Friday, July 25, 2008

The Beach House eBook edition

imageIt is probably a good thing that the words Jane Green are so huge and that the words The Beach House is so small. After all, The Beach House is a very popular name for a book -- seems we have one every year. The last one I read was by James Patterson. Trust me on this, Patterson and Green are worlds apart in how they pay homage to a beach house!

This Beach House is the perfect "chick lit" beach read. Or at least it should be.

Personally, I found the writing style annoying. I would be reading along about Bea and all of the sudden the next paragraph is talking about Michael. Huh??? The disconnect jarred me out of the story line and stopped me cold for a few seconds. This definitive lack of transitions made the entire book less enjoyable than it should have been. Strike One: Writing Style

The plot centers on Nan and her big decrepit house on Nantucket. That sentence may tell it all. But in case you need more, here we go. One summer she decides to rent rooms in her house as a way of bringing in a little extra cash. Before long she has two borders and her son moved in. These people are shallow, flat and basically non-sympatric. The behave in bizarre ways and I found it hard to care about any of them (for any reason). Strike Two: Characters

And then there is the matter of the plot. If you haven't figured it out by the second chapter it is because you were to interrupted by the choppy writing style. It is contrived, unbelievable and predictable. To say it is thin, would be generous. Strike Three: Plot

This book is a major disappointment. Jane Green has been writing for a long time. Her books have never been great literature or anything like it. But she has always delivered entertaining, light fiction that is enjoyable and fun to read. I have no idea what happened here!

I guess this is one of those cases that when you have written enough books (we have nine other in the store) you can get away with writing any crap thing and it will still get published. I must say, however, that as a publisher Penguin generally does a much better job filtering out inferior work.

As much as I disliked it, however, I must confess that I did read it from beginning to end. I wonder what that says about me??

At any rate, here is the publisher's description:

The perfect title for the perfect beach read.

Author Jane Green is one of the preeminent authors of women’s fiction today, and with each new novel, her audience grows. Green’s avid and loyal fans follow her because she writes about the true-to-life dilemmas of women—and The Beach House will not disappoint.M

Known in Nantucket as the crazy woman who lives in the rambling house atop the bluff, Nan doesn’t care what people think. At sixty-five-years old, her husband died twenty years ago, her beauty has faded, and her family has flown. If her neighbors are away, why shouldn’t she skinny dip in their swimming pools and help herself to their flowers? But when she discovers the money she thought would last forever is dwindling and she could lose her beloved house, Nan knows she has to make drastic changes.

So Nan takesout an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly, people start moving into the house, filling it with noise, with laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside-down.

Jane Green’s novels Second Chance and To Have and to Hold were New York Times bestsellers. Swapping Lives, The Other Woman, Bookends, and Babyville all appeared on The New York Times extended bestseller list for hardcover fiction. Jane was recently awarded the Fun Fearless Fiction Award by Cosmopolitan magazine.

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