I finished reading the latest offering from Jeanette Winterson a few days ago. I’ve delayed blogging about it because, bizarrely, I’m not sure if I enjoyed it or not. Sections were very readable and I admire Winterson for her honesty. But the book lacks balance, Winterson only shares her flaws with the reader and isn’t very kind to herself, also I don’t understand why she chose to only include the pain of her life, maybe that was an editorial decision? Misery sells, as it were. There are some laugh at loud moments but they are down to how Winterson shows her wry sense of humour insomuch that it’s the occasional unexpected sentence that made me laugh. A lot of what is written, particularly about the fragile little girl we see on the cover is very upsetting and Winterson has a right to share that. Unfortunately some of what is written is boring and no writer has the right to bore the reader. I understand that JW sought to put her story into context but it occasionally goes a little too far, for example an incredibly long ‘history’ of Accrington and the literary canon at Oxford. Despite my issues with the content, Winterson’s prose is as strong as ever. I can’t think of many modern-day novelists who come close to her talent. Extraordinary events and feelings and thought processes are described in a totally accessible way, and the essence of Winterson jumps off the page, even if you have no idea who she is, the force of her personality will whack you round the head as you read.
A little more ‘light in the shade’ would have made this one of my favourite books – but that’s just personal opinion – my blog is dedicated to all things cosy for goodness sake. 🙂