Book review: Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert

FINALLY…I just finished the first book in my stack of Summer Reading. It feels like this book took me forever to get through. I had high hopes for Stern Men, because I loved Gilbert’s best-selling Eat,Pray,Love. I should have realized–that was a memoir, and this was a novel. Totally different genres, and even though they’re by the same author, they were written in completely different styles.

I thought the book was only so-so. The pacing was agonizingly slow, and several of the plot points seemed haphazardly thrown in, almost as an afterthought. The worst of it, though, was how rapidly the book winds down. After 274 pages of angst and drawn-out story, Gilbert rushes through the ending of the book like she’s got a plane to catch. The best part of the story–the part where Ruth Thomas finally learns how to assert herself and reach her full potential–is glossed over in an Epilogue. The last 12 pages of the book brought the story to a very happy conclusion, but it wasn’t satisfying because it was done too abruptly. I would have rather read an entire novel based on what happens in the Epilogue. It made the experience of reading the rest of the novel seem all the more cumbersome–Stern Men was a big disappointment. Ah well. Can’t win ’em all.

On to the next book in the stack: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It’s a book of humorous essays, and I’m looking forward to reading something that I can pick up and put down without having to stay too focused on one story arc.

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