Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review: The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe

Happy Saturday, readers!

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend so far! The weather here yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL 75 degrees and sunny. Today it's been on-and-off overcast, so a good day to get some reading (and cleaning!) done.

Last week, I started on The Rain before it Falls by Jonathan Coe. I received this book as a gift for Christmas 2010 from my brother and sister-in-law. They gifted me a lovely stack of about 14 books, which is the perfect gift for a book lover like me! I also believe reading the variety of books is good to get me out of my comfort zone, which I often need. I love Patterson, King, and Picoult, but I really need to get out there and expand my literary boundaries.

Anyway, I picked this book up after scrolling through my TBR-bookshelf list, where my mouse cursor landed on it. Here's the description from Goodreads:

As a young girl, Rosamond is sent to Shropshire to escape the Blitz. Here, in the countryside, she forms a close bond with her older cousin, Beatrix, a young woman haunted by anger and resentment.

Sixty years later, just before her death, Rosamond records her memories on cassettes, addressing them to a distant cousin—a near stranger-named Imogen. As Gill, her beloved niece, listens to these tapes, a heart—stopping family saga is revealed. In this masterful portrait of three generations of woman, Jonathan Coe exposes the profound reserves of hope and loss within the lives of ordinary woman.

 I found myself really drawn by the premise of this novel. The reader meets Rosamond through her voice, just as Imogen would have done, as she is blind. We begin by following Gill, Rosamond's niece, shortly after Rosamond's death. Gill comes across recorded tapes Rosamond had made for Imogen to listen to. Imogen, who Gill had only met once, had a strange connection to Gill's aunt Rosamond. In an attempt to find Imogen, Gill listens to the tapes.

It was an extremely interesting perspective, to have Coe develop characters and a backstory through an old lady narrating photos from her life to someone she had only met a few times. That part, I felt, was done masterfully. But the story itself? It was good, without being wonderful; it was interesting, without being exciting; it was slow without being torturous. After putting the novel down, I had a hard time convincing myself to pick it back up. When I was reading it, it was an easy read. However, because it was so hard to convince myself to pick it back up, I'm only giving it a rating of 2/5. I'm not even sure what audience I would recommend it to. How about this: read it yourself, and let me know your thoughts. I'm curious, as I haven't found many reviews on it.

I did find a great quote I would like to share with you, though:
"I went on: 'You see, there's no such thing as the rain before it falls. It has to fall, or it isn't rain.' It was a silly point to be making to a little girl; I rather regretted starting on it. But Thea seemed to be having no difficulty grasping the concept; rather the reverse--for after a few moments she shook her head pityingly, as if it was testing her patience to discuss such matters with a dimwit. 'Of course there's no such thing,' she said. 'That's why it's my favourite. Something can still make you happy, can't it, even if it isn't real?'" (142).

Here are my stats:
The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe
Rating: 2/5
Pages: 240
2012 Reading Goal: 5,389/15,000

And, in honor of St Patty's Day, I'll share one of my favorite Irish blessings with all of you:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog. As a lover of books you might be interested in the word play involved in cryptic crosswords. I am doing a series of posts on solving cryptic clues. This was the first one I did. Hope you enjoy.


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