Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Review: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

Book Review: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

You know how there's that book that everyone loves and is buzzing about? The one you just absolutely have to read?

And then you read it, and it doesn't quite have the same effect on you? And you're sitting there, re-reading the last page, and thinking that something must really be wrong with you because you just ... didn't ... really understand it.

That was my experience with The History of Love.

(Actually, that kind of sums up my own personal history of love itself ... up until meeting The Dean, that is.)

I really wanted to fall in love with this book, and indeed, it started off lovely. Krauss does a wonderful job with developing the characters of Alma Singer, a 14 year old girl, and Leo Gursky. Towards the middle of the book, however, as the characters' lives became more and more intertwined, the plot became confusing. (A review that I read on Shelfari suggested that this might have been helped if dates were added to the chapters instead of - or in addition to - titles. I agree with this.)

I know I'm not alone in not liking a book that everyone else seemingly liked, because a few of you chimed in about this one when I wrote about it several Sunday Salons ago. Still, this one goes in the "meh" pile for me.

Just to be fair, though, here are two others who thought differently ...

Book Lovers Blog

Nymeth, of Things Mean a Lot

Those are all I could find, but I'm sure there are more! Did I miss yours?


Belle said...

I've definitely experienced this. Isn't it funny how our first thought is that something must be wrong with us because we didn't really like the book the way others did? I've even been tempted (just a little) to go back over a book because surely I must have missed a good chunk that held the key to everything about the book!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Exactly, Belle! I've been tempted to re-read a book I didn't quite like for the same reason.

Very good point, BTW, about how our first thought is that something must be wrong with us because we don't think the same as other people.

JoAnn said...

Sorry this didn't work for you, Melissa. I listened to The History of Love, and the multiple readers made it seem almost magical...will admit to being a little confused about the timeline in parts and wondered if that was due to the audio.

Lisa said...

I was one of the ones who loved this one. This was the first book that used the non-chronological time line so effectively for me, I had no idea until well into it that it was how it was. My review is here, if you're interested: