Patricia Pearson: Playing House
The second book in my windfall is not a book I would be tempted to pick up and purchase. For one thing, and I know this probably sounds vain, I didn’t like the cover. Aesthetically, the book was not one that usually grabs my attention—waving to me from the corner of the bookstore, sharply calling: “Pick me!”. The cover is pink/purple with a baby bottle’s nipple on one side, a tube of red lipstick on the other, and the title squashed between. There is one benefit to such a cover: it immediately gives the reader an idea of what kind of story they will be reading. Perhaps that’s not all bad.
On an up-note, I was able to read this novel within a span of 24 hours—that included going to work, cooking, cleaning, etc. so I estimate the average time it took me to read this was around 3 hours, or less. The first person narration was immediate, snappy and often snort aloud funny in terms of dialogue or internal thoughts. The writing was often witty with short bursts of mocking. In short, it was an amusing book.
That said, the plot was often clichéd, entirely predictable, and the open ending screams another book. There were groaning moments, such as the birth scene—how often can a birth scene be comedically written, but written differently? Amusing as the novel was, the main character Frances Mackenzie was too much of a character, and seemed entirely solipsistic, so much so, that halfway through this book, her consuming self-focus began to grate slightly on my nerves.
Of course, maybe it was just me, expecting more from something meant for entertainment, something light to read while waiting for bus, the plane, the train, something to take my mind off the fraught urban life I usually lead. And in some crazy way, maybe it did do that (I did read it), but it didn’t involve my imagination to the point where I was lost in some wondrous world, lost within lines of prose so provocative that I had trouble re-entering the world. No, it didn’t do that at all. Not at all.