Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flies in the Butter by Denise Hildreth

Another church library book....

You know how some story telling techniques work in one genre, but not another?  Well this book is a good example of that.... Hildreth tells the story of Rose, a high powered child advocate who has left her southern roots to pursue a very different life in Washington DC, and who must return "home" for her grandmother's funeral.  The story is told through a series of flashbacks and encounters along the way as Rose drives from Washington to the South.  This might work really well in a short story, but 276 page novel, I got really sick and tired of Rose driving along highways and backroads, talking into her cell phone or to herself.  This approach could work, but in this book, it just didn't.

That aside, I still have some reservations about this book:

  • Rose is a very careful, very angry woman, who has a lot of issues to deal with: estrangement from her mother, continued grief over the loss of her father many years ago, a broken marriage, her refusal to have children;  lies and adultery and the great distance that she has placed between herself and church/God.  Based on all the glossy, happy memories of her childhood, I find it quite difficult to sympathize with Rose.  She had it all, but because of one sin in her mother's life (which her mother repented of immediately) she charges off the deep end and makes of mess of her own life, while blaming her mother all along.  Rose comes a long way in terms of breaking down those barriers, but does not really forgive or reconcile with her mother at the end anyways. 

  • Rose's family is very "southern" in their experience of faith: she is "saved" at the age of 6/7 while sitting in church with her grandmother while her grandmother is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit.  This is a minor aspect of the story, but is there none the less.  Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the page...

  • The story is so predictable, and not terribly well written.  Although there isn't really anything wrong with the book, I can't think of a single person that I would recommend this too!
Anyone can think of a novel where this "drive and have flashbacks" technique really works?

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