By Anita Diamant
I constantly make this rookie mistake. I pick up a well known author’s latest work instead of picking up their acclaimed work and moving on – or not – from there. I did it with Anita Shreve and read A Wedding in December mostly because I got a copy for free instead of reading The Pilot’s Wife.
And I hated A Wedding in December. Now Shreve is ruined for me, and I am very unlikely to pick up another one of her novels. That’s a shame if A Wedding in December was a fluke, and the bestselling The Pilot’s Wife is actually a fantastic read.
See where I’m going? This book was fine. I did not hate it. It was not the worst book in the world. I did finish it which says something. I should have picked up The Red Tent for my first Anita Diamant so I would know definitively if I just don’t like her style.
This book just lacked anything special. A few scenes were nice, but never really tied together in a meaningful way. The writing was basic without any flourish. The characters were relatively flat. It is a very predictable story of a young girl in the early 1900s as she grows up through the first world war and the depression.
While the novel did bring to light a fatalistic flu virus that is often neglected during this time period, the rest of the story was lackluster. You’re not missing much if you skip this one.
What about The Red Tent? Is it worth a try or not?