Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler......

I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago, and the fact that I forgot to include its review in my blog is probably an indication of my opinion of it.

I like Anne Tyler's writing, and I appreciate that she often writes about middle-aged women. This one just didn't do it for me, though. 

I was also a little embarrassed to discover that it was published in 1995. Maybe that explains why it was free on my Kindle. 

Really, is there any point in writing about a book that's sixteen years old? 

Delia Grinstead (really, I didn't even like her name) is a 40-year-old woman married to a doctor. She has a chance encounter with a much younger man in a grocery store who wants her to pretend to be his girlfriend because his soon-to-be-ex-wife is in the same grocery store with HER new boyfriend. Delia plays along, then gets slightly infatuated with the guy, seeks him out, they indulge in heavy petting but never get around to sex, only his soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law THINKS they do, so she shows up at Delia's house, and all of that has almost NOTHING to do with the plot.

When Delia was first described in the book, I had a mental image of her as a doddering, dowdy, frumpy old woman. When I discovered that she was actually forty - FORTY!!!!! - I couldn't fix the mental image. And I was more than a little insulted. Either she acts way older than her years, or I still haven't grown up yet. Put your hands down, I wasn't asking for your input. 

During a family vacation at the beach, Delia just up and walks away from her husband and her three (almost grown) children. Keeps on walking, gets in a truck with a repairman of some sort (plumber? roofer?) and has him drop her off in another town. She finds a boarding house, gets a job, works for a while, makes some new friends in the new town, takes another job. The new job involves keeping house and being there for a recently-separated man's eleven-year-old son. In other words - Delia is right back to doing all the things she walked away from and resented. 

Anne Tyler's style makes for easy reading, and the plot was just interesting enough to keep me reading, wondering if Delia would ever return to her family and how her new relationships would impact her old ones.

I'm not telling you the end.

It wasn't a painful read, just not a compelling one.

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Thanks for this, I love book reviews! =)