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What? Really? That's it?!
on 20 May 2013
Mona Gray is the most annoying character ever. She is extremely unlikeable, and I honestly could not find any redeeming qualities. Page after page, she only got worse.
The book started out well enough, with a little background information on Mona and why she turned out the way she did (i.e. a quitter and a nutter). Her father needs a good kick to the backside. I don't even understand what is wrong with him, or how him pretending something is wrong is supposed to make me feel sympathetic towards him. I mean, you've ruined your family's life. You're a pathetic excuse for a man.
And Mona, who is allegedly some sort of Math genius? Fascinated by numbers, enjoys doing long division in her free time, and knocks incessently to ward off bad luck, is hired - almost forceably - as an elementary Maths teacher. Big mistake. This 20 year old failure can barely take care of herself, let alone take care of children.
And honestly, the kids were just as annoying as their teacher. I wanted to give them a couple of good smacks to get them in line. The interactions between her and these children, in fact, between her and anybody, were so uninteresting that I kept expecting something to happen. And this went on for pages and pages and pages worth of this relatively short book.
How can I feel anything for someone who eats soap almost killing herself and then using it to detract herself from sexuality, frequently tries to hurt herself or at least thinks about it, and brings an ax to a classroom, then stupidly lets a student hold it?!
This book ended on such a dull note. I mean honestly, I expected some sort of huge revelation. An epiphany of some sorts. There was nothing for me there. We end up as confused as we were at the beginning. None of our questions are answered or even slightly addressed. Mona's character development takes her nowhere. And it baffles me that people found some sort of emotional depth in this story, and they came out of it with some sort of moral or lesson.
I admit, Aimee Bender writes well. There were certain lines that stuck with me. But the plot, the characters, the overall BOOK, that was just one waste of time.
This is my first book for Bender, and looking at other reviews, I am led to believe that as bad as this book was, she's actually a decent short-story author. Which is fantastic, because I happened to purchase The Girl in the Flammable Skirt along with this one and I can only hope that it's better.