Dreadful people

Laura Rider’s
Masterpiece
by Jane Hamilton
Man, I hated every blasted character in this book. And for a
reader who reads for character, that could have been sheer agony. On the up
side, I was interested to see how the debacle created by the characters turned
out (badly. very badly), so the plot pulled me through, despite the horrid wretchedness
of the people in this novel.
This was a book club book, and everyone else hated the characters,
too, so it wasn’t just me being cranky or something. And it proved to be a
great book club book because there’s plenty here to discuss.
Here’s the basic rundown: Laura Rider’s done with sex, and her
husband Charlie is rather sad about that. They own a garden center in Wisconsin, and Laura has
a secret dream of becoming an author.
Things implode when Laura’s idol, a public radio host named Jenna
(something-or-other; I returned the book without making a note of her last
name) moves to their small town and the Riders meet her and Charlie begins an
affair with Jenna—more or less with his wife as an accomplice, which frankly,
dudes, freaked me out. Basically, Laura’s using the episode as inspiration for
her novel.
At this point, I’m screaming, Get me the hell out of here!!
Yet I read on.
Because there’s got to be some kind of resolution (explosion? a
gentle simmering down? I’ll never tell…)

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