Thursday, May 8, 2008

Book Review: The House of the Spirits

Author: Isabel Allende

Pages: 433

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating 1/5

Awards: Panorama Literario Award: Chile (1983), Best Novel of the Year: Chile (1983)

From the back cover:

Here, in an astonishing debut by a gifted storyteller, is the magnificent saga of proud and passionate men and women and the turbulent times through which they suffer and triumph. They are the Truebas. And theirs is a world you will not want to leave, and one you will not forget.

Esteban -- The patriarch, a volatile and proud man whose lust for land is legendary and who is haunted by his tyrannical passion for the wife he can never completely possess.

Clara -- The matriarch, elusive and mysterious, who foretells family tragedy and shapes the fortunes of the house of the Truebas.

Blanca -- Their daughter, soft-spoken yet rebellious, whose shocking love for the son of her father's foreman fuels Esteban's everlasting contempt... even as it produces the grandchild he adores.

Alba -- The fruit of Blanca's forbidden love, a luminous beauty, a fiery and willful woman... the family's break with the past and link to the future.

I hate to write bad reviews but sometimes it must be done. This book was awful. I hated it. What was so horrible about it? I'm not sure. It is difficult to put my finger on it. I know it was easy to just put the book down and forget about it. I didn't care about anyone in the story. I preferred to do household chores than read (now THAT should tell you something). I took me weeks to finish this book. I finished it through sheer will power and determination. It covered 8 challenges for me so there was no way I was going back once I started. I also figured since it had won a few awards it must be decent. This is horrible to say but one of the challenges i read this book for was the Banned Book Challenge...the only thing this book should be banned for is being boring.

It should have been a good story. It went on long enough. It "spanned" generations. So many different story lines evolved, started, stopped. There was love, death, murder, kidnapping, mutilation, war, riots, revolt, marriage, a head in a box, a car crash, magic, green hair...there was so much. This family was an absolute train wreck. It should have been interesting in the "I can't look away car crash type of way". But it wasn't. It was boring. It was difficult to keep track of who was who (that could have been from me putting the book down for days at a time).

Save your time. If you want to try Allende try something besides The House of the Spirits

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to your review please let me know in the comments

1 comment:

Stewart said...

Wow! It's always interesting to read reviews - good and bad - when looking for new books to read. Allende's The House Of The Spirits is one I've been considering for a while. A review was recently posted on my forum, which called it "an extraordinary read – deeply moving and magnificently uplifting." and this fired me up, pushing me closer to buying the book. And now I see this, the wind blowing the other way. Such polar opinions make me really want to read it now.

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