Narration: decent reading, terrible southern drawl. Children's voices are annoying.
Writing: in stark contrast to what appears to be popular belief, I thought this book was awful. It was predictable, patronizing, and terribly out-of-date gender-wise. Perhaps worst of all, the story wasn't compelling enough to compensate for that.
The plot is far too neat, and the storylines are tired. The author won't trust his audience; he repeats the same thing three times, each time stating it more pointedly.
Overplayed stereotypes abound. Men are logical and driven, women are motivated by their relationship to their young. It is self-evident that all women have an overriding maternal instinct that they must either fight against or allow to control and direct them. Women are horrified by others' pain, men are fascinated and perhaps aroused by it. Women exhibit a constant need for the protection of their husbands, which husbands gallantly provide. The rare exception to these rules is treated as just that--an exception--making it noteworthy [only] because of the character's gender. There's no excuse for this. It's just plain lazy, bland writing.
I hear there's a movie. Maybe that's worth watching. But I wouldn't waste your time sitting through this book.
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