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WENCH By: Dolen Perkins-Valdez August 30, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

     I hate when this happens! I had expected to love this selection after reading the reviews, but the characters never fully emerged, and I felt this book was merely an average read. All accounts of slavery are heartbreaking and shocking, and some very powerful books have been written on this subject. But there was no power in this novel; nothing that reached out and grabbed me, and I found I had to force myself to finish it because it didn’t hold my attention. It had the feel of a supermarket novel that walks the reader through a story without ever immersing them in it.
     The Lycan Librarian loves historical fiction, but this novel did not provide enough depth to bring the times fully to life, and this reader learned nothing new historically. The book takes place in Ohio, and this librarian had hoped to gain some fresh insights into the history of her home state, but none were provided. The setting is just a big flat zone where the story happens to take place. All in all, the characters, both black and white, seemed to melt together in this cardboard space, and they lacked dimension and individuality, which resulted in none of them being fully developed enough to stand out.
     While it appears there are a great many readers who loved this book, there was simply no connection for me, and I fear that, in a short amount of time, I will easily and completely forget this selection.  And, yes, that was me telling you less than a week ago to not spend time reading books you don’t love, but I didn’t heed my own advice. Instead, I read on and on, waiting for something vital and stirring to rise up out of this novel. It never happened.



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