Saturday, July 25, 2009

114 - Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven; Susan Jane Gilman

After graduation from Brown University in 1986, Susan Gilman and Claire Van Houton (name and physical attributes have been changed), decide they want to backpack and see the world. They get this idea from a place mat at the International House of Pancakes.

These young, naive New York City and New England girls begin their journey in Communist China just days after outsiders were allowed to enter the country. First stop Hong Kong, and culture shock pretty much hits as soon as the Susie and Claire get off the plane. From communication problems to cockroaches and filth, world travels are not what the two expected.

Within six weeks of travel. it is apparent to the reader that Claire is not just acting rich, spoiled and moody, as Susie believes is the case. Susie does not seem to realize that her friend is in fact, paranoid, delusional and perhaps schizophrenic.

While I did enjoy parts of this audio book, I found Susie and Claire unlikeable, the story full of cliches, and I couldn't get beyond the fact the author, an Ivy League grad (who read the audio book) mispronounced several words in her reading. If you are looking for a travelogue, I would recommend looking elsewhere, or if you feel you must read this book, borrow it from the library like I did.

RATING - 2/5; COMPLETED - 7/24/09; Library Book

11 comments:

  1. I have this as an audiobook, and I just haven't got around to it yet. I'm not sure I'll like it, I have trouble enjoying books with unlikable characters.

    Thanks for the great review!

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  2. A strange book, I agree. Can't imaging Ivy League girls being so naive, the author, that is!

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  3. Sorry to hear it wasn't what you expected. Why was the name changed? Was it because this person did not want to be identified?

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  4. Hm, thanks for the review. I think it made it's way onto my tbr list cause of the title. I won't rush to red if I decide to read it after all.

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  5. I won this audio but haven't listened to it yet. I wasn't in a huge hurry to and hearing that words were mispronounced and such will irritate me.

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  6. The mispronounced words would drive me crazy! I have read mixed reviews from others, so I'm not sure if I would like it.

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  7. You know... I read this book and reviewed it. I liked it, however not as much as I liked Hypocrite in a White Pouffy Dress. (That's her other book). I really liked that book. Both are reviewed on my blog if you're interested in checking out info on White Dress.

    Great review! Mispronunciation is surprising! (did I spell that right?)

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  8. I'm sorry it was hard to find the review... EEK! I should have left you the links!

    Sheri

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  9. Too bad this one didn't work for you. I won it on audio a while back but haven't been inspired to pick it up yet...

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  10. I was kind of excited about this book, but after reading your review, I think it might end up being a disappointment. Sorry it wasn't great.

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  11. I just finished reading this-I actually won it from you-I found myself despising Susie. It does not shock me miss ivy league mispronounced words. I have never come across such a self absorbed author before. Years ago we came across a search and rescue while backpacking-they were lollygagging thinking the person was dead. His hiking partner had got a good nights sleep, packed up camp and had breakfast before hiking down to notify search and rescue. It made me think know who you are doing activities with and Susie's selfish behavior reminded me of this. unbelievable.

    On another note-we are thinking of visiting NY and the Eastern Seaboard-any suggestions on where to go after NY. Thanks

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