On paper, Arabella Hicks seems more than qualified to teach her fiction class on the Upper West Side: she's a writer herself; she's passionate about books; she's even named after the heroine in a Georgette Heyer novel.
On the other hand, she's thirty-eight, single, and has been writing the same book for the last seven years. And she has been distracted recently: on the same day that Arabella teaches her class she also visits her mother in a nursing home outside the city. And every time they argue. Arabella wants the fighting to stop, but, as her mother puts it, "Just because we're family, doesn't mean we have to like each other." When her class takes a surprising turn and her lessons start to spill over into her weekly visits, she suddenly finds she might be holding the key to her mother's love and, dare she say it, her own inspiration. After all, as a lifelong lover of books, she knows the power of a good story.
I think most readers want to be writers. Not all, but certainly the majority of them.You can tell this novel was written by a reader who wants to be a writer--but the book was really nothing more than mediocre. The setting is predominately in a classroom where Arabella is teaching a writing class. It's ironic to me that Arabella discusses character development--and yet, the author does a really poor job of character development.
The story moved along relatively quickly, but there was nothing really remarkable about the characters or the storyline. It was all pretty tame, with virtually no climax in the storyline. It's there, but it's more like a hiccup than an actual heart rate peak. My recommendation? Leave this one on the bookstore's bookshelf.
Annual Page Goal Progress:
The Fiction Class by Susan Breen
Page Goal: 16,886/15,000
Questions for Readers:
1. Have any of you ever heard of this author before?
2. What do you do when you realize the climax of a novel is practically nonexistent? Do you finish the book?