Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A mixed bag31 Mar. 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Despite some passages of exposition which clunk like an angry bear in a Williams-Sonoma store, The Garden works. Works because it has an idea so big, Plato would be impressed (and by extension Socrates would be too); it’s an idea so good, it can’t be screwed up. Even with a pack of stupidity screwdrivers or the drill motor of dumb-assed-ness. (Thankfully, Dorr has neither of these.) The biochemistry in the novella is absolutely fascinating, filled with cool tidbits that’ll have you silently mouthing Wow!, immensely satisfying your inner science geek. This is fun science; it’s even more fun than that one time in lab where the kid you hated burned a swatch of hair off his knuckles.
But the best part is the ending. And it’s not because the book ended before my eyes bled out. No, the ending is fantastic, wildly unpredictable and truly stunning. When I can’t see the ending coming at all, that’s a good ending. (Unless, of course, the resolution is either incredibly odd or mind-numbingly stupid. That’s not stunning; that’s just odd or stupid.)
Oddly, the payoff in The Garden is infinitely better than the setup; the ending really makes it. Everything else is solid, if unspectacular. Steven and Alma are decent characters, just not memorable. Overall, The Garden is a mixed bag; it’s a solid story leading up to an unforgettable conclusion.