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Serious Sensory Overload Delivered via the Literary Device
on February 11, 2017
I wanted to like this book, but reading it was complete sensory overload. It started off fairly strong and interesting, but by the halfway mark, the only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to leave a review. Basically, every person in this book thinks in terms of colors, smells, tastes, and sensations in general, and it becomes so monotonous and overdone that eventually you realize that they're all just thinking and expressing the thoughts of the author. It's like every character becomes the same person, and this person just happens to be on a quest to see how many literary devices she can cram into every sentence.
Seriously, I teach high school English, and one page (and any page would do, since they're all pretty much the same) of this book could keep my students busy hunting for metaphors, similes, personification, alliteration, and every other literary device known to man for an entire period.
The author can definitely write, and there were very few typos, which I definitely appreciate. Even the constant use of sensory detail was okay in the beginning, and for a while I even admired the writing...but when every single character that marched across the page proved to be ANOTHER person who judged the world by food, smells, textures, etc., and described them with the same literary ability whether they were a teenage punk or an old man, it began to be way too much for me.
And maybe if Lillian, the main character, was older or had some good reason for her super power of seeing into the souls of every person she meets and instinctively knowing exactly what food will heal them--like, maybe a mystic grandmother who'd passed on a gift, or an alien encounter that left her with psychic powers...--or if there weren't several other people in the book who apparently had this same gift, I could have felt some connection for her, but there is no development of her character once she becomes an adult. She just smiles mysteriously, and presents people with clams or cake, and bam! their lives are changed.
And unfortunately, most of their lives just aren't that interesting, and unless you're someone who loves the turn of a phrase more than the development of a character, this book is pretty much a slow, meandering excuse for the author to talk about, describe, and experience food via the literary device.
I don't mean to be harsh, and I wish I had appreciated this book more because the writer obviously has talent. There truly were some beautiful literary moments in the book, but unfortunately, when you pair double chocolate cake with fudge icing, chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce, and a chaser of straight ganache, your appreciation for the chocolate tends to die a little more with every bite. Maybe next time around the author will make the metaphor a garnish rather than the appetizer, salad, main dish and dessert.