California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….
I did not finish this novel. I read to page 160 and gave up. Normally I wouldn’t bother writing a review of a book I haven’t completed, but I wanted to balance out the mostly positive reviews floating around on the internet. This isn’t out of spite, it’s just that I wish I hadn’t wasted any of my time or money on it, and if you share my taste in literature, then you’ll know not to either.
I do try to include a little bit of contemporary fiction in my literary diet, but I’m mostly left with a nasty taste in my mouth, or a feeling of dissatisfied emptiness. In this case, it was probably like eating candy floss and washing it down with a cup of tepid, LSD-laced Kool Aid. About half the words used by Cline, seem to be there unnecessarily. Instead of adding a sense of the period and its atmosphere, they combine into a bizarre word-fluff, there only for padding.
Sometimes, when I’m suffering with writers block, I type a sentence into Google Translate, translate it into a few foreign languages and then back into English again. If I’m lucky, it produces something in peculiar pidgin English to make me laugh. That’s how this novel seems to me – badly translated into English.
Cline is also fixated with nipples and they are mentioned every few pages, usually completely at random.
She told me that she had been trying polyphasic sleep but had to quit. “It was too weird,” she said. Her nipples were apparent through her shirt.
When she’s not sweating and perving over glimpses of nipple, Cline’s protagonist, Evie, likes to describe unseen things too. For example,
Neither looked at me. The air between them criss-crossed with symbols. Russell held my hand for a moment, his eyes avalanching over me.
Is this to add to the hippyish vibe? I’m not quite sure. Does anything ever actually happen in the novel? I assume so, but it hadn’t by half-way, and I didn’t care enough to make it to the end.