Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Whatcha Readin? Week 44

Last night I finished Me Times Three by Alex Witchel. This was a book that came to me randomly at the library. The bright yellow cover caught my eye, and a quick scan of the synopsis and a couple of reviews convinced me it would be worth reading. In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to the fact that one of the positive reviews comes from Sarah Jessica Parker.

On the plus side, it was an easy read. I didn't have to struggle through intense, self-aware writing. And I don't mean to imply that it was badly written; the writing was perfectly...adequate. The writing in Me Times Three neither added to nor distracted from the story. (I find that unsettling.)

Witchel's main character is Sandra, who is engaged to Bucky. Her best friend is Paul, a fabulous, gorgeous gay guy she met in college. (She's in her mid-twenties during the story. Oh, and it's the 1980s.) She learns throughout the book that she doesn't know Bucky like she thought she did, and she also doesn't know Paul like she thought she did. OK, I get it: it's impossible to truly know anyone other than yourself. So why, in the name of all that's literary, wouldn't Witchel write Sandra with some introspective realization at any point in the book?? 

I might have enjoyed this book more if it had done something--anything--really well. I already mentioned the writing, and that lukewarm tone spreads to every aspect of the book. The supporting characters weren't one-dimensional, but they could have been written much better...or left out entirely. The premise was interesting, but also not fully realized.  The emotions rarely rang true. Imagine you found out your boyfriend of nine years has two other fiances. I expected to read epic shock, denial, rage, revenge. I expected to FEEL something, whether it was sympathy, pity or even amusement as Sandra unravels and then begins to pull herself together. 

That said, there was one moment that I thought the author nailed. 

from page 210:

On the strength of this one page, I'm not crossing Alex Witchel off my list just yet. And--bonus!--Kate Vaiden is a real book! I have two books already waiting on my Kindle, but I'm going to make a point to look for Kate Vaiden to read in November.

Anybody out there reading anything great? What should I add to my list?

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