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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund
Gather the Daughters: A Novel
Jennie Melamed

Alias Grace

Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood No doubt about it, Alias Grace is written well. The premise is intriguing. And Atwood's approach to Grace Marks is captivating.The scene where Atwood reveals the real Grace is wonderful, full of tension and insight. Regrettably, it takes much too long to get there. Sure, I understand the "not knowing" is part of what makes this story good. I agree. But while I was trying to figure out who Grace was, my attention waned. Repeatedly. And normally it's not too difficult for a book to keep my attention while I'm engaged with it. The words of the fictional Grace Marks make up most of this novel and I found her tiresome. The backstory was exhausted and the drone of her Puritan speech made Hawthorne's language rousing.I also struggled some with the male characters in this novel. Simon is a contradiction--upholding values one minute, desecrating them the next. This dichotomy could be great for the character if it made sense. Unfortunately, I never felt like I understood Simon's motives or needs. In the end, Simon was not pleasant to me. Jeremiah, on the other hand, was intriguing and wonderful; Jeremiah, however, made no sense to me. He's a peddler. A doctor. An astronaut--no, not really. I found his relationship to Grace and to the story disjointed. I was willing to believe whatever the author told in the end about him, but there was nothing. He was sadly dropped.Overall, I liked Alias Grace. There was so much great material here, most of it lying beneath the surface. I really wanted to love this book, but it just didn't gel for me. I'm hopeful that my next Atwood read will be much more satisfying.