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Her Fearful Symmetry??

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I reaaaaaly want to discuss this book with someone! It's written by Audrey Niffenegger, also author of The Time Traveler's Wife, one of my favorite books. This one has been disturbing to me and I've thought about it on and off all day. I can't really even decide if I liked it.
Please come and talk to me if you've read it or there is another thread out there.
Thanks,
Pamela
post #2 of 7
I didn't like it.

To be fair, the woman had a lot to live up to, since I absolutely loved "The Time Traveler's Wife." If she were another author, I might have given her a pass, but I found "Her Fearful Symmetry" to be so disappointing.

I didn't like the characters; they just didn't seem to have any substance. The plot of the story was decent and imaginative, but the twins were pretty weak and the grieving lover got on my nerves (sorry, I read the book as an advance copy awhile ago and I've lost all names ).

What are you dwelling on about the book?
post #3 of 7
Read the book and felt the same as you two.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Okay, I've decided I didn't like it. It's not the lack of a happy ending, as I loved TTTW, it's that the dead for several days body had a child. I think that combined with the fact Elspeth really knew what would happen when she took Valentina's soul made it too distasteful for me. She should not have been allowed to have a child when she essentially killed her own daughter. I also felt so let down by Robert playing along when he knew before it happened what the end result would be. And then to leave his child with such a calculating person. The OCD character of Martin was an interesting aside, but I felt the writer really should have gone into more detail as to why Valentina felt her only escape from Julia was the "faked" real death plan which had body snatcher all over it. As I'm writing this I'm really disliking the whole concept even more. I don't think I would suggest it to anyone.
Pamela
post #5 of 7
I enjoyed the book. I didn't enjoy it as much as Time Traveler's Wife (which I truly adored- I sobbed through the last 1/4 of the book). But I didn't think the book was horrible either. I enjoyed the premise. I thought it was somewhat predictable, but I wasn't able to predict ALL of the nuances of the story. I do enjoy the author's writing story.

That said, I agree with

Quote:
Originally Posted by socialworkmamma View Post
I also felt so let down by Robert playing along when he knew before it happened what the end result would be.
and
Quote:
but I felt the writer really should have gone into more detail as to why Valentina felt her only escape from Julia was the "faked" real death plan which had body snatcher all over it.
I really wish I knew WHY Robert went along with the plan. That didn't make any sense to me at all. I understand that he was conflicted and in love with both Elspeth and Valentina. I understand that it was a way for him to allow fate to intervene and to avoid making a choice between his two loves. But I still wish there was more discussion of WHY he went along with the plan. He took a really active role in it, and it just didn't make sense to me at all.

And I also didn't understand how Valentina intended to go on with life after faking her death. Why did she feel it was her only option to hurt Julia and her parents so badly? And how did she intend to live after faking her death- did she plan to live as Elspeth eventually did- by donning a disguise? Having details about Valentina's plans would've made me understand her choice better (and made the store seem more believable).
post #6 of 7
I really liked this book. I like fantasy and magical realism and ghost stories and such. It's a book you read more for the atmosphere than anything else. It's a ghost story set in Highgate Cemetary with a little ghost kitten, what's not to like? Read it in October on a chilly night, along with Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Graveyard Book, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I didn't think too much into the whole body snatcher thing. That said, I recommended The Time Traveler's Wife to everybody I knew, but I didn't recommend this one because I knew most people wouldn't see it that way.
post #7 of 7
Finished this book a couple of days ago and these are my thoughts.

I agree that there were some things missing and the first part of the story seemed to drag on without much happening while the girls got used to the flat and London.

But, overall, this is a book I will always remember because it was just very unique and .....I think that the actions of the characters were very believable and human.

Yes, I was irritated and thought Valentina was kind of dense to choose to "fake" her death to get away from Julia, but it seemed like the kind of "romantic" and ill-concieved plan that an immature (as she was made out to be) girl might carry out. (Can you say run-on sentence) SO that made it believable to me. It's the sort of thing a dreamy teenager might come up with, before they can (i)really(i) visualize potential consequences for actions.

Robert. Oh, Robert. What a mess. I can't even imagine. He was totally set up by Elspeth (edie) from the get-go. I could really feel his remorse and sadness. I was mad at him, but could understand to a certain degree what he had gone through and the choices he made.

Elspeth. She thought she might get what she wanted, and remember, her children were kind of stolen from her. In the end, I think she'll be ok, but definitely not the "happily ever after" she wanted.

Glad that the sun started to come out for both Julia and Martin, though Julia was the character I liked the least, along with her mother, Edie (elspeth).

That said, don't know who I'd recommend it to because I don't know how they'd feel about it and I won't read it again. I tried to break down the plot to my hubby and he said, "That sounds complicated and depressing."

Well, yeah. Maybe. Still a cool ghost story.
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