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The Answer To Your Question (2014)

by Paulette Bates Alden(Favorite Author)
3.82 of 5 Votes: 2
Radiator Press
review 1: The novel " The Answer to Your Question" by Paulette Alden, made up of alternating views from Inga and Jean, was a real pleasure to read. Getting to know the two main characters was interesting and their development was fun to watch. The feelings both have and develop towards Ben, Inga's son, was very different from each other at different times. The end was also unexpected and exciting also. This was a fun read that moved along very easily. I really loved it!
review 2: I gave this book a 1-star rating because according to the Goodreads scale, 1 star means “I didn’t like it.” And I really didn’t like this book, for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t find it to be very well-written, despite what some other reviewers have said. Lots of scenes in the b
... moreook struck me as pretty standard fare, to the point of being clichés, like the clandestine abortionist, the jailhouse visit, the childbirth scene, the shooting range lesson, the “hippie house.” Ugh. Much of the book is run-of-the-mill stuff borrowed from TV shows and bad movies—not very convincing or realistic. Add to that an overuse of adverbs and exclamation points, and what seemed to me the author’s misuse of the ellipsis for the dash throughout the book, and it was an annoying read.There was also a lot of repetition throughout the book. For example, on p.174 Lizzy says “You must be famished,” then on p.175 Jean is “famished,” and then on p.183 Inga is—you guessed it—“famished”! Isn’t anyone ever just “hungry” in this book? How many times does the author have to describe Inga’s couch as a “Victorian sofa” (at least five times) or describe Dr. Dunn’s “thick” glasses that make his eyes appear to “swim” (four times by my count). Most annoying was the number of times the characters begin to cry, go on for a bit, and then “calm” themselves. This happens frequently, especially for Inga—I counted more than a dozen of these crying scenes, including eight of them between pp.117-147. Eight crying scenes in 30 pages? Too many, especially when each scene is rendered in virtually identical terms.All this weepiness is in keeping with the main character’s personality (that would be Inga). I took a dislike to her early on, which is the second reason I didn’t care for the book. From the very beginning, Inga seemed to look down on Jean and her back-country ways. Reading Inga’s condescending inner thoughts about Jean really raised my hackles. Who was Inga, anyway, to think she was so superior to Jean? Inga was older and better educated, sure, but she was a country girl, too, from northern Minnesota, not some New York City sophisticate. But she always held herself so far above Jean, a poor country hick. I found myself wishing Jean had chosen someone better for a friend, because she was always so loyal to Inga, standing up for her through thick and thin.I’ve heard it said that the characters in a novel should be likeable; maybe this book is one example that proves the point. Once I took a disliking to Inga, I couldn’t get past it. Her reactions to events didn’t feel real to me. She seemed so fretful and ditsy, always wringing her hands over everything and saying things like “Oh, Ben! Oh, Ron! Oh, Jean!” Oh, brother. Her lines of dialog had all those ellipses…, and exclamation points! A couple of examples: “’Why can’t it be like that, Ron!’ I cry. ‘Why does it have to be the way it is? It’s so…ugly! So…wrong!’” Or when Ron asks her why she stays living in Tacoma, Inga says, “I…I…don’t know, really. I like it, I guess. Or do I? Maybe not, not anymore.” That’s classic Inga: wishy-washy, whiny, weak, and wimpy. I just got downright sick of her, so much so that I couldn’t root for her, as much as I knew I “should.” Mostly I just wanted her to suck it up and take action, get over her panic attacks and deal with the situation at hand. Sadly, Inga only seemed to start taking control of her life when she acquired a gun in one hand and a man in the other. I wish she had become a stronger person through other means than those—then I might have found something to admire in her. less
Reviews (see all)
This book was the same sort of guessing game that "Gone Girl" was. I really enjoyed it.
One of the best books I've read this summer.
Good book. Enjoyed very much.
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