A couple of disappointments

I love books about Rich People Behaving Badly, so I thought Tiny Imperfections by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans would be a good choice for a fun read because it’s about an admissions officer at a fancy private school. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into it at all. I read a couple of chapters, but there was way too much telling and not enough showing, and what seemed like a few stock characters.

I did finish Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes (picked up from a Little Free Library around the corner from me, so at least it was free!). I didn’t hate it by any means, but I felt like I was reading a book for adults deliberately written at an elementary reading level. The characters in the novella and short stories are mostly women who are unhappy in their lives for one reason or another; some of them make changes, and some of them don’t. They all seem about the same, and there isn’t any real depth to any of them. All of the plots are relatively predictable and basic. It reminded me of eating plain rice. There’s nothing wrong with it, and sometimes it’s comforting, but there’s nothing memorable about it at all.

Both of these books use the first-person present tense–it’s often used by inexperienced or less-skilled writers because (I’m guessing) it seems easier, but I think it’s actually one of the most difficult options because the writer has to sustain a single authentic voice throughout and figure out how to get that narrator to fill in all the background details in a way that seems somewhat natural. Moyes succeeded with this far better than Frank and Youmans (not surprisingly, as Moyes has written quite a few bestsellers), but I think it limited Moyes’s efforts as well.

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