Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Last week was very eventful. I took my second CPA exam and finished Her Fearful Symmetry. The FAR-CPA exam was 4 hours long and when I finished, I was so brain-dead. I better pass this exam as I spent over 6 months studying for this exam alone. I should find out by late December.

Secondly I finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. This is Mrs. Niffenegger's second book. I love The Time Traveler's Wife; thus, had very very high expectations from this novel. All my expectations came crashing down. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the book and now I am wondering why did I give it a 4.5 out of 5 on Facebook. I can only think of things that I didn't like.

The summary of the book goes something like this. Elspeth and Edie are twins who have not seen each other for 20+ years. Now Elspeth is dead and has left her estate to Edie's twin daughters, Julia and Valentina. J and V are 21-year old Americans with no degree and no job, and are staying at home. Julia is the dominant one among the two. They both move to London to live in the flat, where they meet with Robert, Elspeth's lover, and Martin, neighbor suffering from OCD. Then they meet Elspeth or should I say Elspeth's ghost, who is stuck in the flat and cannot leave. The story continues on from there.

Here are few things that I didn't like:
  • When I picked up the audio book from the library, I didn't realize that the reader Blanca Amato is the same individual who read Margaret's part in The Thirteenth Tale. Margaret's character was very irritating and I associated Blanca's voice with Margaret; thus, her voice was sort of irritating. But I got over that quickly. However, since The Thirteenth Tale was about messed up twins, and messed up family, I kept expecting that initially only due to Ms. Amato's voice.

  • To me, Robert was a very flat character. He had no will of his own. He did what Elspeth and Valentina asked of him. He couldn't even face the girls. In the end, he did something that he wanted to do, but the readers will have to wait till the very last line (literally) to find that out. Second, Julia was just plain irritating, but I think that is what the author was aiming for. Same goes for Edie. I felt that she could have done more in the book. Did she represent Valentina in the twin's relationship?

  • The **BIG** shock in the book...hmm...I was expecting that. The author gave it away way before the whole situation came about. The readers just have to pay attention to the thoughts and dialogs to figure it out.

  • I also felt that the story wasn't really over. The author left many loose ends as to the final destination of the characters. The good deeds were not rewarded and the bad were not punished.

The character that I did enjoy was Martin and his relationship with Marijke. I looked forward to bits and pieces that included these two characters. I enjoyed Highgate Cemetery and London described in the book.

One more reason why I didn't enjoy it because as it reminded me of a book that I had read in high school called Twins by Caroline B. Cooney. I do have to say that there are not lots of similarities. Overall, I will give this book 7 out of 10.