Among the Ten Thousand Things
By Julia Pierpont
A dazzling, smart summer read from one of America’s most exciting young writersTweet
I found the book interesting in showing contrasting male/female viewpoints but ultimately I was left wondering what the author really wanted to say. Would not recommend.
I found this a most unsatisfactory read. I found the sexting most distasteful and had little empathy for any of the characters. Debs had been party to one of jack’s earlier affairs and could hardly be too surprised when his philandering continued. Jack was one the affected arty set with nothing much to contribute and an overestimation of his importance. The two children were just spoilt brats.
The Intimacy between Simon and Tegan was well described and showed some interest. However the quick run through the year (Jack’s Illness etc.) seemed pointless and the ending was very poor.
Overall rating – poor.
No as I struggled to find any redeeming factors in this book and wouldn’t recommend it.
As I sit down to write the review of this book, I find myself at a loss as to what to say. On reflection I think this is because, in general, the book didn't produce a strong reaction in me.
I almost didn't continue past the first chapters as I found the explicit sexual references unnecessary, but I persevered. Unfortunately it remained an everyday story of an unfaithful husband, oblivious of the consequences of his actions on those around him and himself.
I did enjoy the description of the encounters between Simon and Teagan, the characters were believable, and this by contrast was touching and realistic, a sensitive depiction of transition from childhood to sexually active adolescent.
If I were to ask the author a question it would be, what was the purpose of the semi pornographic language?
Personally, I consider myself a worldly person who has heard much swearing and isn't easily shocked, but if I hadn't been reading this book for a book club, this seemingly gratuitous use of foul language would have meant I discarded the book very early on. I hope for more discriminating and imaginative use of language from a writer.
Disliked the texts at the beginning of the book – distasteful.
Little sympathy for the adult characters but could empathise much more for the children, particularly Simon who seemed a much ‘rounder’ or 3D character than the others.
Some of the text was obviously quality writing and felt promising but the story line felt week and didn’t tell me anything.
This book was regarded as wrong without merit by all members of the group – a rare event!
Members reported the sexting as being gratuitously crude and explicit. They found the characters two dimension and couldn’t relate to or empathy with any of them. The ending in the middle of the Book was more like an early edit. It appears the writer was trying to be too clever and achieved nothing.
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I thought the blurb sounded fantastic and so interesting, but I’m sorry to say that this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. In fact, I had to force myself to finish it because I found it laborious and mind numbing.
I did not warm to any of the characters, which means I had no emotional attachment to any of them; so in all honesty, I really didn’t care what happened to them and struggled to find sympathy for the situation. I find if I don’t care about the characters, there’s rarely anything else left to hold my interest, especially when there are so many unanswered questions and situations unchallenged.
I found the novel overly stodgy in places, but then underdeveloped in others, and I think once you’ve read the blurb, there’s no need to read anything further because nothing else of note happens. The writing was a bit contrived and tried too hard to be modern and edgy, but it came across pretentious and hollow. The vulgar and purposely shocking language was unnecessarily graphic and alienated me as a reader.
Finally, I’m unsure which novel the reviews are referring to when they say “humorous” and “funny.” These are certainly not words I’d use to describe this, more over-hyped and drivel. Sorry, but not one for me; dull, uninspiring and without any real emotion.
About 50% of our members managed to finish this book, although it was quite a struggle for most of them. In particular the extreme bad language at the beginning of the book most of us found offputting and unnecessary. It added nothing and seemed out of step with the rest of the book.
It was thought that this book was difficult to retain; the problem was mostly the changing of times, although some of our members do like this style of writing it was felt that it did not go smoothly in this case.
It was felt that the characters were not particularly likeable, leaving our members not really caring as to the outcome of the story. They had not been very well developed and were not easy to visualise.
The grandmother was a stereotypical Jewish mother and the mother seemed to be determined to stay married, whatever her husband did. As a couple they did not connect and the whole family were isolated from one another. Did the husband regret the affair? no we felt that he did not, he only regretted getting caught.
It was commented that the happenings in their lives were not really interesting and it seemed that the mother did not look after her children after the arrival of the emails. We felt that she would have been more caring towards them.
We did read reviews indicating that the novel was about loneliness, we did not agree with this; we felt it was more about isolation.
Although this book mirrored real life more than some books, we felt that the characters were not compelling. The time movement did not add to the story and we felt, was not particularly well done. The ending, which was in the middle of the book, fizzled out, we felt.
We also thought that health and Safety would have something to say about the art installation!
Our score out of 10 was 3½