Friday, January 04, 2008

Books: Pieces of My Sister's Life

Elizabeth Joy Arnold's Pieces of My Sister's Life was a great book. I think it is sometimes hard to read a book about childhood friends (twin girls and the boy next door) particularly when it is told in first person since you the reader know that your narrator is understandably biased. But it worked well here. There were moments where I read with one eye closed, if you will, because I was dreading the inevitable climactic betrayals. (This is good, I couldn't stop reading, I was just afraid of what would happen.) I also have to say, although I will be a bit vague, it doesn't end in a neatly packaged way, which, again, I liked, because all the neatly packaged ways were going to irritate me.
So, loved it. But, I have to nitpick a bit. (I know.) I understand the challenges when writing a story that takes place over years, especially when technology changes so fast. But - if you are going to put 2007 all over parts of your book (to distinguish from the parts that take place earlier) - then I get to assume that this book takes place now. Therefore, if you wanted to make a phone call that you didn't want the people you were staying with to know about or for them to accidentally pick up the return call, you would use your cell phone. And a twelve year old in 2007 would not have a walkman. Not just because it is old technology, but because there is no place for a twelve year old to find music to play on the Walkman because no one sells tapes any more. And if they live in a special place where stores sell tapes instead of CDs and cell phones don't work - then you have to explain that.
So, other than the technological anachronisms (which really are a teeny portion of the story), it was a great story.

3 comments:

Elizabeth Joy Arnold said...

So, you probably don't think that authors read the posts that bloggers write about their books, but...we actually do! I get a Google alert letting me know when people mention the book, because I want to thank the people who blog about it. So...thank you! I'm so glad you liked the book.

So, hee-hee, just a couple things in my defense, about the cell phone/walkman issue. First, I don't have a cell phone, believe it or not. There are still some of us who don't! So I didn't even think about it when I was writing (although I probably should have.) And second, the walkman was actually a radio walkman, not one that uses tapes. I do own one of those, and I use it when I work out. Here's the quote:
"Gillian watched me a minute, then slipped the earphones back over her head. She turned up the volume on her walkman loud enough that I could hear the pounding drums, and spun the tuning wheel up and then back down, the radio voices singing a jumbled, unintelligible blur.

They still sell these, and they're the best way of getting a radio signal without using a boombox...

Anyway. I just wanted to thank you so much for mentioning the book in your blog. It's praise like this that motivates me to keep-on-keeping-on with the next book, which is coming out in May and is already waaay past due to my editor. Thanks so much for reading!

Elizabeth

RandomRanter said...

You're welcome! And fair enough, I had not considered that Sony was still using the walkman type name for something unlike the cassette type deal I had as a teen.
And yes, please, write more!

Lorraine said...

I'll have to pick that book up. I've made a resolution to do more pleasure reading this year - because I DO deserve it. Keep the reviews a-comin'.