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Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Review: The Gap of Time

I'm terrible at book reviews. Particularly, when it comes to books that I didn't enjoy. A book is a result of someone's hard work. Long hours spent writing and editing. Deleting and starting all over again. Who am I then to read it and say "um. yea. not so much"?

I just finished Jeanette Winterson's The Gap of Time and I am under whelmed. 

On paper, this book seems awesome. It is a retelling of Shakespeare's The Winter Tale, where jealously, paranoia, and heartbreak abound. Pretty much like every Shakespeare play in existence. The thing with Shakespeare, though, is that language and phrasing take so much brain power to compute that it almost hides the absolute insanity of the characters. It somehow becomes less crazy when there are thee's and thou's involved. 

However, when you retell it in modern language the craziness is VERY evident. There is no flowery language to hide behind. The intensity of the characters and their emotions are front and center.  

I find as I get older (and this makes me cringe because I'm only 34) that I'm becoming more and more intolerant of violence, excessive profanity, and the general abuse individuals inflict upon each other. Reading serves as an escape and the mere act of it has a profound effect upon me. If a book is emotionally draining, I feel that. It stays with me and it's hard for me to shake it off. I recently remarked to a friend that I feel as if I'm out of emotional credit. I only have so much to give, worry, and agonize over - I can't spare anymore for the characters in books that I'm struggling to get through. 

I know that this is unfair. And by no means am I advocating that every book be filled with unicorns and glitter. I have a feeling that this is just a phase I am going through because, ultimately, books have the power to stretch you, change how you view things, and teach you something about yourself and the world around you and I need that. We all do.     

Despite my ridiculous hyper-emotional state, this is a very well written book. Winterson gives Shakespeare's characters new breath and seamlessly integrates them into the modern world. Her retelling is engaging and thoughtful. I may not have enjoyed it, but I can see how it might appeal to others. 

disclaimer: while I received this book for free through the Blogging For Books program, all opinions and views expressed are my own.

previous post: maybe that's why I keep doing it

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