Saturday, March 28, 2009

Apart from the Crowd

I've begun something new with this blog. I start writing out my opinion of the book as I read it because otherwise... I forget stuff. Pretty smart, eh?

Anyway. This is the first time I read any of Anna McPartlin's books. I kept stalking out her novel Pack Up the Moon prior to my bookstore closing but I never bought it because it simply looked too depressing. Go read the description of the novel here to understand what I mean. At the time, with facing unemployment in an economy where finding a new job was very unlikely, I couldn't handle the general vibe. I needed something that seemed a bit more up beat.

Luckily Apart from the Crowd was parked right next to Pack Up the Moon and I picked it up off the shelf. The premise is of a small cast, all of whom have different situations in their lives and the Irish town they reside in which thrives on gossip. (like any small town, mind you, this isn't a new idea) But it did generally seem more cheerful and I've always enjoyed novels that involve Ireland in some way.

When I picked up the book I was rather excited to read it. But as soon as I read the first page I noticed a trend. Every time I read the book I was easily distracted. I judge how good a book is by how much attention I pay it. If I read the entire thing in a night without putting it down once, I obviously adored it. If it takes me a week or two because I'm busy or whatever and yet I sit down and read it without any distraction each night- if only for an hour- still good. If I find that I can't concentrate on the book however, that raises a red flag.

Of course I immediately take into consideration what's going on at the moment. I had a hell of a time getting through some books when I lost my job. And I was, at the moment, having a mental shut down because I was about to visit an ex-boyfriend because he was going to war. Stressful events tend to make my mind run a mile a minute and that doesn't help much when trying to concentrate on a book.

So I put down the book, waited until I saw the ex, and once I returned to a normal sense of life I picked it back up and tried it again. I still couldn't pay attention to the book. I would be proud of myself if I made it through five-ten pages before setting it down and it lasted that way up until this very day where I had nothing to do, was terribly bored, and the only way to pass the time was to read. By this point the fact that I had been reading this book for such an obscenely long time was bothering me so I was determined to finish reading it.

This book was not meant for me. I'm sure others would enjoy it but I can't really think of a type of person who would enjoy it from cover to cover. For me, it was just too depressing. Yes, a great way to display that other peoples lives can suck more then yours but when you're reading it's not necessarily for a lesson. At least this book does not strike me as much. It's something you pick up to be entertained and sucked into these characters worlds. I was sucked in- to a point- and was miserable the whole way through. There were small accomplishments through the story, little things that were uplifting, and as soon as they became uplifting they would be taken away. In all actuality only the Epilogue was cheerful for the entirety of it. Every chapter leading up to it had some dull upsetting moment.

I'm not one for upsetting books usually. If there is a significantly upsetting point in a book it's usually balanced out by just as much goodness. There was no balance in this book. It was one upset after another and in the end the 'happily ever afters' were listed in a small paragraph and not really elaborated on. I think that's what bothered me the most. The entire book has great detail of the woes that each character faces but when it comes to their happiness it's only mentioned briefly and brushed aside.

Out of five stars I only gave it a two.

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