July 1, 2010

Miss Elva - Stephens Gerard Malone

This book was a giveaway from Wanda over at A Season to Read, and so I wish that I could give it a better review.

The story centers around a pair of sisters - Jane who is beautiful on the outside and cruel on the inside, and Elva who was born with some unspecified disability (?Erbs Palsy, ?CP - there is a mention of Rheumatoid Arthritis later in life - sorry, this is the physiotherapist in me coming out!) but is an artist. The sisters are friends with neighbouring twins, Gil and Dom who have a haunted past. Jane gets herself in "trouble", and there is an expected tragic ending.

I found it to be a very ugly book. The setting was ugly, the events of the story were ugly, and the characters were ugly (externally and internally). There seemed to be no beauty or hope shining through at any point.

For those other fans of L. M. Montgomery out there, as I was finishing this book, I was reminded of Mr. Carpenter's advice to Emily, "Don't be lead away by those howls about realism. Remember - pine woods are just as real as pigsties - and a darn sight pleasanter to be in."

It wasn't all bad. The story moved along quite quickly, and I enjoyed the style of story-telling. The author makes the reader think a little bit, as the story isn't presented linearly, and pieces of the plot come together as you go along.

But I was glad to get to the end of the book and leave that ugly place behind. Personally, I think that the world is a beautiful place; and that most people have at least some redeeming qualities; and I enjoy living with my world-view more than with this book's world-view.

I have signed up for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge over at The Book Mine Set, and this will count as my first review. I have also registered for the Sleeping Giant Writers Festival in August, and look forward to meeting Miriam Toews and Ian Brown.


Wanda said...

Bummer that with such a stunning cover and a character who is an artist, this novel was such an "ugly book". I have a few more books in line before I can get to this but I'm hoping to find it a more worthy read. We'll see...

Kate said...

Wanda - I look forward to reading your review