Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Basic Eight

The Basic Eight
written by Daniel Handler

**this review contains spoilers**

Let's start off with some of the positives.  The writing in this book is great--same dry, clever wit we saw in A Series of Unfortunate Events.  The characters and their development are second to none.  Handler has the ability to create extraordinarily rich characters.  The format is also an appealing aspect--being told from the future and written as a personal journal, with fake essay questions and vocabulary words in each chapter.  Unfortunately, despite its many positive qualities, the book did the one cringe-worthy thing I was dreading: a multiple personality plot twist.  Really?!  Handler is capable of so much better.  The entire time I was reading this book, I was so excited, but in the back of my mind, kept thinking that the one thing that would ruin it would be if Natasha and Flan were the same person.  What a disappointment.  And let's not even get into the mental health implications here.  Way to promote a dangerous stereotype.  I want to love this book so badly.  I want to pretend the ending never happened.  How can one small thing have such a profoundly negative impact on what was, up to that point, a great novel?  I would love to see Handler try his hand at a similar novel, one that's less problematic and less of a cop-out but in a similar setting.

I got this book from...:LibraryThing's SantaThing

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