Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Did Not Finish Review (?) - "Bonita Avenue" by Peter Buwalda

I think that this is my first DNF post here on the ol' blog. Look at us, experiencing new things on the blog together.

So this book is originally Dutch, it's been translated into a whole bunch of languages and is a bestseller all over the world. I got a lovely hardcover from Blogging for Books and was ready to get into it.

The story is about a Dutch family of 4 (sometimes 5, depending on who you're counting) that has some complicated family relationships and some urge control issues. The narration jumps between almost all of the family members, plus one or two more. It goes from the late 90s up to the 2000s. There's a fireworks factory explosion that almost levels a neighborhood, an (early) internet discovery that no dad would want to make about his little girl, bastard children with a ferocious criminal record, and a dating couple who seem to hate each other but are still together.

Here's my problems with this book:

I generally don't have a problem with a bouncing around timelines or switchings between narrators. However, some of the narrators would talk in the first person, while others would not. It was never immediately clear who was talking, sometimes it would take me a few pages before I'd figure it out. It would switch in the middle of chapters so it's not like you could have a heading with the chapter number with the narrator's name.

I think there is a  translation issue. If you look at the goodreads reviews, almost all of the highest reviews are Dutch readers, while the English speakers who read it rated it consistently lower. I don't know if that means anything but just kind of a trend I saw.

I was about 300 pages into to this approximately 520 page book and realized that I was kind of dreading keeping on with it. I'm still a bit interested in just exactly how everything unravels but not enough to burn 3 hours of reading into it. There was one kind of gross incident with the Dad that I was like, okay, I'm a little grossed out and this was already barely keeping my interest so I think we're going to be done with this.

Of course, just because I don't like it doesn't mean that you won't like it! Check around, read other reviews, and if it still sounds good to you, do it! And if you get to the end message me and tell me the general idea of what happens after page 319 :)


* I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books. We kept it honest today, for realsies*

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