Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Her Fearful Symmetry - A Book Review


You have a demanding, controlling twin sister and you are sick and tired of her bossing you around. Would you kill yourself, and entrust upon your dead aunt (who is now a ghost haunting you) to resurrect you? Bear in mind that the resurrection is no guarantee to be successful. Worst case scenario, you'll be dead and trapped haunting an apartment for eternity. I don't know about you guys but for me, that is like the last thing I want. Unless Niffenegger is trying to portray her character Valentina as an idiot beyond hope.  I mean, come on, has the option of leaving your twin sister ever occur to you? This itself made the final 100-or-so pages of the book painful to get through.

Next, meet Martin - a poor soul suffering OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). His wife Marijke left him, tired of his symptoms (which includes excessive cleaning and bleaching, insisting that she enters the bedroom with left foot first, refusing to leave the house etc.) and his refusing to obtain treatment, which is also one of the symptoms. This is all very interesting but WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE MAIN STORY? Sure, occasionally Martin crosses path with Julia and Robert but I can't help feeling the events seem forceful and pointless. To me, these two characters are just redundant. In the end Niffenegger had to cure Martin and send him to live happily ever after with Marijke just to get rid of them.

I had to question Niffenegger's creativity and imagination when she described the haunting. Invisible hand? Writings on the dust? Ouija board? How cliche is that. *yawn* Stealing another's body? Ghost kitten? And best of all - the ghost has to leave the apartment only via a person's mouth? Give me a break!

I've heard great reviews on The Time Traveler's Wife also by Niffenegger. I simply couldn't bring myself to read it because the movie was so tragic. But Her Fearful Symmetry was undoubtedly a failure and disappointment.