Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Author: Sarah Blake
Recommended: Just read the first 1/3 and make up the rest.
I got this book because Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help recommended it when I went to see her for an author talk. She raved about it and there's even a quote on the front of the book by Kathryn praising this book.
I am not of the same opinion. The book started off very very well. The beginning was tremendously written and the premise is intriguing. Basically there are three stories intermingled; a postmistress in Cape Cod, a doctor and his wife in the same small town, and Frankie - a female war reporter in London during the Blitz. The lives of these people intersect in one way or another, and some of the stories end tragically, of course.
The back of the book says that the postmistress saves a letter and doesn't deliver news. But, that's not really what happens. The Doctor leaves a letter with the postmistress and tells her to deliver it to his wife in the event of his death, when letters stop arriving from the Dr., everyone presumes that he is dead, but the postmistress decides not to hand over the letter. Who cares? Seriously. I know this is all about preventing pain and looking out for one another, but to me, this isn't the big moral dilemma that the author tries to create.
Further, the end of the book simply sucked. All of these characters go on these big "growing spurts" and "change for the better" but I didn't get that at all from the book. Emma, the doctor's wife had no growth whatsoever. She just moped around the whole book thinking about how she was going to be lonely for the rest of her life. Boring.
Frankie has these amazing scenes in Europe where she is traveling by train with Jewish refugees and recording their voices, then she goes to Cape Cod to befriend Emma? Also boring. Finally, Iris, the postmistress has this scene where she goes to a doctor who finds her to be "intact" and writes up a certificate for her new boyfriend. In my opinion, that is interesting stuff, but after that - she's just this crochety old lady who sorts mail.
I liked these characters in the beginning but about 1/3 of the way through the book became a serious struggle to finish. Especially when it had to compete with Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2) for my attention.
I don't know who I recommend this book to, but I my opinion of Kathryn Stockett's preferences has diminished after reading The Postmistress.