The Promise of Happiness

The Promise of Happiness

Postby mitch » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:16 am

Read this for the book club at work and, my god, I wish I hadn't! If it wasn't for the fact that it would look a bit crap for an English teacher to say 'I didn't bother reading it' when we get together, I'd never have got past the first couple of chapters.

I don't often come across something so bad I feel the need to warn others away, but it had recommendations on the cover and everything and it could be dangerous. I can't quite imagine how something so clichéd can be allowed. I mean, I was offered the 'Hoxton-based, coke-sniffing, slim young thing with a nose ring who works in advertising and is sleeping with her older married boss'. Can that be allowed outside soaps?

The main story centres around a woman imprisoned for art theft (she did it for love, of course) who, after two years in a US prison, is released back into her dysfunctional family which has been ripped apart by shame. For some reason, despite having parents who are dull to the point of madness (doing nothing but taking long walks and burning fish-based meals), she is brilliantly intelligent and surrounded by some sort of aura which ensures that all who meet her adore her (rather too much in the case of her father and brother, which gets a bit disturbing). After a few chapters I wished they'd given her the death penalty so I didn't have to endure all the 'colourful' prison lingo and references to brutal shower-room incidents thrown into every chapter about her to make it seem gritty and real.

It's one of those books with a very inconclusive ending but there's no risk of disappointment there because I can't imagine anyone being made to care enough about the characters to want to know where they end up.

There was a bit where one of the characters ended up in hospital, which let me to believe things might improve. Sadly, he pulled through.

Anyone else come across this? Apparently it's a common book club read so I thought someone might. I'd be interested if anyone enjoyed it because it's puzzling me how it could be so popular otherwise, I'm the only one in our department who's got to the end so far and we've all hated it. Maybe it's a marmite kind of thing.
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