Friday, March 20, 2009

By the Chapter, Day 5 - People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

It's the last day of this week's edition of By the Chapter, hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Be sure to stop by there today, also, as she will be posting her final thoughts on this week's novel.

This was an interesting book for me, coming on the heels of a story I was totally in love with. I definitely enjoyed People of the Book - it was a good choice for me at the time, because it was so different from what I had just finished. For the most part, I thought it was quite good.

The pacing of the novel was a little slow for me, at first, but by about halfway through I had adjusted to it. My biggest problem was the ending - I seem to quibble with endings quite a lot. This one seemed rushed, and the plot twist didn't seem to fit with the rest of the novel - like the author suddenly decided to turn the book into an espionage thriller. I didn't think she needed it, since she had already written quite a good book.

About 3/4 of the way through, I also got tired of the sections with Hanna. I understand why the author wanted to use Hanna in the plot - she was a device to tie all the disparate sections of the Haggadah's journey together. However, I ended up feeling like her sections of the book probably were not necessary, and just resulted in the ending, which I didn't like at all. I know other authors (I'm thinking Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue) have written a similar type of narrative, but without the modern-day componant, and the books worked well. Ultimately, I don't think she needed those sections.

I especially enjoyed the sections about the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah - it was interesting to see how the author managed to make a woman an integral part of the Haggadah's journey in each different section. I'm not sure how true to the actual history of the book that would be, but I always enjoy it when an author thinks up interesting ways to tell the stories of women who might have lived in a specific time. These were definitely the highlights of the book for me.

All in all, a good book. Thanks so much to Marcia for allowing me to co-host By the Chapter this week with her - I hope to do it again soon!

Finished: 3/17/09
Source: my shelves
Rating: 7/10


Anonymous said...

Thank you for hosting with me this week. It was fun and I had a great time.

I've done this 4 times and except for 'The Eyre Affair' both hosts have come out feeling the same way by the end of the book. The different views while reading throughout the week shows how each individual can be reading the same story and find something that speaks directly to them.

You name the book and week and I'm there. :-)

Anonymous said...

I read People of the Book in January.
And your comments are what I felt exactly. I loved the Historical part of the book, like you. I could not figure out why I did not like the ending, but your words said it exactly. It was too far fetched and the author seemed to rush the end. You can read my review on my blog. I did not realize I never posted my review on my blog. I just posted it today.
If you would like to read it at Jewish Rantings.