Thursday, April 9, 2015

Have You Ever Been Betrayed?


I just recently read a book which left me feeling, well, betrayed. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald, was on special offer from Kindle and I downloaded it without knowing anything more than it was by a well regarded English author and was about a woman opening a bookshop in a small Sussex town.

Aklexander Deineka
Great, I thought. A lovely quiet  comfort read. And so it began – plucky spinster, quaint surroundings, eccentric characters including one overbearing wealthy woman who is determined to have the old house the plucky spinster has purchased for her book shop made into an Arts Centre. 

Fernand Botero
The writing was beautiful and I read along happily, confident that the book would jog along to a pleasant ending with, who knows, maybe a quiet little romance for the plucky spinster.

But it didn’t. And I felt betrayed. It was as if the fluffy kitten I'd been cuddling had suddenly given me a nasty scratch.

So I looked at the book’s reviews (which I should have done before) and realized that the fault was mine. Had I known a bit more about the book and the author before I read, I wouldn't have been left  with this feeling. 

The book is billed as a tragi-comedy – and perhaps the ending – which is sad but not tragic – is far more true to life its own self than the tidy (and trite) happy ending I was expecting.

Auguste Renoir

And the writing, as I said before, is beautiful – I’ll read the book again. And look for more of Fitzgerald’s work as well. But next time, I’ll know what not to expect.

How about you? Have you ever felt betrayed by a book? My husband felt betrayed by Cold Mountain . . . and I'm sure I had readers feeling betrayed by the Little Sylvie story in Signs in the Blood. 

What's your experience?

Gerard Dauold


Carol Crump Bryner said...

This was such a nice post - the paintings you chose to illustrate it are lovely.
One advantage of old age is that I can't really remember the endings of any books, so I can't tell you whether I was betrayed or disappointed. But I do know that if I read the books over again I will probably still be surprised at the end, and have a different reaction than I did the first time around.
Oh - I do love all these women reading their books!

Ms. A said...

Not sure if I could say betrayed, but I've sure had some that I wish would have been a little more uplifting at the end.

Barbara Rogers said...

Ditto what Carol said about memory and book endings. I can't think of any that disappointed me, but often I'll just stop reading after a chapter, if I feel like I'm plowing through a book and not enjoying it. Oh, there was a romantic novel which I'd gone halfway through when I realized I was not really enjoying it, so I skipped to the end, and found out she died after having his baby. So glad I hadn't read it all the way through to "one of those endings."

Frances said...

Vicki, I've read several of Penelope Fitzgerald's books, but don't believe The Bookshop is amongst them. Her books do have a certain pace all their own.

I've felt that some novels I've read recently did not quite know how to end. Well, I guess I should put the blame not on the book, but rather on the author and editor. The Sleeping Giant, Amnesia, and A Spool of Blue Thread all disappointed me, although I did admire the authors' skill.

So...I've now begun Funny Girl! by Nick Hornby for some relief, having just read Head of State by Andrew Marr, which was very tidy...almost Dickensian in its ending.


Tammy said...

You have me curious as to how that book went! :-) I've read two that have really left me feeling betrayed-which lasted several days. One was where the LEAD character that was narrating the book was murdered and you get to 'be there' as it happened and the other more recent one is the lead narrating character is actually the murderer--but you don't really see that coming as she attempts to 'solve' the murder. Both were clever but still didn't like the direction they went and didn't appreciate being 'tricked'. I can usually pick up on clues but not in these two.


Thérèse said...

Actually I don't think I ever felt betrayed. My only rule is to give any book I want to read a try till page 100 after that I read or I stop reading... I rarely stopped reading.

Vicki VanValkenburgh said...

I felt like the Darkangel trilogy was great until it drove over a cliff in the last 50 pages. Not that I'm bitter.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Absolutely I have been betrayed by a book. For some reason I keep on reading and by the end I'm disappointed in myself for spending so much time trying to make it a good read.

NCmountainwoman said...

One big betrayal came from "The Swan Thieves" by Elizabeth Kostova. The first half of the book was good but the second half dragged so much I kept reading only to find out WHY he attacked the painting. And the author did not let us know.