Saturday, September 1, 2012

First of the Month Book Review - Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

MaineMaine by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Honestly I thought I would like this book very much since it was about family relationships (and came highly recommended), but I am sorry to say that I was disappointed. Not in the writing, it was good. Not in the setting, enjoyable too since it was Maine and New England and I've lived there and loved it. But in the characters. I just didn't like them.

A good novel will have bad characters with rotten characteristics, but even the worst of characters will have some redeeming qualities. The characters of Maine did not. They are just not likeable. Take Alice, the matriarch of the family, for instance. She doesn't like her own kids, grown now with kids of their own, and frankly, she doesn't like her grandkids either. Worse, she not only dislikes them, but she actually enjoys being mean and making them suffer (all while going to church every morning).

What I liked best about the book was the backstory of Alice's sister's death at the historic Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire - a true event that happened in Boston in 1942, and resulted in a reform of safety and fire codes throughout the country. That part of the story was interesting.

What I liked least were the characters, unkind and selfish, as well as the ending. I kept reading thinking somewhere, someway, someone would have a redeeming quality that would make the story worth reading. But it just didn't happen that way.

Maine is very negative and almost depressing to read, and not a book I would recommend.