Apparently the book “The Paper Palace” is “amazing” and “so well written“. Readers “couldn’t put it down” and a lady giving a review on YouTube said she read it in 2 nights. Hmm.
So, me being me – I got a copy.
I had to see for myself what this ‘incredible’ book from the Best Selling list was like.
My honest opinion?
I don’t like it.
It’s about a 50-year-old woman who cheats on her husband with her lifelong romantic interest – a guy who’s been in love with her since they were kids. She flits between present time and back throughout her history as the pages go on and I find it jaunting and uncomfortable. The writer talks about family dynamics and abuse in such a dry and seemingly uncaring way that it jarrs my heart to read it. There isn’t any warmth or love or care. Maybe that’s what happens when you suffer abuse? You become detached and so therefore does your writing? I have decided I don’t like the Author…so reading her words from her point of view (it’s written in 3rd person to be fair…but from the main character’s view) is really hard.
I guess you have to like the Author to allow their words to reach you.
I’m stubborn and I want to know if this book gets any better (it’s God awful so far) so I’m perservering, hoping this cold-hearted Author will win me over in the end.
One thing I will say that’s well-written is her description of the cottage her family owns and stays in every summer and the deep fresh water lakes surrounding the Cape Cod area. I Googled and YouTubed the area, wanting to see the area for myself and it is breathtaking. Really beautiful. I’m not sure I’d swim out to the middle of those deep, dark waterholes, though. I’d be too scared and stick to the shallows. I like how much the Author loves where she grew up. I can relate to that because I love every street, rock, bush, tree, river, lake, waterhole (ours aren’t as scary in size and depth/darkness) and beach in Nhulunbuy. I can understand loving where you grew up…I know I do.
But how this writer seems so…casual about cheating on her husband who is for all intents and purposes a really, really good man – doesn’t sit well with me.
I know…so hypocritical considering I cheated on my first husband…but I feel like when I did it, it was with a lot of pain, a lot of prayer, a lot of thought AND I told Jon about it before I did it. This woman hid her underpants in the pantry (I mean, YUCK) and went and did it against a wall with the guy she’d strung along all her life.
And her being 50 years old and having sexual adventures bothers me, too.
I don’t know why I’ve had such a strong reaction to the age of the woman – I’m not far from her age myself and I definitely enjoy sex with my husband…but the rawness of her experiences…they strike me as dirty and unwholesome. I don’t know why.
In absolute contrast, the book “The man you think you know” absolutely touched my heart. It introduced the main characters with love, warmth and gentle humour. I wanted them to win. I cried when they got hurt and worried when they were stressed. I cared deeply about James and Danny and loved hearing about their lives. I enjoyed reading the book and felt like I was visiting old friends whenever I opened the eBook on my phone and got to ‘hear’ about what they were up to. Now that is the sign of a good book, I think. Well-rounded characters written with intelligence, warmth and humour. Characters you can relate to and if they were real people, they’d be people you want to count as your friends.
Just food for thought 🙂