Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kate, what happened?

Last night I finished One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson - after a rough start, I experienced a somewhat rough middle followed by a rough ending. It was disappointing. It had all these characters and I couldn't keep track of them. They were all Scottish and mildly bumbling, and if someone had some little idiosyncrasy that would help set them apart, someone else would have the same idiosyncrasy. Like, there were two cagey detective-types, and two Russian-hooker-types, and two grouchy, unfulfilled housewife-types and any number of timid, middle-aged, lonely people. Thematically, I think she was trying to create this focus on coincidence, but it was kind of weak, considering the connections between everyone were really contrived and ridiculous. Apparently it's a continuation of her last book, Case Histories, although it's been several years since I read it and I didn't remember anyone. I do recall Case Histories having a greater focus on the quality of prose, which was not impressive in One Good Turn.

I've been getting rid of a bunch of books recently, one of which was Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak. I reread a couple of chapters at lunch because I forgot my other book. The writing style is really elementary, but she's a likeable character, despite being outrageously fiscally irresponsible, and it is indeed an interesting little tale of the "journey to debt and back." She racks up something like $20,000 in credit card dept and then sells most of what she owns and starts making smarter decisions (like moving out of the upper west side to Brooklyn) and also starts a website kind of begging for help. Basically nickel by nickel she manages to pay off her cards. It's either reprehensible or just resourceful - you decide!

No comments: