Tuesday, June 1, 2010

H by Barbara Dinerman

After being infected with herpes, Joan Halprin, a single woman in her mid-thiries, feels untouchable.  She spent her youth enjoying worldly experiences in New York and other cities, but now it's time to start a serious career as a copywriter for a Fort Lauderdale advertising agency.  Despite feeling like a pariah in her personal life, Joan is anxious to prove herself professionally.

Fort Lauderdale in the 1980's is experiencing a real estate boom.  Joan's parents have moved from Boston to a retirement community in the area, and her brother and his thrifty wife have settled nearby.  But even with the presence of her family, Joan feels isolated with her 'H' problem, despite knowing that one in four women, and one in five men, are similarly afflicted.

Her irrascible, rotund new boss certainly isn't helping her regain her self-esteem.  But with her irrespressible humor, Joan concots an extraordinary solution to most of what ails her.  Will this creative project work?  (From the back of the book)

I've found that when I'm not sure how to describe a book, I always succumb to posting the blurb on the back of the book.  I hate doing this, but sometimes you just don't have the right words to explain what's going on in the book.  Plus, most books are open to interpretation and often I've found that the blurb on the back of the book isn't what I took away from it at all.  In this case, I posted the blurb of the book because I just couldn't find any other way to explain it.

Barbara's writing style is the only thing that saved this book.  The characters are forgettable.  You don't like them or hate them.  They're just lifeless and there.  The plot is....well.....missing.  At the end of the book, I can't figure out why I read it.  I took absolutely nothing away from it and I don't feel like I was told a story.  I feel more like I walked in in the middle of a movie and watched ten minutes of it before walking back out again.  I don't feel fulfilled.  Of course, someone with 'H' will probably identify much more closely with the character of Joan and possibly get more out of the book than I did.  This book has been billed as Joan's search for her identity, but she doesn't find it nor does she appear to have lost it.  I'm just all out confused by this book.  I don't understand the point.  Yes, I'm rambling but I tend to do that when I'm confused.

Having all the negative stuff out of the way, I do think Barbara has some real talent as a writer.  Her flow and description is the only thing that kept forcing me to pick this book back up.  With her love for flamboyant characters, I'd love to see her take Joao and create a story around him.  Of all the characters, this is the one she seemed to show the most love for and have the most interest in.  I think Barbara has some amazing creativity tucked in her brain but sadly this book doesn't show it.  I can't wait to see how she progresses as a fiction author.

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