Saturday, September 20, 2008

Review: Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking

Among Other Things, I've Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney
2.5 stars

Reasons for reading: Sam Houston's review; New-to-Me Author for Triple 8 Challenge

First line (unsurpisingly): "Among other things, I've taken up smoking."

My thoughts: This wasn't a bad book, it was just a bit dull. It was my pick for book club and I'm afraid I disappointed everyone (I usually pick funny books). But, as my friend Vidalia pointed out, it was "quick dull" rather than 700-pages dull. So that was something.

My favourite part were the descriptions of their tiny Maine island. Ana the coffee cart girl and Mr. Blackwell were interesting characters, although they remained fairly shadowy, particularly Mr. Blackwell. The inclusion of the myths from Ovid's Metamorphoses added another layer. But overall it was fairly predictable - the big "secret" of her father being gay wasn't much of a surprise nor was it a suprise that Miranda would be a lesbian when she finally allowed herself to interact with people.

I wanted to know how her father had supported them for 15 years while working on the same translation. Perhaps he inherited a lot of money along with the house. I did find it very sad that he seemed to have never really loved Miranda's mother nor helped Miranda to feel anything for her memory. I also found it very sad that for most of the book it seems as though he's content to let Mr. Blackwell raise her, barely noticing her existence except when he needs her to cook or type.

Again, it wasn't a bad story or even an unenjoyable read, it was just kind of blah. The main reason the book caught my eye was the title and that was the most novel thing about it.

BUT, Sam Houston wrote a great review of it here, so do take his much better-considered and better-written opinion under advisement.


Sam said...

Sorry about that...I feel bad about you guys having a bad book club experience but at least you could blame it on me. :-)

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Nah, don't be sorry! We have had WAY wose book club experiences due to dreary, dire books. This one was just a bit blah for us, but no-one hated it.