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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Action, Less Introspection, Please!

Fragile: A NovelFragile: A Novel by Lisa Unger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book, along with a copy of The Night Strangers, was sent to me by the marketing manager of Crown Publishing. I had won the Goodreads giveaway for Before Versailles and after almost two months I had not received it. It was a pleasant surprise and a very generous gesture, especially since the original giveaway book arrived shortly thereafter. Theoretically, then, it probably isn't necessary to review the book but feel it is appropriate.

I faithfully read page by page to Ch 19, page 190, almost halfway through the book before, out of sheer boredom and impatience, I flipped to the back of the book to find out how it ended. The first chapters introduced the reader to a mishmash of characters, mostly the classmates of the main character, the Police Chief, and his wife, a psychotherapist in a small town, The Hollows, not far from New York City. I couldn't decide if it was in the Hudson River Valley, New Jersey or Connecticut--it was sort of a indistinct any small town, but not really. I've lived in several very small places in NYS and in Vt and could not get a feel for this fictional place, there was no atmosphere.

The characters, except, perhaps the teens were very one dimensional as well. Even the former school principal with whom I should have been able to relate, having been in secondary education all my life, was colorless.

The missing teen girl, sexually assaulted, was presented in triplicate and felt too contrived and artificial. I could not really feel an urgency or empathy to any of the situations. There were some twists and turns but again they seemed too drawn out. I did go back and finish the book but wasn't moved by any of the neatly resolved issues.

In fact, I'm still not sure what purpose Charlie and Wanda served in the story at all. Perhaps, Charlie was Unger's alter ego giving voice to her purpose in writing the book.

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