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 Written on the Body

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LeaShi

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Number of posts : 485
Age : 35
Location : New York
Registration date : 2008-04-08

PostSubject: Written on the Body   Sat May 31, 2008 2:27 am

Well, I hate to do it, but I'm going to give a semi-bad book review. A couple of weeks ago I finished reading Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson. Most of you know that I'm a Winterson fan. Each of her books has managed to captivate me, that is except for this one.

The basic premise of this book is the main character (it's never said for sure whether it's a man or woman, although I get the impression it's a man), has a problem with commitment. He has had lots of lovers throughout the years, but he is never able to settle down with one person. His problem seems to be that he is addicted to the passion and newness that is present at the beginning of every relationship, but once things become routine, he gets bored and begins to look for greener pastures. Finally he meets Louise, a married woman who plans to leave her husband for him. He is sure they can make it together, until he finds out that Louise has cancer. He knows he does not have the money to get her the medical care she needs, but her husband is a doctor who specializes in cancer treatment, so he feels Louise would be better off without him. Convinced he is doing the right thing, he disappears, leaving Louise with only a note explaining that he knows about the cancer and that she should stay with her husband because he would be able to provide her with the care she needs. This action haunts him every day, but he refuses to go back because he believes he's made the right decision for Louise. Finally, when his friend Gail points out that it wasn't his decision to make, he realizes what a fool he's been and goes out looking for Louise. After searching every place and asking every person possible, he doesn't find her, so he goes home heartbroken.

Now I know it doesn't sound like much of a story, but the truth is, Winterson's books never really are about the story itself. What makes them so good is her writing style. The best way I can explain it is that she seems to be able to make everyday things magical or extraordinary just by the way she describes them. Winterson also makes observations about life that seem so poignant and meaningful. These little tidbits make her stories a worthwhile read, in my opinion. However, the problem I had with this book was that the magic and the poignant observations seemed to be missing. It made the book a quite tedious read. One character, Gail, reminds me a lot of a good friend and that was nice, but she played a very small part. Things got a little better right at the end, but the ending wasn't enough to carry the rest of the book. Overall, I was very disappointed, especially considering how much I loved the other three Winterson books I've read.

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