Thursday, April 7, 2011
Review: Sister by Rosamund Lupton
I really enjoyed the first half of the book where Bea immerses herself in the life her younger sister Tess has left behind, to try and understand what has become of her. The story explores what it means to be an older sister and how this often gives the older sister a sense of responsibility and superiority, however misplaced feelings of "knowing best" might be. There were other themes about relationships of many sorts, that were explored successfully in the novel.
At some point, maybe a half to two thirds of the way through, the narrative devices the author uses, just became too prominent and clunky for me. The entire novel is told as a letter from Beatrice to her missing sister. At first I could go along with it, but as we discover that the narrator has withheld information that it doesn't really make sense for her to have withheld, except for the purpose of the whodunit, I began to lose patience.
There were other issues that impaired my enjoyment of this novel. Some of the writing was beautiful and at other times is was jarring. I found the quality of the writing very inconsistent and at times downright awkward. For instance on p.255 Beatrice describes a psychiatrist's dishevelled clothes as "He was wearing a white coat this time, but is was crumpled and a little stained, and he seemed even more scruffily hopeless." The scruffily hopeless grated on me the first time and then she repeats it on p. 259, describing the same psychiatrist, "He was just too decent and scruffily hopeless to be connected to violence." I mean honestly! And no, I am not normally this nitpicking, but I felt let down, because the novel held such promise. What began really well, with good character development and good writing, ended poorly, with a cliched, overly sentimental feel. It lost me.