The House of DaVinci

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Book 1: Six Weeks to Toxic by Louisa McCormack

I had intended to read this book for quite a while - Louisa has PEI connections (much of her family lives here) and she spent the summer on PEI working for our local CBC suppertime program. She was doing a reading at the local Indigo store and I wanted to have the book read before I went.

Well, it turned out I couldn't go to the reading and my incentive to read the book diminished. Then in December I saw it listed in the new holdings by the local library and I finally put it near the top of my list. And I have to say, I was disappointed.

From the press about the book, I knew it was about a friendship breaking up - that there were lots of books on breaking up with your boyfriend but this one was about breaking up with a girlfriend. So I made some assumptions about the book - that early on the main character would break up with her girlfriend and the book would be about the aftermath. I was wrong. But I don't think the fact that I didn't get what I was expecting was why I didn't like the book.

The titular six weeks to toxic turned out to be the layout of the book - separated into the six weeks that this friendship took to detoriate into a breakup, which was at the end of the book. Unfortunately, I only really knew this from reading the back of the book. This friendship between Maxine and Bess seemed pretty shakey from the start - and not that interesting. The horrible issue that broke them up? Bess got a boyfriend and a job leading the foley department on a major motion picture. While Max's supposed boyfriend bought her flowers and candy for Valentine's Day - apparently a big no no. The friendship never held any interest for me, never appeared to be anything to special, and I wasn't heart broken when it broke up. Right from the beginning it was clear that Bess could do better and the story just didn't engage me.

There were some interesting characters in the book. I really did like Bess and found her life interesting - especially her relationship with the man who becomes her boyfriend. Relationships were definitely not her thing and it was interesting to watch her struggle. McCormack's writing style is very strong - I think I would recognize a book she wrote just from reading a few pages. I couldn't always decide if I liked it or not, but in the end that was the most engaging part of the book. She used interesting words and the language made it feel more than just a chick lit book. However, I can't imagine it appealing to anybody other than 20 -30 something females.

Her next book is supposed to be set in PEI so I'm sure I will read it, but I can't say I'd recommend this one to many.


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