My Rating: 3
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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I had read a novel by Lisa See before, that book being Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which was very good women's fiction (in that it dealt with women's issues and history) and I loved that novel. So I was expecting this book to draw me in just as much, to paint a world that was foreign and yet, one I could relate to as well. However, I have to say, I was disappointed with this book. It's set shortly before, during and then after World War II and it deals with three women who are friends--but unusual friends, friends drawn together by circumstance and these women are nothing alike. Sometimes you wonder if they are really friends. It was difficult for me to picture these women's lives, dancing in nightclubs, seeking fame, being utterly American and yet, being other as well. The experiences were interesting, the story was interesting but yet, I couldn't make connections to these characters. And some of their choices struck me as self serving, selfish and I couldn't help but call their motivations into question. For me, it was like these characters were not entirely formed. I couldn't understand where they were coming from.
Another reason this novel doesn't sit well with me is because I expected by the end that these women would have learned something from one another, that their bond--friendship--would be solidified by something and become much deeper and more meaningful. However, I did not see that happen. And it seemed that the end, they went their separate ways but still remained bound together, but how, I did not understand, other than their shared history and fame. Somehow, it didn't strike me as enough. They seemed like friends more fractured and it called into question their closeness.
The writing was good, if the narration switching between the women was at times abrupt, the story was engaging, but it lacked in feeling in this reader's opinion.