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Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? Paperback – 3 Jul 1995
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"Touches and dazzles and entertains.... An enchanting novel." "---"The New York Times "Exquisite . . . exhilarating. . . . Balanced adroitly on the fine line between laughter and tears." --"Chicago Tribune "The extraordinarily talented Lorrie Moore presents the lives of Sils and Berie and the atmosphere of the upstate town they live in with a subtle, moving, and often outright brilliance." "--Los Angeles Times "This novel is like a hand-painted Russian Easter egg, a Chinese sleeve piece done in blind stitch; painstaking, breathtaking beauty in miniature. [Moore] creates a gorgeous, terrifying picture." --"Washington Post Book World "This is more than a girls' coming-of-age story. . . . Ms. Moore was always able to make readers laugh out loud. This is the first of her works that can bring them to tears as well." --"The New York Times Book Review
Set against the distant voices of a country in upheaval, this novel shows two 11-year-olds intent on escaping childhood. The strength of their friendship is tested repeatedly as they take their first, exhilarating steps towards adulthood. By the author of "Self Help", "Anagrams" and "Like Life".See all Product description
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My misgivings about it are
i it was a short story expanded into a novella. It carried excess baggage. There are two sections set in Paris. Why? They added nothing. Much of the book I thought just overwritten, as if Ms Moore was trying to get as many ideas into a sentence as she could. Few byways were left unexplored. Overload. Overload. I found myself skimming pages. In a story of 150 pages!
ii OK, so I'm male, not American, and my teenage years are way behind me, so I may be way outside the book's target audience, but this just did not convince as a coming-of-age story.
iii I was indifferent as to the fate of the narrator, in fact of all the characters except, just a little of Sil's. Ms Moore didn't make them live for me.
iv the narrative lacked tension, nothing developed, there were no climaxes.
Near the end, there were several pages of beautiful, uncluttered prose. Too little, too late.
I guess I enjoyed parts of this but for the most part it was too "arty" and "wordy". I certainly didn't find the author to be "one of the funniest writers of all time" as described on the front cover. There was no humour here and certainly no definitive plot either.
All I can say is, ignore the gushing reviews on the cover about it's comedic qualities. I don't think I managed more than a smile.
I found it, on the whole although well written with interesting characters,a deeply depressing and gloomy book, full of failed ambition and mini tragedy.
Several hours of my life I won't get back, though it's major redeeming feature is that it's mercifully brief