Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Review: You Were There Before My Eyes by Maria Riva

Release Date: October 10, 2017

A young woman, desperate to escape the dullness and rigidity of her rural, early 20th century Italian village and dazzled by stories of America, marries the first young man from her village to return there looking for a wife. He sweeps her off to Detroit, where they seek the American Dream.

I really struggled with this one because the dialogue was terrible, there wasn't much of a plot, the characters were flat, and the author liked to head-hop. While there's nothing wrong with a character novel that doesn't have much of a plot, or a plot driven novel that has somewhat one-dimensional characters - but there has to be a strength in one of them and this has neither. Add to it the cringe-worthy dialogue and the head-hopping narrative, and I just feel like it was poorly written.

It was disappointing because like many Italian-Americans, this story is one very similar to those of my own ancestors: from a rural Italian village, came to America in the late 19th/early 20th century as a young family seeking better opportunities for their future and their children's. It did reflect much of the cultural history I'd found in my genealogy research, but that's about the only good thing I can think to say about this novel. I so wanted to love this - hell, I would have settled for just liking it - but I couldn't.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch! You are brave to even finish reading this book. I would have quit and never written a review. (But you know, sometimes it is helpful to warn people off really bad books.)


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