Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck


This book was so forgettable that I forgot to blog about it. It’s one of the books I bought at Powell’s in Portland, Oregon back in the beginning of August. The plot sounded like something I would like: a simple tailor in rural France is transformed into a leading couturier when he creates a fabulous wedding dress for a socialite. I like to read about French fashion, French food, and French family life so I thought this would be good. Instead it proved to be a very dull, plodding story of a boring guy with a boring life, who momentarily gets famous and hates it. It did offer a few good scenes of French village life, but there was almost no food at all! And it had a really weird out-of-left-field plot twist at the end that totally ticked me off.

I found it very odd that this book included a reading group guide. I was absolutely shocked that anyone thought it needed one. I looked at some of the questions and they were as trite as the book. Here is one (and I swear I am not making this up):
Nearly every time a character appears on the scene in the novel, their clothing is described. How does the author use clothing to suggest something about a character? What are some of the most memorable, most vividly described outfits in the book?
Whoa, deep. You can find much better writing about French life, French style, and French food on the Web. Here are a few places to begin:

Paris atelier
The Sartorialist
Chocolate and Zucchini
Pollyvousfrancais

(Book 31, 2009)

8 comments:

~Tessa~Scoffs said...

I read this book a while back and was also underwhelmed by it.

herschelian said...

I was given a copy of this to read by a friend in South Africa whose book group had just read it. To call it flimsy is an understatement. What I can't figure out is how it got published, it isn't even honest-to-goodness chicklit.

Anonymous said...

I went to my library site and looked it up. The reviews there convinced me that this was a nothingburger book. I am about to quit a small book club group of recent vintage because they end up with books like this one. Anything with a bookclub guide and questions seems to be a must read. No.

I don't know about everyone else, but the questions remind me of high school where my love for reading was darned near extinguished by the need to examine the motivation of fictional characters.

Becky said...

Anonymous, so well said.

shifra said...

Becky! At last, wasting time on the internet pays off! I found your blog! It is so much fun to read! Greetings! shifra

Becky said...

Shifra, so glad to hear from you! Remember to send me any recommendations for good things to read!

Vintage Reading said...

And that's why I always read your blog. You tell it like it is and don't gush over books you don't like. I do like your opening sentence. Nicola

Yoli said...

I have to laugh...this reminds me of what you get at the end of cliff notes.

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