I am only 1/3 of the way through this terribly written novel, which I am reading for my book club. I’ve rarely read such awful, puerile, formulaic writing in a novel! It’s as if the author is a ninth grader who is using a checklist of “How to Write a Novel.” The novel’s subject matter, the fictionalized story of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, has promise. The author has destroyed the promise of the story with her unbearable narrative style.
The descriptions are particularly awful. They are overblown and trite. The first person point of view makes the experience even worse for the reader, because no one actually thinks in words like this! Here’s an example: “This in turn opened to an outdoor stage and garden illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights that changed colors frequently.” Here is another: “Our faces gleamed in the flickering light from two silver candelabra, which bore candles on arms shaped like tree branches. The warm glow cast by this silvery confection made the crystal glasses sparkle brighter and the silverware glint from their many reflective surfaces.” At no point does this author SHOW. She always TELLS. She breaks the cardinal rule of good writing. The entire book, so far, is devoid of atmosphere, mood, voice, and even purpose. And the characterizations are one-dimensional and cookie-cutter: “loving papa,” “judgmental mother,” “plucky ingenue,” “overbearing husband.” How can a book like this even get published?!
I always want to finish every novel my book club chooses, because I really trust our members to make erudite and meaningful choices. But this is a new low in choices, and I am suffering through it! Hedy Lamarr’s story deserves to be told, but not like this! Reading reviews, I see that some say a few of the important aspects of the real Hedy Lamarr’s life are glossed over or omitted. If so, then this won’t be just a badly written novel - it will prove to be an insult and disservice to the real human whose story it purports to tell.