This was pure whimsy and over-exuberance from the word go. A mother tells her daughter she does know who her father is despite claiming throughout her life that she didn’t but isn’t going to tell her who it is; she wants her daughter to research the conundrum.What we then get are a series of preposterous documents, testaments, portraits – a kind of dream succession of genealogical artefacts that explain every ancestor in his or her own words.my suspicions have been confirmed - i am officially not a book snob! "She patted my hand, leaving cheese flakes on my fingers." Cheese . Groff offers a sufficient supply of the unexpected to keep the tale interesting and the story moving forward.
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"I looked into the mirror and saw that the pen I was chewing had exploded over my face, even dripping under my chin and onto my neck, and my teeth and tongue were stained, and that I, in my ignorance, had smeared black ink all over my cheeks and forehead." WHAT?!? Maybe it's been so long since anyone's heard that word that we've forgotten that yuppie and preppie are not the same thing? The author, a native of Cooperstown, NY has written a love tale to her town, renamed Templeton.
She thinks that someone "dressed in a pink Polo shirt underneath a yellow sweater" would look "as yuppie as a person who was not a yuppie but wanted to look like a yuppie could look." Yuppie? Her narrator repeatedly--repetitively, even--tells us what a tough smart cookie she is, yet she somehow never manages to question her mother's assertion that she was born after ten and a half months in the womb. But I'll cut myself short and give out this advice: Don't read it.
Groff here tries her hand at David Mitchell style ventriloquism and fails miserably.
All her characters, no matter what century or class or ethnicity they belong to speak in the same exuberant whimsical voice. Eventually I felt the whimsy employed was in large part to disguise the lack of artistry of this overly exuberant novel.
on goodreads.com, i feel mostly like the dummy of the bunch, which is a totally comfortable and understandable place for me to be. Modern-day characters with names like Primus Dwyer, Aristabulus Mudge, Zeke Felcher. This is not a sci-fi or horror story by any stretch, although there are occasional elements of the supernatural. There were too many characters to give more than a few of them real life, and Groff spreads her attention widely.
but then at work, and in my readers advisory class, i feel like the biggest book elitist of all time. Groff has been a short story writer and this book reflects that skill.
It felt like the novel a precocious twelve year old girl with too much mental energy might write. It's motored by youthful exuberance rather than mental rigour. In conclusion, all I can say is thank heavens Groff gave up fancying herself as a comedian when she wrote her next two novels.
I found myself wondering if she wasn't under the spell of Krauss and Foer and David Mitchell before writing this. I got the sense of a young writer imitating these writers in a struggle to find her own voice. Oops, I forgot to add this to "Currently Reading" while I was reading it. Anyway, I breezed through this book in a couple of days; it is a very quick, smooth read, heavy on plotting, which keeps the pages turning. Pretending to be "serious literature."The novel revolves around grad-student-gone-wild Willie Upton, who Oops, I forgot to add this to "Currently Reading" while I was reading it. Anyway, I breezed through this book in a couple of days; it is a very quick, smooth read, heavy on plotting, which keeps the pages turning. Pretending to be "serious literature."The novel revolves around grad-student-gone-wild Willie Upton, who has slunk back to her ancestral home, Templeton, disgraced and in shame.
was the most puntastic person I'd ever met," comes down with lupus, and they discuss "famous people who'd had it: Flannery O'Connor (A good disease is not hard to find, Clarissa had punned then. Her mother had kept from her the name of her father, substituting a fable that fit the era of her conception.
She thinks it's possible to punch someone and "split one of his teeth in two." Split? She thinks that "I called Clarissa for hours" is the same as "I talked on the phone with Clarissa for hours." She thinks the phrase "He began to write and write, with a promiscuity that's surprising. The name was a nom de place used by James Fenimore Cooper for the town in his book The Pioneers.
The author seems not to know that there is kind of a big difference between a cross and a crucifix, and that the two words really can't be used interchangeably when the person wearing the cross is a protestant.