Sunday, March 14, 2010

38 - A Gate At the Stairs; Lorrie Moore














Has anyone read this book?  Did I miss something?  I know I can't be the only one who thought this book was awful. I listened to about (7) of the (10) cds from this audio book, and had to skip to the last disc and end my pain.  The narrator: Mia Barron was fine, it was the novel itself that I had a problem with.

(I should have read this Publisher's Weekly blurb before, and not after):

Starred Review. Moore (Anagrams) knits together the shadow of 9/11 and a young girl's bumpy coming-of-age in this luminous, heart-wrenchingly wry novel—the author's first in 15 years. Tassie Keltjin, 20, a smalltown girl weathering a clumsy college year in the Athens of the Midwest, is taken on as prospective nanny by brittle Sarah Brink, the proprietor of a pricey restaurant who is desperate to adopt a baby despite her dodgy past. Subsequent adventures in prospective motherhood involve a pregnant girl with scarcely a tooth in her head and a white birth mother abandoned by her African-American boyfriend—both encounters expose class and racial prejudice to an increasingly less naïve Tassie. In a parallel tale, Tassie lands a lover, enigmatic Reynaldo, who tries to keep certain parts of his life a secret from Tassie. Moore's graceful prose considers serious emotional and political issues with low-key clarity and poignancy, while generous flashes of wit—Tessie the sexual innocent using her roommate's vibrator to stir her chocolate milk—endow this stellar novel with great heart.

MY THOUGHTS - I'm not sure what I was expecting, and honestly, I don't even recall reading any reviews about this book when it was released in 2009. I just saw it on the library shelf and went with it thinking it might be good. 

The  story for one had too many sub plots that never really all came together. It made an already disjointed novel drag on endlessly. In addition, there were unappealing characters, a narrator who rambled on and on -- saying very little, and one tragedy after another. On top of this the author's use of metaphors, flowery language, and attempts at humor only made matters worst. 

This book was PAINFUL. (Rating 1/5 stars) 
 Library Audio Book

23 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one but my boss just recently finished it and she was disappointed as well. She said the WRITING was good, but the story just didn't go anywhere. Which I feel is kind of exemplified by that cover, isn't it? With the stairs leading nowhere...

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  2. I've had a lot of this recently, i.e. books I thought would be good and weren't. There's nothing worse, which is why blogging is so good. You get to read real people's opinions. Thanks for yours! I'll be leaving this one out.

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  3. Reading the summary blurb it does look convoluted.

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  4. I don't like prose that's too flowery and can imagine it would be even worse in an audio.

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  5. Sorry - I know how disappointing it is to start something & then have to make the decision to not finish it. I'm having the same issue right now with Let the Great World Spin. Anyway, yes, I've seen other bad reviews of this one.

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  6. Yikes! I was going to try to read the contenders for this year's Tournament of Books (and this was one of them), but then decided I was having too much fun just reading my own books! After reading your review, I'm glad I won't be going anywhere near this one, though am sorry to hear you slogged through so much of it only to give up in agony!

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  7. I hadn't read any bad reviews, but it never did sound appealing. Plus, the cover...ugh.

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  8. so much for the promised 'luminous, heart-wrenching and wry'.

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  9. I read it and I hated it too.

    www.shishnit.org

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  10. Painful is not the word I'm looking for in a book recommendation. Thanks for listening to it so I don't have to waste my time :)

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  11. Oh! I am so sad to hear this! I love Lorrie Moore and think that she writes amazing short stories. In fact, one of her collections, Self Help, is a book that I reread every year. I guess I will have to stay away from this one though. It sounds as if she doesn't make the transference from short stories to novels well at all!

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  12. I'm pretty sure that I read a lot of "good" reviews of this one by the professionals....thank God there are real readers like you out there to steer us clear of landmines like this one! Thank you!

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  13. How disappointing. Lorrie Moore usually receives such high praise, but I've not read any of her work. Do you think it would have made any difference if you'd read it instead of listened? I suspect not...

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  14. Aw, that's too bad that this book was such a disappointment. Even from the blurb it seems like there are too many subplots! Hope you enjoy your next read more!

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  15. Joanne...I reader was good, but the long, meandering passages that went no where drove me nuts.

    Heather...Everyone seems to rave about her short stories; i may have to try Self Help.

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  16. I haven't heard of this one, but I'll keep away from it, esp the audio book, for which I have very low tolerance!

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  17. So good to know! Thank you for sharing your honest opinion!

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  18. Oh no! I don't know anything about this book except it looks like one to avoid.

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  19. I've read really mixed reviews of this one, but lately the reviews all seem to be negative. Thanks for your honesty!

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  20. There have been a lot of mixed reviews on this one. I checked it out from the library but never got around to reading it. After reading some bad reviews I'm not rushing out to read it now!

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  21. I really liked this book. I confess it was very slow going and then I jumped to the end. And then I reread it to the end and I loved it. It really shows how things can really be and how nothing is as how you expect. I think this book does a good job at showing real life. Sure it's disjointed but life isn't one smooth story. It's made up of many strung together :) I'd encourage you to give it another chance! :)

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  22. Elizabeth, perhaps the audio version had something to do with my opinion, but I don't think I could try it again; sorry. I am glad u liked it though. I MAY try another book by this author though.

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