Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Swapping Lives by Jane Green

I mentioned in my last post that I've joined a book club, I also mentioned the book we were reading:

The bad: The writing style drove me a little batty.  For example, the voice constantly changed (we, us, her, I, them).  I recall one line in the book that alluded to an earlier passage in the text "I won't tell if you won't".  It was in a letter one main character writes to another.  The second time, the author suggests that the character won't tell if we (the reader) won't.  It was just distracting to me.  I guess it's the engineer in me.  I want to know my role at the start of the book and I don't want it to change!

I saw a similar lack of continuity about the viewpoint of the story.  For example, we are following Vicky, one of the main characters, when she receives a phone call from a friend. But while she is talking on the phone to the friend, the author describes what the friend is doing, not just what he's saying, to us.  Vicky has no way of knowing what he's doing and we are with Vicky.  Am I just being nit picky?

The good:  It was an interesting story, although not a nail bitter by any stretch.  I didn't find the characters particularly compelling, but maybe that's because I don't relate to either of them.  I'm not a desperate housewife longing to find something more fulfilling than designer clothes.  I'm also not a single women desperately clamoring for a husband.  In fact, I almost never think the grass is greener on the other side.  I believe, most of the time at least, that the grass is greener in front of me.  Therefore, the best and only logical move to make is forward.


  1. I'd probably quit reading that book on the first page. I wouldn't be able to stand the inconsistent voice and viewpoint, and it sounds boring anyway. I suggest getting everyone to read "Ender's Shadow" (or "Ender's Game"). I like what you said about the grass being greener in front of you.

  2. You wouldn't have missed much.

    Ender's Game is in the running, but Briefer History of Time is probably ahead right now. I haven't read Ender's Shadow yet, although Gavin and I plan to read it soon.