From a random review:

Get new posts by email:

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Navigate the site:
Click here for a complete list of books reviewed or select below:
Search the site:
The ratings:
5 stars  excellent
4 stars  very good
3 stars  good
2 stars  fair
1 stars  poor

Blog stats:

About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)





Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


  Previous post:   West, C.J.: Sin & Vengeance  
  Next post:   Stark, Richard: Nobody Runs Forever  


Mars, Julie: Anybody Any Minute

  Amazon  

3 stars

On a whim, while en route to Montreal to visit her sister, 46-year-old New Yorker Ellen Kenny buys an old house in the middle of nowhere. It's a reaction, presumably, to her having been fired from her most recent job, and it's the first clear indication that she's disenchanted with her life in the city with her husband Tommy. Ellen moves into the house for the summer, trying on an alternate life while searching for her identity. She creates an ad hoc family out of her new acquaintances: Rayfield lives in a trailer and is recently separated from his wife, "Wide Load," who left him because of his penile dysfunction; Rodney, who sold Ellen the house, turns out to be a sort of artistic genius. At the same time, Ellen's 18-month-old nephew Olivier winds up staying with her for much of the summer because of a family emergency, which allows Ellen to try on the role of motherhood for the first time.

As the above may suggest, Anybody Any Minute is more about character than plot. And the book does offer readers a number of characters who could walk off the page: Rodney, Rayfield, and Ellen are each very well realized. Unfortunately, if Ellen were really to step out of the book I'd soon want her out of my house: she's a very annoying character, a one-time free-loving hippie who's never quite grown up and who is given to bouts of hysterical laughter and naval-gazing.

"'Take a nap,' Rayfield said. 'I'll drive.'
"At first, Ellen wanted to resist. To surrender her keys to Rayfield seemed dangerously symbolic. Jungians, she knew, called cars in dreams 'personal vehicles.' If someone else was driving yours, it was time to ask why. Of course, Jungians believed that all the persons in the dream symbolized an aspect of the dreamer herself. What part of her did Rayfield represent? Her aimless inner male, handicapped by a penis that could not stand up and be counted? Or perhaps the part of her that was tired of coping with the high-stakes world of New York City, the part that wanted to throw itself into a bucket seat, crack a beer, and blow smoke rings?"

Not for nothing is Ellen told to shut up a time or two in the book.

The second and most important problem with Anybody Any Minute is that it's too damned long. It's filled with passages like the above, endless verbiage that makes reading the book a chore.  You could easily knock a hundred unnecessary pages off the story and leave readers wanting more. That would be a great improvement, because again, the characters Mars created in the novel definitely deserve an audience, and I'm glad to have been introduced to them.

Comments

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In