life and family are made in bits and pieces and in a nonlinear manner. As I encountered them, I felt like I was shuffling pieces of a puzzle.Read more ›
The use of synesthesia as an element of the protagonist's nature creates the ability for some interesting analogies and symbolism. But the way in which it's incorporated into the writing is extremely distracting. Moreover, it seems unnecessary. The issues with which the protagonist struggles have nothing to do with her synesthesia, and her synesthesia adds nothing to her or our understanding of her situation or her reaction to it. Ultimately, while this trope provided the opportunity for a fascinating set-piece about various artists with unusual perceptual challenges, it seemed like more of a gimmick than anything.
The characters in this book are potentially very interesting, but none of them is really fleshed out into a person about whom one really cares. Similarly, many of the characters have endured difficult, and sometimes, traumatic experiences, yet none of them really moved me as I would have expected or wanted to be moved.
Ultimately, I was not particularly engaged in this novel, and I find that result to be particularly disappointing in light of the obvious talent possessed by the author. I think with more time and better editing, she will learn to thin down her plotlines and casts of characters, so as to create a story and people that truly move a reader. "Bitter in the Mouth" contains enough brilliant and startling passages to demonstrate that Monique Truong has the capacity to write a great novel; she just needs to learn how to sustain the magic of many of her individual sentences throughout an entire book
I will not spoil this book for future readers. However, if you have ever felt or been different, worked with people who were different, then this rare novel is a `must read.' It is written with unusual sensitivity and insight. It is filled with music and color, as well as the importance of love, understanding and acceptance.
The prose is exquisite. Truong's writing demonstrates that special union that only a few writers possess [in my opinion]. This is Linda and her great-uncle Harper's story, as well as how people may find their soul mates within a family. Actually, it is much more than this. Before I knew it, I was enmeshed in their lives. I felt every hurt, as well as any triumph.
If one reads carefully, and I am a most deliberate reader, one will find that most delicate thread that laces people, family and friends together. There is a special thread for it holds mysteries, as well as firms those essential bonds we all form.
`We both liked music because it was a river where we stripped down, jumped in, and flailed our arms around each other. It was 1975 then, and the water everywhere around us was glittery with disco lights. My great-uncle Harper and I though, danced to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Fats Domino. We twisted, mashed- potatoed, and winked at each other when we opened our eyes. My great-uncle Harper was my first love. I was seven years old. In his company, I laughed out loud.' This passage is on the very first page. It said to me, `Come on in. Do join us. You're in for a treat!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I could only get a few chapters into this book. Perhaps Monique is a literary genius, and this confirms that I am not. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Susan F
The characters were good. The stories were good. All that word tasting was not.Published 3 months ago by Biddy Mulligan
Read for school. It was a good novel. I got a little lost in it because the main character tastes words. Read morePublished 5 months ago by jennifer king
I like novels about the South. I like coming-of-age stories. Why didn't I like this novel? It had moments of very good writing. But.... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Connecticut bookworm
The way the book is written is very scattered, but it makes me feel as if I'm piecing the character's life together with the character. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
After reading Book of Salt, I knew I must read her other books. Her quiet, disarming style is felt deep.Published 13 months ago by carrie finger
The reveals come at the middle and end of the book and makes you re-examine what you had read prior leading to a better understanding of the characters.Published 16 months ago by Thuc D. Phan
So I’ve recently finished reading this book, and while I’ve attempted to read other books (I have this irrepressible need to keep reading, you know what I mean? Read morePublished 19 months ago by Shar Z