AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS
By: Julia Pierpont
Published: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Random House
First of all, I need to preface this review with the statement that I did not finish this book. I got to 67% of the way through and just couldn’t go any farther. That is very rare for me. I typically give books 100 pages and if I don’t feel like finishing I just don’t. But, this one had so many great reviews that I felt like I was maybe not “getting it”. Finally, I decided to bail and I’m glad I did.
I think which turned me off of this novel right away was the husband was having an affair. That isn’t necessarily a turn off in a story, but the way this one was handled just turned me off immediately. Jack is an sculpture artist and his wife is a one-time dancer who gave it up to teach dance and raise their children. One day as the 11-year-old daughter comes home from school, there is a package delivered. It’s addressed to her mom, but because she sees pink packaging she believes it must be for her upcoming birthday and opens it. In it is no present, but graphic letters between Jack and his mistress that have been printed off and sent to share with Jack’s wife. The mistress is upset with Jack’s lack of attention and is hoping to “get back at him” by sending these letters, never expecting for the children to see them. The daughter then shares this package with her 15-year-old brother who then shows it to their mother.
I think this story was so repulsive to me because our children are the same age and I would have a hard time dealing with them reading the vulgar and graphic sexual material that was in the letters. I took this story personally and had a hard time getting past the husband’s callous “sorry, sorry, sorry” and the wife’s indifference. Because of this situation, the kids were spiraling out of control and no one seemed to be interested in their well-being.
Since I read this as an eBook, I can’t totally speak to the format of the book, because it could have been different in a print version. Since I wasn’t reading a PDF, but instead the actual eBook, I feel like the format would be the same. I must be mostly a traditionalist in how books are formatted because I didn’t care for this style. There were sections, but this book had no chapters.. They were listed in the front of the book, like you thought you were going to have chapters, but there were no chapter headings or page breaks. So, again, it could have been a format issue, but if not one, I didn’t care for the style. I need those chapter breaks, I guess. If it is a format issue, it needs to be corrected!
Finally, the book takes you from the present, to the past, to the future and back to the present and then…since I didn’t read all the way to the end…I’m not sure….but traveling to the future in the middle of the story was very confusing and frankly, made me not care about what happened in the rest of the story since I knew how their story ended. I didn’t care how the couple got there, what happened to the kids, or their marriage.
The only positive I can say is that Pierpont is a talented WRITER. She definitely has a way with words and storytelling, but needs to maybe make her characters more likable and her book more readable with chapter breaks. You can see an example of a well-written piece from the book below.
So, for me, I was extremely disappointed in a book that has received much praise and “buzz”. But, that’s why every book isn’t for every person. If you like a more traditional style of writing format and don’t like crude sexual material, then I would definitely pass on this one.
Favorite Quote: “Not that it was a thing she’d consider – it would be too obvious a distraction from what was wrong, like making a window out of the mirror they were standing in, just so they wouldn’t have to look at their own reflections.”
|Julia Pierpont – source|
Julia Pierpont is the author of AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS, her debut novel. She is a graduate of Barnard College and the M.F.A. program at N.Y.U., where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She lives in Brooklyn with her lunatic dog, Dash. For more information about the author, check out the links below:
If you would like to purchase a copy of AMONG THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS, click the photo below: