Yay for another book that counts for multiple challenges (Mount TBR, Back to the Classics and The Classics Club)! (It’s a doozy, sorry for the length!)
Ever since I read In Cold Blood and Other Voices, Other Rooms, I’ve wanted to read more Capote, but I haven’t. Throw in the fact that Breakfast at Tiffany’s has such an iconic place in popular culture, I had to read it at some point. Now I just need to see the film.
I didn’t realize this when I bought this copy, but it contained the novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and three short stories: House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar, and A Christmas Memory. So for my response I’ve just written a paragraph about each under a subtitle and you can see the opening/closing lines of each at the end of the post and my recommendation is for this collection as a whole.
One thing that will always impress me about Truman Capote is his openly writing about homosexuals in his works. Writing during the height of the lavender scare in DC he was not only an open homosexual, but he included them openly in his works, but more shockingly he didn’t denigrate them. He just included them as characters.
For some reason, this novel just felt more real and better developed than Tenino’s first novel in this series. Frat Boy and Toppy wasn’t bad, it just annoyed me and could’ve used a better copy editor. This novel seemed more polished and a bit more developed. I’m not sure if this had to do with the (seemingly) fewer sex scenes, the (seemingly) more emotionally intense battles or if it’s because the author progressed as a writer. I like to think it was a mixture of the three.
I received a copy of this from the publisher and I received no compensation for my honest response.
The fact that this was a continuation of a love story between two of the characters that broke off fora reason you find out pretty early in the book really helped this be a better novel than the first in the series. The history between Paul and Trevor provided the crucial emotional turmoil for this book to succeed and made it more believable. Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for first-love and second chance stories and this one was definitely a good one. In addition the past history of the two main characters lessened the need for lovey-dovey nicknames that really rubbed me the wrong way in the first novel. There was one used but (and it was my LEAST favorite – babe), but since it appeared only once I just let it go.
Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’
This is an example of a novel that could’ve been even better if they used a better copy editor, and this has nothing to do with the poor formatting of Amazon’s conversion process from the publisher provided copy. This is my honest response and I received no compensation.
Overall the story and characters were engaging I thought Brad and Sebastian were great and I really hope Colin, Ashley and Kyle make an appearance in another novel in the series, but it doesn’t look like it. There were moments where I laughed out loud and there were even a few moments where my breath caught in my chest, but in the long run I was let down by the editing and a vital choice the author made early on in the novel. I definitely wanted to know more about the characters, but I felt I really got to know who Brad was and who he was becoming in the short 170 pages of this novel.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was beautifully written, it didn’t really leave me with much of an opinion. It’s hard to say whether this is because of the writing or the very succinct writing of the plot and story. Many times the books that leave me wanting more are the books that I desperately cling to because I don’t know the happily ever after.
In this book you get everything and it’s great, but the author wrapped the story up in a perfect finite package with only a hint of a what’s next, which was great at the end, but not enough to leave me wowed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad I read it and can’t believe it took me this long to jump on the band wagon and I would recommend it to everyone, I’m just sort of lackadaisical about it. There were two great things that stood out for me, the minor characters (and animals) and the juxtaposition of the old Jacob and the young Jacob.