>> Monday, September 30, 2002

Well, I'm done with The Silent Bride and it was an interesting book, which I don't regret reading. I'll grade it a B-, however since I had enough problems with it that I don't think I'll read the rest of the series.

There were some elements here which were original compared to what I usually read. The main one was that it seemed to be more aware of the rest of the world than most American fiction. True, at times I found the portrayal of the minorities here a bit offensive, but at least it was an element of the book. Why offensive? Most of these characters were portrayed as racist, for instance. If some of the words that came out of April's mother's mouth had been said by a WASP character, that character would have been a bigoted pig. Skinny Dragon Mother (I loved that nickname!), however, was portrayed as an irritating but loving mother. Also, April and Mike were unnecessarily callous towards Louis' boys, which I didn't like. Oh, and Ubu's story read exactly like a story I read in Newsweek about the child soldiers of Sierra Leone.

April was an interesting character, but I didn't like her much, since I couldn't really respect her for the way she allowed herself to be bullied by her mother. Maybe this is racist on my part, but I couldn't understand how she worked, so I found myself not liking her.

Another thing that bothered me was her mother (it must be pretty obvious by now that I just detested everything about her except April's nickname for her). I've read a few books in a row featuring moms who want their children to get married and give them children. I hate that plot device. Absolutely detest it. Senior characters just lose all other personality traits and become only grandchild - demanding machines.Oh, and the voices of the characters didn't really ring true to me (Mike sometimes sounded like an old lady, for instance).

The mystery part was ok. It had a fascinating setup, but the resolution was extremely unsatisfying. The author never spells out the murderer's motives (only superficially), and never explains how he chose his victims or how he did everything.

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