Thursday, February 2, 2012
A Good Yarn
A Good Yarn was the sequel to The Shop on Blossom Street. I was hoping that this book would show some of the author's growth as a writer as it was written significantly later than the first book. Sadly, this wasn't the case. If anything, this book was worse than the first. While the characters were slightly more likeable, the entire plot was recycled. There was an older, emotionally stunted woman who was too afraid to accept the love of her husband. There was a emotionally devastated middle-aged woman who eventually learns to move past what she can't control. Finally, there was a young woman who is facing past demons and intense loneliness. The characters were slightly more likeable- though none of them were given the significant amount of face time needed that would have made them relate-able. Again, I was incredibly ambivalent while reading this. None of the characters drew me in, and I wasn't really too excited to finish the book. While almost all novels, no matter the genre, have some predictability toward the end, this one didn't even make the journey there enjoyable. I honestly wouldn't even recommend this as a fluff read- nothing was engaging enough to suck you out of your own world. You could think about a thousand other things while reading this book, and still retain all of the information the author provides. There's just not enough depth to it to really enjoy it.
A significant amount of the appeal in romance and chick lit novels is not only the predictability, but the knowledge that everything is going to be okay. Tied with that is the investment and how you relate with the character. There's a term that I know is prevalent in fan-fiction at the very least that describes such characters: Mary Sues. While they have characteristics and personality, it's described shallowly enough that the reader can place his or herself into the story. The author has to be careful to make the character deep enough to be emotionally invested, but not so fleshed out in order to alienate some of the readers. This author failed miserably on this front. She didn't give the characters enough depth. It felt like a perfunctory sketch of a person- and a highly unrealistic one at that.
In the end, I'm thoroughly dissappointed in these books. While I enjoy a good romance and chick lit novel as much as the next one, these didn't even cut it as that. I wouldn't recommend this series, period.