Then Came You – Review
Currently on Loan from the Library:
The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay by: Beverly Jensen (Mostly checked out because of the Stephen King endorsement on the back cover)
The Pillars of the Earth by: Ken Follett (Which seems unnaturally heavy)
To Die For by: Sandra Byrd
Other Books I’m Reading:
Nothing really at the moment
While I wait for my name to be next on the Library’s waiting list for the Death of Kings, Bernard Cornwell’s new installment in the Saxon Series, I thought I would go on a Science Fiction bender. That didn’t really work out for me. I started in on Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time. Normally I like time shifty, time thready, loopy sorts of stories. Somehow I just couldn’t get into this book. I kept thinking it would get better. “Just ten more pages”, I kept telling myself. Which is how I read the first 107 pages. It didn’t work out though. So I returned it to the Library. It wasn’t badly done. It just wasn’t to my taste. Although, if you happen to dream of a city at the end of time, I understand the Chalk Princess is looking for you. Run!
Just as I was putting The City at the End of Time down, and looking around for something else, my husband came how with the newest Jennifer Weiner. He’d spotted it at the Library and checked it out for me. How sweet was that???
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Jennifer Weiner elevates Chick Fic to Women’s Literature. She’s one of the very few “women’s” writers that I really respect. She doesn’t write down to her reader. Her characters are often realistic, logical, and funny. Best of all, Jennifer never shies away from showing women being really genuinely evil to each other. If you don’t believe me, you really have to read In Her Shoes and watch for the step mother.
That said, I don’t know that Then Came You is really a rave. The characters are interesting and sympathetic. The pacing is good. The plot has plenty of twists and turns. I don’t even mind the lesbian love story. It’s well done, and the one scene of corporeal exuberance is short mild and easy to skip if that sort of thing bothers you. However, I get the feeling that this book was going someplace else, and some editor somewhere insisted on a happy ending.
What is it with the happy ending anyway? Most of the really great books on earth don’t have happy endings. Most of them aren’t even hopeful. Quasimodo dosen’t ride off into the sunset with Esmerelda. He lays down next to her dead body and dies. Mannie wins the war, but loses his best friend. Rhett leaves Scarlett. (As far as I’m concerned there are no follow ups to this book. So don’t even go there. Margaret could write!) Hester takes up her punishment again, and is buried near her lover. Beth dies, and they always miss her. None of these books would be classics with out, well, unhappy endings.
Then Came You starts out with heaps of poignant ending potential. I give you poor college girl Jules who just wants her father to have a chance at rehab, and so donates her eggs to an infertility clinic. I give you Annie, who just wants to help her family be financially comfortable so she agrees to be a surrogate. I give you India, who suffers with infertility, and hires a surrogate. I give you Bettina, lonely, angry step daughter of India who just wants her father’s trophy wife gone. Each voice separate, different and interesting. All of them three dimensional and surprising. All of them concerned with the birth of the same baby.
And then there is a happy ending. A rather unbelievable happy ending at that.
Read the book. By all means read the book. It’s very well written. Just know that in my mind it ends differently. Jules is left to wonder what happened to her eggs, and it makes her a better woman this sacrifice without answers. Annie is left to read about the child she carried in the papers (famous parents) and hope that she is well, while always weighing the comfort she bought with cost she paid. India raises a child that she loves desperately, but who she feels always compares her to another possible mother. Bettina comes to understand her father’s love of his wife, and hates him for it.
But of course, that is my ending.
Enjoyability: Very Enjoyable. Four stars
Where to read this book: This is a pot of tea, and a comfortable chair sort of book.
Further reading: I think Ken Follett. I’ve never actually read any Ken Follett.
Posted on February 4, 2012, in Fiction, fun, review and tagged Bernard Cornwell, Beverly Jensen, City at the End of Time, Death of Kings, Greg Bear, Jennifer Weiner, Ken Follett, Library, Pillars of the Earth, Science fiction, Stephen King. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.