Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review: Inglorious by Joanna Kavenna

Joanna Kavenna won the Orange Prize for New Writing for this book. I have to be honest: I didn't care for it at all. It's about Rosa Lane, a 35-year-old journalist who, after the death of her mother, quits her job, gets dumped by her boyfriend, and overdrafts her bank account, all in the name of a mid-life crisis. Rosa is pathetic. She finds herself inert, unable to take action, mindlessly writing the same to-do list over and over. I just wanted her to DO something, to quit procrastinating, quit thinking about it. And her descent into madness is frightening and depressing to watch.

The book isn't very long, but it took me almost a month to finish it, because when I put it down, I found myself dreading picking it back up. It was just too sad for me. And, really, Rosa was too frustrating to me, as I am a person of action. I prefer to tackle problems head-on and find a solution, rather than sitting around, moping about it. However, it may also be that her situation hit a little too close to home. When my husband was diagnosed with MS last year, I suffered through my own depression for several months, in which I found myself unable to even open the mail on a daily basis. Worry about our finances, now that he wasn't working and the medical bills were piling up, seemed to be all I could think about. Now, unlike Rosa, I did eventually take action...I got a second job, began working extra hours at my current job, did whatever I could do to keep the finances stable. And maybe that is my frustration with Rosa: even during the worst period of my life, when I wondered some days if I could even get out of bed, I still took control of the situation, instead of letting it take control of me. And I wanted Rosa to do that: to grow a backbone, let go of Liam (her ex), talk to someone about her mother's death, find a job, find a place to stay, pay down her debt...and she just didn't.

Overall, two out of five Whatevers. I wish I could rate it higher, because the writing was lovely, but I just. didn't. like it. Perhaps it was simply the wrong time for me to read it. Recommended for those who like glimpses of insanity, and literary, philosophical reads.

Edited to add: I bought this book.



NerdGirl said...

I admire you for sticking through to the end of the book. I've gotten to the point of just putting down the book when I actively dislike the protagonist. I had to put down "Weekends at Bellevue" because I just wanted to shake the doctor/author for her whiny self-indulgent tone. I give you 5 out of 5 whatevers for getting to the end of the book!

Lexi said...

I think I kept reading because I was looking for that point where it started to get better. And it really never came, sad to say. There was some hope at the end of the book, but I love happy endings, and I wouldn't catergorize the end of this book as one.